Wall Street Journal Political Diary contributors offer their predictions for Election Day.
Robert L. Pollock, Wall Street Journal editorial board member.
Mitt Romney will win the presidency with a comfortable majority of more than 300 Electoral College votes. Ohio will not be decisive because other Midwestern states—possibly including Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan—will fall into the Romney camp. So will Colorado, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire and, likely, Pennsylvania.
Why? I'm going with the general rule of the thumb that incumbent presidents who can't get themselves above 50% in the polls do not win. I'm also assuming presidents running for re-election in an economy as bad as ours do not win. Polls showing a close race are based on samples with a Democratic bias.
Mr. Romney is the most articulate candidate the GOP has put forward since Ronald Reagan. Although he is not the kind of small-government conservative that excites the Republican base, the base is confident that he is serious about tackling our debt crisis and repealing ObamaCare. He is also viewed favorably by independents. If he cannot win in an economy like this one, it would mean that the composition of the electorate has changed in such a way that the current GOP coalition will probably never elect another president.
Is there any reason to believe the electorate has changed in such a way? No. Look at the tea party and the congressional results from 2010. Look at the recent Gallup numbers showing a decisive shift in self-identified party affiliation toward the GOP between 2008 and 2012.
But Republicans should not get cocky when they win. One of the smartest things a President Romney could do would be common-sense immigration reform to make Hispanics—many of whom have conservative values—more comfortable voting for the party. That would help keep the GOP coalition viable for decades to come.
Allysia Finley, assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com
President Obama wins, 270-268. Mitt Romney runs away with North Carolina (15), where he holds a comfortable lead, as well as Colorado (9) and Florida (29), where polls also show him ahead by a couple of points. He also takes New Hampshire (4), where Republican turnout will be particularly strong due to a high-stakes gubernatorial election. Momentum and GOP enthusiasm will help him pull off an upset in Pennsylvania (20). However, it's hard to see Mr. Romney winning states where he doesn't have a clear polling lead or momentum.
So Mr. Obama keeps Ohio (18), where he's maintained a lead throughout the race, and Virginia (13), which hasn't fallen as easily into Republicans' column as the party hoped. Both will be nail-biters (and heart-breakers). The president also wins Wisconsin (10), where progressive and union turnout will be super-charged, and Iowa (6), which George W. Bush had trouble winning in 2004 and lost in 2000. Polls are tightening in Michigan and Minnesota, but both will stay blue.
Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal editorial board member
This election is not about electing Mitt Romney, it is about un-electing Barack Obama. It is about voters examining the Obama four-year body of work and collectively deciding: no mas.
There are still enough people—barely—who do pay income taxes and don't collect government benefits and who will repudiate the unprecedented Obama government/debt expansionism. Mr. Romney will win all of the South, including states that Mr. Obama won in 2000: Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. He will win Colorado, Nevada, Iowa and Wisconsin. Among the following states, one or more will go Republican: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Democrats will once again be a bi-coastal party with the nation blue on the outside and almost entirely red on the inside.
All this adds up to a narrow Romney victory, with about 280 Electoral College votes and a 51 percent to 49 percent win in the popular vote.
Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal editorial board member
President Obama wins tomorrow if America isn't done congratulating itself for electing the first black president. Mr. Romney wins if voters care more about substance than style.
Mr. Obama wins if turnout resembles 2008 enough to compensate for Mr. Romney's lead among independent voters. Mitt Romney wins if the election is a referendum on the president's first term.
Mr. Obama wins if most people think the economy is on the right track; most people don't believe that it is, but a steadily increasing number do. Mr. Romney wins if the race is close and the president is below 50 percent; Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, 47.8 percent to 47.4 percent.
Mr. Romney wins if unemployment is pushing 8 percent, which it is. Mr. Romney wins if Mr. Obama loses Ohio, where the president is ahead.
Which brings us to the battleground state polls, where Mr. Obama has consistently held a slight advantage in the Electoral College race. The polls could be wrong, of course. But what are the chances that they're all wrong, and all wrong in the same way? Not very likely. Mr. Obama wins Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, giving him 293 electoral votes and a second term. The GOP contents itself with holding the House and not losing too much ground in the Senate.