Well, things look good for Obama after those two NH towns. Combining the two, in 2008, Obama won 32-16, this year he won 28-14. So, combined turnout was down (bad) but the margin was exactly the same (good). Very helpful that the Libertarian candidate got two votes in Hart’s Location. If the Libertarian could actually get 2% of the vote in New Hampshire, that would surely sink Romney.
Not much attention being paid to minor candidates, but they could have a big effect: Libertarians hurt Romney, the Green Party hurts Obama. Each of them could pull 0.5% to 2% in any given state. Nader got 0.5% in NH in 2008 (0.7 in 2004 and 3.9 in 2000 – if his voters had gone for Gore, Gore would have won NH and Gore would have been elected President; that was also true of Florida, of course, where Nader made it possible for Bush to steal the election – I’ve always wondered if the Republicans actually funded Nader’s campaign in 2000). In 2008, the Libertarian got 0.3% in NH.
Interesting that turnout was way down in Dixville Notch (21 to 10), but up in Hart’s Location. According to Wikipedia, however, in the 2010 census, Dixville Notch’s population was only 12, so 10 voters would not really be a decline in turnout, just a decline in population relative to 2008 [some voters of 2008 may have been disqualified on the grounds that the census shows they do not live in Dixville Notch].
I like Hart’s Location as a better bellwether, for that reason. Turnout is up, from 29 to 34. Obama got 23 votes instead of 17. The two guys who voted write-in for Ron Paul in 2008 surely were the two Libertarian voters in 2012, so they are not much help. [Note: Concord NH paper says only one Libertarian vote.] The Democratic candidate for governor in Hart’s Location got 22 votes, the candidate for Congress got 23. The latter bodes well for Dem’s chances in the House.
My guess is that Romney will do about 2 percentage points worse than predicted, because some voters will not want to admit they would not vote for a Mormon. Sort of the same thing we used to have with Black candidates (the so-called Wilder effect, named after VA governor Doug Wilder, whose actual vote total was well below what he was getting in the polls): those asked in a poll will not admit they are going to vote against a candidate for reason of bias, so they claim they will vote for him or her.
Early returns: watch for Indiana (which closes at 6). Obama won in 2008, but that was weird. Historically, Indiana is about 55-45 Republican. If the Republican goes above 55%, he invariably wins nationwide [Bush in 2000, 2004]; if the Democrat gets 46% or more, he wins nationwide [Clinton; Obama]. Current polls apparently show Romney ahead 52-43 there. [i.e., projected to 100%, Romney would have 54.7%] Look for Romney to get about 53% in Indiana: if that happens, it means the Mormon effect kicked in (all those Christians refusing to vote for a perceived non-Christian). It also means Obama will win nationwide.
Just guessing, I think he’ll win 50-47 or 51-46, with the other votes going to minor candidates.
Look for Obama to win almost all the battleground states: Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, NH, Ohio, Virginia. Florida, who knows, but that’s a place where the Mormon effect will hurt. So, given that the polls show 48-48 there, look for Romney to lose Florida by 2 percentage points. That would be 328 electoral votes for Obama. Frankly, if the Mormon effect is real, Obama might even win North Carolina.
If Hart’s Location is any indicator, the Republicans could also be in trouble in Congress, provided that Obama wins nationwide by 3 or 4 percentage points.
UPDATE, Nov 7
In my total of 328, I had quite forgotten New Mexico (which I had for Obama, not in the battleground category, and somehow did not add in). So, it should have been 332. My apologies to the residents of that lovely oasis in the Southwest.
Looks like I had the battleground states all right, but that I slightly overestimated Obama’s popular vote victory. I’m happy to see that the “Mormon” effect, if it existed, was quite small. Wonderful to see that despite polls to the contrary about willingness to vote for members of any given religion, Americans ignored that factor in their final choice. Much like Obama in 2008 was a triumph over racism, the absence of a “Mormon” factor means we are getting beyond religious bias, too.
UPDATE 2, 10:42 am, Nov 7th
Romney got 54% of the vote in Indiana and the Libertarian got 2%. Obama has a 46k vote lead in Florida, so he seems to have won there, too.