Monday, October 1, 2012

The Swing Voter Rules for 2012

What is a self-respecting centrist swing voter to do? While the pundits argue over whether it is worse to be a capitalist or a socialist, Swing Vote America seems to be asking my favorite political question, "What is wrong with the status quo?"

What we have right now is a divided government, with neither the Democrats nor Republicans able to move forward or backward without the other. It appears increasingly likely that will not change after the 2012 election.

In the last 5 months on Intrade, the 62% chance of various combinations of divided government has gone up to 72.7%. The chance of a Republican sweep has dropped from 23% to 8.7% but the chance of a Democratic sweep has gone up only slightly from 15% to 18.6%.

President Senate House
59.9% 27.0% Obama Democratic Republican
18.6% 15.0% Obama Democratic Democratic
8.7% 23.0% Romney Republican Republican
5.4% 17.5% Obama Republican Republican
3.7% 8.9% Romney Democratic Republican
0.8% 7.9% Obama Republican Democratic
0.1% 3.9% Romney Republican Democratic
0.1% 2.7% Romney Democratic Democratic
5.0% 1.5% Other President-Congress Combination

Ordinarily, supporting the status quo means you like where the country is and where it is headed. But what if you don't like where we are but don't trust either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party? The only sensible choice in our two-party system is to vote for some of each.

No one trusts a return of Nancy Pelosi to the House speakership, so that means you have to vote Republican in the House races. The Senate races are still too close to call. That means supporters of status quo divided government have to vote for Barack Obama.

In fact, if that 18.6% chance of a Democratic sweep makes you nervous, you better vote Republican in the Senate races too. Or, if you are afraid of frivolous impeachment charges circa 1998, better vote Democratic. But what's that other 5% about? Well, if independent Angus King of Maine joins socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Senators who don't call themselves Democrats or Republicans club, than neither the Republicans or the Democrats will have an outright majority in the Senate. A 49-49-1-1 split would be perfect.

We still have the debates. Mitt Romney could convince Swing Vote America that he will govern as the independent moderate that would have made the father he idolizes proud, and not as the severe conservative he claimed to be in the primaries.

That 47% comment? We know Mitt Romney was just saying he would pander to us swing voters rather than to Democratic voters who were never going to vote for him anyway. That's great, but can we trust him? The 2012 election swings in the balance of that question.

Update 10/5: The 18.6% chance of a Democratic sweep has dropped to a safe 6.4% while the chance of a Republican sweep has grown to an uncomfortable 20.5%. If that holds, a revision of the swing voter rule for Senate races may be needed.

No comments: