NATE SILVER: Right Now, Obama's Odds Of Winning Are Overwhelming

New York Times polling guru Nate Silver is out with his first 2012 presidential election forecast today, and he gives President Barack Obama a clear advantage over Republican nominee Mitt Romney heading into the summer. 

If the election were held today, Silver writes, Obama would have an 80 per cent chance of winning re-election. But things could change quickly — Silver’s model projects that Obama has a 60 per cent chance of winning in November. 

Some of Silver’s model’s key projections:

  • If the election were held today, Obama would win approximately 300 electoral votes to Romney’s 238. He would win the popular vote by a 50.5 to 47.9 percentage. 
  • In the November 6 forecast, Silver’s model has Obama winning roughly 291 electoral votes to Romney’s 247. 
  • Popular vote in the November 6 model: Obama 50.5, Romney 48.4.
  • Together, there’s about a 5 per cent chance either Romney or Obama could theoretically win the electoral college and lose the popular vote.

Here’s why things could change in a hurry, though, and why Romney still has a good shot: The economic news over the next five months. Silver’s model forecasts based on polls and economic indicators, though he notes those are “a pretty rough guide five months before an election.” 

Silver outlines where campaigns will likely shift their attention this summer: the so-called “tipping-point case.”

Electoral College map

Photo: New York Times

That, for Obama, bodes well: He holds general advantages in each of the top six states. Silver warns, however, that these states generally have improving economies when compared to the national average. If these economies turn, however, that would spell trouble. 

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