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Reckless Predictions Are Here Again

For what little it’s worth, my final prediction for the presidential election remains the same as the one I provided last week. Obama will come away with a 281-257 win in the Electoral College, and will manage to win just over 50% of the popular vote (for the record, let’s say 50.2%). Romney will carry Colorado, Florida, and Virginia, but those won’t be enough for him to prevail, and he’ll receive almost 49% of the popular vote (48.7%). This is more favorable to Romney than the latest polling indicates, since Romney now trails slightly in both Colorado and Virginia according to the RCP state polling averages, but that’s the prediction I’m making.

The overall partisan composition of the Senate will remain the same. Two Democratic pick-up in Massachusetts and Indiana and King’s win in Maine will deprive Republicans of three seats, but these will be offset by Republican gains in Nebraska, Montana, and North Dakota. Democrats will hold Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, and New Mexico, and Republicans will retain control of their Nevada and Arizona seats. Assuming that King caucuses with the Democrats, they will have a majority with 53 seats. Kerrey’s late surge against Fischer may make it very close at the end, but I don’t think he’ll win. Republicans will remain in the majority in the House with 235 seats.

While I’m on the subject, I don’t know what possessed George Will and Michael Barone to make predictions that are so wildly optimistic in favor of Romney. Obviously, they want Romney to win, and they want to create that the impression that this is both possible and likely to happen, but why go overboard with claims that Romney will carry Pennsylvania or Minnesota? Even if Romney wins, they will still have called three or four states the wrong way that everyone else understood to be wrong when they did so. I’ve made some very lousy predictions in the past, as everyone who attempts such things always will, but these don’t make much sense to me. Making what appear to be wildly inaccurate predictions will tend to make people discount everything else that Will and Barone say about the outcome.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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