The New York Times is presently predicting that there are 217 safe votes for Obama and 206 safe votes for Romney. They breakdown the leaning and toss-up votes as follows:
New Hampshire, 4
The economy appears to have little chance of improving before the election. It may actually worsen as Europe has slipped into a second recession and the growth in the rest of the world has slowed. The highly negative impacts of recent EPA, FDA, FDIC, and NRLB rulings on businesses are also piling on. The national debt continues to soar. Major banks have just had their credit ratings reduced. A huge tax increase looms in early 2013. I see no reason for the states leaning to Romney to reverse course to Obama. Obama has too clearly shown that he has no program to effectively help the economy and produce jobs. On the contrary, many are coming to understand that Obama is anti-business and interfering with American's right to earn a living. Americans thinking about this between now and the election will shift more and more to Romney. Adding these Romney-leaning states to Romney's total gives him 254 of the electoral votes out of the 270 votes he needs to win. Romney only needs 16 of the 115 toss-up votes to win. How it is that Obama is still the bettor's favorite to win the election is a mystery to me!
Now, let us examine each of these toss-up states to predict which way they will vote in the election.
Colorado, with 9 votes, has a history of being a toss-up state. In the last four presidential elections it had a Democrat - Republican vote of 54 - 45%, 47 - 52%, 42 - 51%, and 44 - 46%. It has leaned slightly Republican in these presidential races, but it has a Democrat Governor and 2 Democrat Senators. It is represented in the House of Representatives by 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats. The state senate is controlled by Democrats and the state house is controlled by Republicans. State houses tend to indicate the direction of the party affiliation or philosophy is taking in a state. For example, whether the people want more government (Democrat) or they want little change or even reductions (Republican). State senate members and representatives to the U.S. Congress tend to be held onto due to their accumulated power, connections, and name recognition well after their philosophy has come to be out of touch with the people. Environmentalism has long been a major theme of many of Colorado's people, but many people now know its claims that anything man does results in catastrophe are much exaggerated. The May government unemployment rate was 8.1%, so unemployment is probably about equal to the national average. Unless that rate falls, Obama is likely doomed here. Colorado is also the 11th largest coal-producing state in the union and it has federal lands with a potential for a lot of oil and gas production, so Obama is clearly retarding the economic outlook for this state. 67% of the electricity generated in Colorado was from coal-fired power plants using mostly Colorado coal. As a result of this and the production of oil in the Bakken Shale Oil Formation, only 10% of the after tax income of Colorado residents is spent on energy. Considerable coal was exported to other states. Coal production has been dropping despite extensive reserves. Only 4.0% of the population is black, but 20.7% is Hispanic and Obama has to hope he retains as many of their votes as he received in 2008. This is unlikely, despite his recent attempt to direct that young illegal aliens brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were young not be deported. Colorado is more likely to vote for Romney than Obama.
Florida, 29 votes, has voted in the last four presidential elections with Democrat - Republican splits of 51 - 48, 47 - 52, 49 - 49, and 48 - 42%. The Governor is a Republican, there is one Democrat and one Republican U.S. Senator, and there are 19 Republicans and 6 Democrats in their U.S. House of Representatives delegation. They will add two Representatives in this 2012 election. Both the Senate and the House of the state legislature are controlled by the Republicans. This is basically a Republican state now, despite its past presidential election voting history. In the past, the Democrats often used scare tactics about Medicare and Social Security to convince older voters to vote for them in national elections. Now many of Florida's older population have seen cutbacks in the coverage of Medicare already under Obama and are having trouble finding physicians who will take them on as patients. Many of them are paying much higher costs for their prescription drugs. Many can only attribute this to the changes that have come with ObamaCare. Romney was leading Obama as early as the 11 April to 16 May Gallup daily poll released on 18 May by 53% to 39% among those 70 and over. The increasing effects of ObamaCare are not helping him with older voters as more and more of them feel those effects and attribute them to him and his party. This is boding ill for Obama in the elderly state of Florida. The state BLS unemployment rate in May was a very high 8.6%. The population is 16.0% black and 22.5% Hispanic, but many of the Hispanics are long-time immigrants from Cuba or their children who were born here in the U.S. This group of Hispanic voters has a voting record which is much more Republican than that for Hispanics outside of Florida. Florida can ill afford to have its energy costs go up, since 12% of the average after tax income goes to energy costs and this rises to 22% for those with incomes below $50,000 a year. Florida is unlikely to vote again for Obama and it is actually the only state Romney needs of these toss-up states.
