I am now prepared to predict the 2012 election almost infallibly.
Romney will win. And it will not be that close.
The polls I put the most weight on, Rasmussen and Gallup, are breaking for Romney. Rasmussen daily tracking this morning (but taken before the last debate) has Romney 50% to Obama 46%. The latest Gallup polls also have Romney over 50%. Late deciders tend to break against the incumbent, especially when the economy has been punk under the incumbent. That is what we are seeing now, and it's not over.
And, yes, I expect this trend to be strong enough for Romney to carry Ohio. He has gained there, and polls have him roughly tied. Ohio will continue to move toward Romney.
In addition, the vote for Romney (and against Obama) is more intense and angry/enthusiastic than for Obama. One very helpful measure of this is Rasmussen’s Presidential Approval Index. It persistently shows between 40% and 45% strongly disapprove of Obama, much more (now more than 16 more) than the percentage who strongly approve of Obama. So I expect the turn out will be much more favorable to Republicans than 2008, though perhaps not quite as favorable as 2010.
I just do not see a big event coming to save Obama as much as a few may try to manufacture one. In fact, Democrats are becoming so unhinged, they could easily say something to make things worse. They are acting pretty silly already with binders and such.
Now here’s where I am a real outlier – the Republicans will take the 50 seats they need to control the Senate (with Veep Ryan providing the tiebreaking vote if needed). This will be a ticked-off had-enough election like 1980. Yes, Obama is Carter Redux in more ways than one. And in 1980, the big shocker wasn’t Reagan winning, but the GOP gaining twelve Senate seats. The GOP won’t gain twelve this time, but they will surprise again and take the Senate if by the skin of their teeth.
Whether my prediction is useless or useful, I’ll let you be the judge.