The 6 kinds of Electoral College predictions


The six kinds of Electoral College predictions

Storified by Digital First Media · Tue, Nov 06 2012 12:05:52

It’s Election Day, which means it’s the last chance for people to make their predictions. Though there are thousands and thousands of possible combinations of states, the predictions tend to fall into six broad camps with four favoring President Obama and two favoring Mitt Romney. Here they are, from most favorable to Obama to least.

The Obama Sweep: Obama 347, Romney 191

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This is the Democratic dream scenario: President Obama wins every swing state in the West, Upper Midwest and South. Not many people are predicting this will happen, but it’s the highest combination of states that Obama could plausibly hope to win. It’s also about 18 electors below his 2008 win.
Who’s predicting it: Obama’s 2008 deputy national campaign director Steve Hildebrand
Swing states for Obama: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida
Swing states for Romney: None

The Obama Near-Sweep: Obama 332, Romney 206

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This is the more plausible version for die-hard Democrats: Obama sweeps the swing states out West and in the Upper Midwest and turns Virginia and Florida blue, leaving only North Carolina on the table. Statistician Nate Silver projects a 315-223 Obama win, but his state-by-state probabilities map leans this way. 
Who’s predicting it: Nate Silver‘s state-by-state map, statistician Drew Linzer, liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas
Swing states for Obama: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida
Swing states for Romney: North Carolina

The Pollsters’ Favorite: Obama 303, Romney 235

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This is the map where the polls are all correct. It shows Obama winning in the West and Upper Midwest and picking up Virginia, but Romney otherwise cleaning up in the South. It’s a favorite for people who love polls, such as the so-called “quants” whose statistical models have been popular this year.
Who’s predicting it: George Washington University political scientist John Sides, the Princeton Election Consortium’s Sam Wang, the Real Clear Politics Poll Average, Guardian political statistics writer Harry Enten, Utah Valley University political science professor Jay DeSart and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee government professor Thomas Holbrook, political science blogger Brice D.L. Acree, independent conservative analyst Scott Elliott, computer scientist Andrew S. Tanenbaum, professional poker player Matt Matros, British gaming company Ladbrokes, inTrade political market, New Yorker political writer Ryan Lizza
Swing states for Obama: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia
Swing states for Romney: North Carolina, Florida

The Regional Split: Obama 290, Romney 248

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One popular map divides the country up like the midpoint of a game of “Risk,” with Obama capturing swing states in the West and Upper Midwest while Romney takes all of the Southern states. This is a popular map for Beltway insiders and longtime political observers who look at states’ political history and demographics.
Who’s predicting it: University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato, PBS “NewsHour” politics editor Christina Bellantoni, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry, libertarian reporter Radley Balkowriters for “The Simpsons,” high-school seniors in McLean, Va.
Swing states for Obama: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire
Swing states for Romney: North Carolina, Florida, Virginia

The Ohio-South-Plus-One: Romney 270 to 285

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People predicting that Romney will win the Electoral College are literally all over the map, but they almost all begin with Romney painting Ohio red and keeping the South in his column. From there, he could add any number of other swing states to get to 270, but popular picks are Iowa, Colorado or New Hampshire.
Who’s predicting it: Economist Peter Morici picks Ohio and the Southern states plus either New Hampshire or Iowa to get 270 to 276. Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Colorado to get to 275. Washington Post horse-racing columnist Andrew Beyer picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Nevada and Colorado to get to 284. Former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove (map above) picks Ohio and the Southern states, plus Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire to get to 285.
Swing states for Romney: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio plus Colorado, Iowa or New Hampshire
Swing states for Obama: Nevada, plus whatever Romney doesn’t pick up

The Expanded Map: Romney 311 to 325

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There’s no one map for conservatives who argue Romney will win big. As with the maps for a narrower win, they predict Romney winning the Southern states and Ohio, but they also go further, giving him more than one swing state (Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada). And some go even further and also award him Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin or even Michigan.
Who’s predicting it: Conservative activist Dean Chambers picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire to reach 311. Conservative columnist Michael Barone picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to reach 315. Conservative commentator George F. Will picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Minnesota to reach 321. Conservative commentator Dick Morris (map above) picks Ohio and the Southern states plus Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reach 325.

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