Iowa, 6 votes, voted 54% Democrat to 44% Republican in the last election. In the two Bush elections it voted 49 - 50% and 49% - 48%, and in Clinton's re-election it voted 50 - 40% in Clinton's favor. The Governor is a Republican, the state Senate is Democrat, and the state House is Republican. The two U.S. Senators have been around forever and one is a Republican and one a Democrat. In the U.S. House of Representatives, it has 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans. This state is truly split down the middle, but there is evidence of a slight re-direction toward Republicans. The state is ranked 16th in coal-fired electric generation with 67% of its electricity produced by coal. It has extensive coal deposits, but little coal mining. 12% of average after-tax income goes to energy costs, but this rises to 20% for those with incomes below $50,000 a year. Its population is an aging one, with 14.9% of it 2010 population 65 or older, compared to the national average of 13.0%. Its population growth has lagged the national average considerably, so it is in need of new industries and business growth, an unsurprising result of ranking 45th in business tax climate according to the Tax Foundation in 2011. BLS unemployment is much lower than the national average at 5.1%. Only 50.3% are women, compared to a national average of 50.8% women. This is significant, since women are more likely than men to vote Democrat. It is 91.3% white, 2.9% black, and 5.0% Hispanic. The Midwest region has been trending Republican and Iowa is somewhat more likely to vote for Romney in the Fall.
New Hampshire, 4 votes, has voted 54-45, 50-49, 47-48, and 49-39% Democrat - Republican in the last four presidential elections. The governor is a Democrat, but he is very busy vetoing bills passed by the Republican House and Senate of the New Hampshire legislature, called the General Court. Both houses of the General Court switched from Democrat to Republican control in the 2010 election. New Hampshire is represented by one Republican (elected in 2010) and one Democrat in the U.S. Senate, but by 2 Republicans in the U.S. House. The state seems to want to trend Republican, despite considerable in-migration of people from Democrat Massachusetts over the years to the more business-friendly climate in New Hampshire. The BLS state unemployment rate is only 5.0%. The state has somewhat more people 65 and older than the national average with 13.5% compared to 13.0% nationally. The state has the 5th highest electricity costs in the nation! Coal provides only 11% of its electric power, while renewable energy sources provide 14%. New Hampshire is ranked 7th in the nation in business tax friendliness by the Tax Foundation. I believe as the election campaign continues, the people of New Hampshire will decide that Romney is a better match for them than is the failed Obama, whose anti-business rhetoric will not play well on them.
Nevada, 6 votes, has voted 55-43, 48-51, 46-50, and 44-43% in the last four presidential elections. It has a Republican Governor, but both the state Senate and the Assembly are controlled by the Democrats. Both of its U.S. Senators are Democrats and 2 of its 3 Congressmen are Democrats. Nevada is a Democrat state with strong union organization of the principal industry, tourism. The state has a business tax climate that makes it #4 in the nation according to the Tax Foundation in 2011. One would think it would not be very susceptible to Obama's anti-business rhetoric, especially since its main industry is highly dependent upon the nation's economy. The state land is 84.5% owned by the federal government. This is the highest percentage federal ownership of any state and it keeps the people of the state from developing many of its resources and has caused land prices around Las Vegas to become very expensive. This played a role in the extra severe real estate bust in the Las Vegas area. Obama's refusal to allow commercial uses of federal land has hurt the state economy. The BLS state unemployment rate is the highest in the nation at 11.6%, so Obama's policies have failed them worse than anyone else. The state has few people 65 and older than the national average with only 12.0%. The female population percentage is also lower at 49.5% compared to 50.8%. Coal provides only 17% of its electricity, while renewables provide 16%, so it is the 25th least expensive electricity cost state. Nevada should be pressuring the federal government to sell some of its land to reduce the national debt and to open up avenues for employment in other industries than tourism in Nevada, but the population of gamblers and entertainers in Las Vegas so overwhelms the rest of the state population now that they are perhaps just not the kind of people who will be interested in other opportunities. I suspect this state is just not up to seeing its opportunities and as such, I consider it likely to be a toss-up come November, but very slightly leaning to the party whose policies has delivered them into BLS 11.6% unemployment.
Ohio, 18 votes: Voted 52-47, 49-51, 47-50, and 47-41% Democrat to Republican in the last four presidential elections. Ohio has taken a recent turn toward Republicans. The Governor and both houses of the state legislature are Republican. Ohio has one each U.S. Senator, but 13 Republican Representatives to 5 Democrats. BLS unemployment is below the national average now at 7.3%. Many of the manufacturing companies of Ohio had recent good income based on exports fueled by the strong growth of China, India, Brazil, and much of the rest of the world. Strong growth in natural gas production in the eastern part of the state has helped the state economy considerably, no thanks to Obama. Ohio is #10 in coal production and 78% of its electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants that Obama and his wild-eyed EPA want out of business. Ohio has only 1% of electricity production by renewables, so the Democrats pressure the state to force an increase in that expensive and unreliable form of power generation. Its electricity costs are already the 24th highest in the nation. For those earning less than $50,000 a year, energy costs are taking about 22% of their after-tax income. From 2000 to 2010, the population grew by only 1.6% compared to the national average of 9.7%. The population is aging faster than that of the nation as a whole, 14.1% are 65 or older. The female portion of the population is 51.2%, a bit higher than the average 50.8%. I believe enough Ohioans (#46 rank for business taxes by the Tax Foundation) have come to see the need to develop a better business climate that it will not be deceived by Obama for another four years. The recent trend has been strongly toward the Republicans and this state alone is sufficient for Romney to win.
