Mitt Romney will be elected the 45th President of the United States of America on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012.
Barack Obama will be the 9th President to have secured re-nomination from his party but lose in the general election.
Ohio will be the decisive state and likely the last one for networks to project a winner for. We may not even get a projected winner tonight.
When all the states have certified their votes, Romney will have won the Presidency with 285 electoral votes and Barack Obama will have come in with 253.
The popular vote will give Romney 50.2% of the vote to Obama's 48.9%.
Here are my battleground state picks:
- Florida - Romney
- Virginia - Romney
- Ohio - Romney
- New Hampshire - Romney
- Iowa - Romney
- Colorado - Romney
- Michigan - Obama
- Wisconsin - Obama
- Pennsylvania - Obama
- Minnesota - Obama
- Nevada - Obama
The key states for Romney are Florida, Virginia and Ohio. If he loses any one of these 3, he is not likely to have won in the Great Lakes states and will thus fall short of 270 electoral votes.
Here are key moments to look for through out the evening:
6pm Chicago time
The first 6 states close their polls and results will start dripping in slowly. By 6:30, Romney will have a sizable early electoral vote lead.
7pm Chicago time
17 states close their polls, including Illinois, and the electoral vote race is tight. At this point the networks should be able to confirm that Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives. They may wait until 8pm local time to do it, but I don't think it will be close enough to warrant such a delay.
8pm Chicago time
13 states close their polls. At this point, some swing states that closed earlier may get enough vote counted to start making projections. I think within the 8 O'Clock hour, North Carolina and Florida can be called for Romney. His electoral vote count will be nearly double the President's at this point causing many casual Democrats to get very angry. Never fear, many blue states have not closed the polls yet. You will catch up.
9pm Chicago time
4 states close their polls and we don't get many new results. However, networks will start to project winners in swing states. Within this hour, Pennsylvania and Michigan will be called for Obama.
10pm Chicago time
The big west coast states close their polls and the electoral vote count shifts dramatically toward a tie. Within the hour, we learn Virginia and New Hampshire have gone for Romney, Wisconsin for Obama. The Senate remains to close to call all through the night as close races play out across the country.
11pm Chicago time
Networks project Obama wins Minnesota, Romney wins Colorado. At this point, there are only three states remaining: Ohio, Iowa and Nevada. At some point between 11pm and midnight we learn Obama has carried Nevada. All eyes are now on Ohio. No matter what happens in Iowa and Alaska, Ohio will determine the winner.
1am Chicago time
Networks project Romney wins both Iowa and Alaska. He is now 3 electoral votes from the presidency, while Obama is just 17 votes short. But the last remaining state is Ohio and it has 18 electoral votes. Whoever wins the state, wins it all.
2am Chicago time
The networks will sign off not knowing who won and Ohio officials will declare that absentee and provisional ballots that have not been counted must be in order to determine a winner. Romney will have a lead, but not an insurmountable one.
The process may drag on for several days, with Romney claiming victory and Obama considering a re-count.
Eventually, we will find out that Mitt Romney won Ohio by a few thousand votes making him President-Elect of the United States.
Key indicators throughout the evening:
- If Romney is declared the winner in Pennsylvania at any point in the evening, pop the campaign he is going to win a landslide.
- If Obama is declared the winner in Florida at any point, turn off the TV, he is going to be on it giving a victory speech at McCormick Place after a substantial win.
- If Obama wins Virginia or Ohio before 10pm Chicago time you may want to think about getting a really hard drink ready for yourself because he will have a strong inside track to victory.
- If Romney wins in either Michigan, Wisconsin or Minnesota, he will probably win the night.
Why do I think Romney will win enough swing states?
I believe about 5% of Obama's 2008 voters will not show up, 3% will flip to Romney and Romney will generate about 2% more base votes than John McCain did 4 years ago.
The economy is too poor to have Obama re-elected and Romney has proven himself to be a safe alternative to enough voters in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa and Colorado. His base is more excited, his turnout numbers will be better and last minute independent voters will break for Romney.
One question will remain after tonight: on what day between now and Christmas will be know for sure that Romney won?
I say December 10th.
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