Oval Office Thunderdome: Missile Test Predicts!

Prediction is a science. Just ask any physicist. The functioning of the universe operates within well-established rules of probability. The margins are slim, but real. For example, there is a slight chance, 1 in 1 trillion trillion trillion, that when placing your hand on a wall, it will pass right through. This isn’t magic — it’s physics. Missile Test takes politics every bit as seriously as science. As such, Missle Test has spent painstaking minutes theorizing, experimenting, and rigorously analyzing all the factors that will decide this election. These are not just predictions, but will be proven as immutable fact after election day. There is no margin of error on this page. We deal with realities.

Obama: 291   McCain: 247

Joking aside, there has been endless polling for months and months. After all this time, Obama has maintained a steady advantage across the wide spectrum of polls. The polls, while not perfect, have been reliable enough in the last century that if McCain wins this election, it will be the largest upset in the history of polling. You’d be hard-pressed to find an analyst or a pundit who does not believe at this point that Barack Obama will not win the presidential election. Most of them have Obama winning with over 300 electoral votes. As for myself, I foresee an Obama victory, but a closer one. I don’t think the mass collection of polls is wrong, yet I have McCain holding onto a large majority of states that recent polls have placed in the tossup column, like Montana, North Dakota, Georgia, Missouri, etc. Every current tossup was a Bush state in 2004, so if Obama wins only one or two of the ten that are out there, combined with other red states from 2004 in which he has a significant lead in the polls, McCain is sunk.

Obama has multiple paths to the 270 electoral votes he needs, and that is why he will win. He will break the pattern of the last couple elections, and win the White House without taking either Florida or Ohio. He should win the popular vote with a wide margin, perhaps more than 5 million votes, and will win a majority of popular votes, something a Democrat has not done since Jimmy Carter. It is not out of the question that Obama could take more than 330 electoral votes tomorrow. According to most analysts and amateur election watchers, 330 or more is the likely outcome of the race. I’m not going to make that leap (Addendum February 2016: I should have).

John McCain has one path to victory, and it runs through Pennsylvania. Polls close at 8 in Pennsylvania. The networks could call the state before 9. If McCain loses Pennsylvania, he will not be able to win the general election. Obama has made far too many inroads into the red states from 2004. He will win some of those. Without Pennsylvania, McCain will not be able to make up the gains Obama will post in those red states. So while Pennsylvania won’t put either men over the top as far as electoral votes is concerned, if it goes blue, the election is over.

In the Senate, the Democrats should come up short of the 60-vote plateau. Here’s how I predict the tight races will turn out (incumbent party in bold):

  • Virginia: Mark Warner(D) over Jim Gilmore(R).
  • North Carolina: Kay Hagan(D) over Elizabeth Dole(R).
  • Colorado: Mark Udall(D) over Bob Schaeffer(R).
  • New Mexico: Tom Udall(D) over Steve Pearce(R).
  • New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen(D) over John Sununu(R).
  • Oregon: Jeff Merkley(D) over Gordon Smith(R).
  • Kentucky: Bruce Lunsford(D) over Mitch McConnell(R).
  • Louisiana: Mary Landrieu(D)over John Kennedy(R).
  • Georgia: The “other folks” send Jim Martin(D) over the top, and Saxby Chambliss(R) A well-deserved victory over the Southern Strategy.
  • Alaska: Ted Stevens(R)over Mark Begich(D).
  • Minnesota: Norm Coleman(R)over Al Franken(D).

I feel good about most of these picks. I have my doubts about three, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Georgia. I could be grossly underestimating the voters of Alaska, but Ted Stevens is a respected and powerful man up there, and his recent felony convictions may not mean all that much. But these are all in fun.

I’m not going to predict individual outcomes in the House. There are just too many close races. But I will pick a number. The Democrats will pick up 31 seats in the House. Have a good day, and don’t forget to vote.