Sabato Predicts Obama Wins, Dems Hold Senate

Monday, 05 Nov 2012 11:41 AM

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President Barack Obama will win a second term and the Democrats will retain control of the Senate and leave the House in the hands of the Republican Party, University of Virginia’s political guru Larry Sabato and his team at Sabato’s Crystal Ball predict.

Sabato, along with Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley of U.Va.’s Center for Politics made the prediction in their final look at the election Monday.

The prediction projects Obama will take 290 electoral votes — 20 more than the 270 needed for victory — with GOP challenger Mitt Romney netting 248.

They further project there will be no change in the split in the Senate, which will return with 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. The Democrats will pick up a net of three seats in the House, leaving it in Republican control by a split of 239 to 196.

“With a slight, unexpected lift provided by Hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature’s October surprise, President Barack Obama appears poised to win his second term tomorrow,” they write. “Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.

“This has been a roller-coaster campaign, though very tight ever since Romney dramatically outshone Obama in the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3. Yet for a challenger to defeat an incumbent, the fates must be with the challenger again and again," Sabato and his team wrote.

"Who could have imagined that a Frankenstorm would act as a circuit-breaker on the Republican’s campaign, blowing Romney off center stage for three critical days in the campaign’s last week, while enabling Obama to dominate as presidential comforter-in-chief, assisted by his new bipartisan best friend, Gov. Chris Christie?”

They added that with the final jobs report that showed job growth but had the unemployment rate ticking up but staying under 8 percent “the final potential obstacle to Obama’s reelection passed by as a one-day story.

"While Romney surged after the first debate, he never quite closed the deal in the key swing states. And now, we believe he has run out of time.”

The projection holds that Obama has no chance in Indiana, Missouri, Arizona or North Carolina. However, he could grab Florida and appears to have a solid lead in Nevada.

“We believe the three closest states are Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire; in reality, all three are toss-ups, but because we feel obligated to pick every state, we’re splitting these 26 combined electoral votes right down the middle — 13 for Obama (nine from Colorado and four from New Hampshire) and 13 for Romney from Virginia. It’s not very scientific, but in these three states the polling averages and our sources aren’t giving us enough to work with.”

In the Senate, “Obama’s coattails may allow Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) to squeak out a victory over former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in Wisconsin — we’re left with a Senate that looks exactly the way it does now: 51-47 Democratic, with two independents caucusing with the Democrats.”

However, should Romney turn out large numbers in states where he wins such as Indiana and Missouri, GOP candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin may prevail.

“Of the two, Akin’s chances may be better because Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) remains unpopular. In the event of a Virginia vote as close as we foresee, former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) should be able to run ahead of former Sen. George Allen (R), but a bigger-than-expected Romney win could lift Allen.”

In conclusion, Sabato and his team added that “there are elements of the 2012 election that still confound us, and this is not one we project with supreme confidence.

“The picks presented in this edition represent our best judgment, but we’re as fallible as all prognosticators," they wrote.

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