Pennsylvania, 20 votes: The last four presidential elections went 55-44, 51-49, 51-46, and 49-40 Democrat-Republican. The state has recently swung strongly Republican. The Governor is Republican, as are the state Senate and House. Pennsylvania is represented by one Republican (strong Tea Party man elected in 2010) and one Democrat in the U.S. Senate. Its Representatives in the U.S. House are 12 Republicans and 7 Democrats. The BLS unemployment is 7.4%. Pennsylvania is #4 in coal production and 44% of its electricity is generated by coal-fired electric power plants. The development of the Marcellus Shale Oil Formation has brought a lot of money into the state. Households with incomes less than $50,000 a year are spending 19% of their after-tax income on energy. This will be going up due to the EPA shutting down some refineries in the Philadelphia area. Pennsylvania was ranked 26th by the Tax Foundation for business taxes, which is much better than any of the states on its borders, except Delaware at #8. The population is a very old one with 15.4% 65 or older. It is also a bit heavy on females at 51.3%. The population is 81.9% white, 10.8% black, and 5.7% Hispanic. It is to be expected that many of the dead will rise up and vote for Obama in Philadelphia, but this state has recently swung strongly Republican, perhaps finally becoming largely aware of the they cling to their guns and religion attitude of the Democrat Party. I believe Romney will win in Pennsylvania and it is enough by itself to give him the Presidency.
Virginia, 13 votes: The last four presidential votes were 53-46, 46-54, 44-53, and 45-47 Democrat-Republican. The Governor, state Senate, and state House of Delegates are all Republican. The two U.S. Senators are Democrats, but the Congressmen are 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats. The state has moved strongly Republican recently. The BLS unemployment is only 6.9% and the Governor has told Governor Perry of Texas repeatedly that he intends to have the state ranked higher than Texas for its business climate. In some rankings he has achieved that. The Tax Foundation ranks Virginia #12 and Texas #13 on business tax favorability. The military vote is very important in Virginia and Obama has become very unpopular with the military. The state is #12 in coal production and large amounts of coal are shipped by railroad to its port at Newport News for export. Only 30% of its electricity is generated by coal and only 3% by renewables. Its energy costs are the 23rd lowest. Virginia's population grew by 13.0% from 2000 to 2010 compared to the national growth of 9.7%. Only 12.2% is 65 or over and 50.9% is female. The state is 68.6% white, 19.4% black, and 7.9% Hispanic. Many federal employees live in Northern Virginia. These demographics would seem very favorable to Obama, but these same demographics produced an very predominantly Republican state government and representation in the House of Representatives. Blacks will turn out to vote in smaller numbers and federal employees will not see Romney as a threat. Indeed, they will see him as a relief from many Mickey Mouse policies and Czars that are bugging many of them. Virginia will vote for Romney in November and it and any other toss-up state is enough to make Romney President.
Wisconsin, 10 votes: The last presidential elections went 56-42, 49-45, 48-48, and 49-39% Democrat to Republican. Yet, Wisconsin has been part of the sweeping change over the Midwest toward the Republican Party. The Governor is Republican and the Senate was Republican after the 2010 elections, but the recall of several Republicans succeeded in replacing one of them. The Senate is now split 16-16. The Assembly is 59 Republicans to 39 Democrats. From 2000 to 2010, the population grew by 6.0%. It is 86.2% white, 6.3% black, and 5.9% Hispanic. 13.7% is 65 or over and 50.4% is female. The demographics are pretty favorable to Romney. Coal-powered generating plants produce 63% of the state electricity, with 8% renewable power. It has the 17th highest cost by state ranking. Unemployment is 6.8%. Wisconsin will vote for Romney in November and it and any other toss-up state except New Hampshire is enough for him to become President.
Of these swing states, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin are presently basically Republican states, with a total of 94 electoral votes. I believe they will all vote for Romney rather than to continue the failed Obama presidency. Colorado and Iowa will likely do the same. So, my prediction on how the 2012 presidential election will turn out is this:
As it turns out, it still looks to me that Romney will get 315 electoral votes and he may even pick up Michigan and Nevada, though I suspect they may be a bit more likely to wind up in the Obama losers column. Michigan may soon join Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Missouri in the new midwest state alignment with the Republican Party, but perhaps not in time for this election.