Washington Post: Obama Will Win, Congress Will Stay the Same

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President Obama will likely win a second term.

After all the insanity of the past year, the Washington Post is predicting that nothing will change on Tuesday: Barack Obama will remain president of the United States, Democrats will hold onto the Senate and Republicans will keep control of the House.

The Post based its analysis on an in-depth look at polling numbers, trends in turnout and interviews with consultants and experts, and came up with the conclusion that although the national polls show a virtual tie, Obama has big enough leads in enough states to take the electoral college.

In some states a majority of voters have already cast their ballots in early voting, and the early voting polls and a perusal of the registered party of the early voters show that Obama likely holds a comfortable lead among the early voters in most states. While it’s not as much of a whopping edge as he held over John McCain in 2008—giving hope to the Romney campaign—the Obama folks say they don’t need to equal the 2008 numbers, they just need to surpass Romney.

While observers have closely watched the commotion surrounding Congressional elections over the past year, studying the numbers to see whether the composition of the House and Senate will change, the Washington Post has concluded that the numbers probably won’t change much. The status quo will rule the day.

“Democrats are expected to gain seats in the House but not the 25 needed to recapture the majority lost in the Republican sweep of 2010,” the Post story says. “In the Senate, Democrats hold a 53-47 majority, including two independents who caucus with them. Although 10 or more races were considered too close to call through much of the fall, Democrats are now in a position to maintain their majority, although perhaps barely.”As of now, the election will come down to who votes and how many. If more blacks, Latinos, young people and women go to the polls, Obama will win. If those populations are under-represented on Tuesday while white men are over-represented, Romney has a very good chance. But when the electoral college is considered, and the likely results in most of the states, Obama’s path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win is much easier to envision than Romney’s.As Obama spent the last week dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, almost half of all Americans said Obama’s hurricane response would be a factor in their vote, according to the latest Post-ABC tracking poll. An earlier survey found that 79 percent rated his handling of the situation excellent or good.

The latest job report might also sway a handful of undecideds. The report, released Friday, was mixed—the increase of 171,000 jobs was good for the president, but the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent.

Of course, the campaigns are both confident—at least outwardly so. Obama’s advisers told the Post that the race is theirs to lose and that they will not lose it. “The economic debate has crystallized,” campaign manager Jim Messina said Saturday. “We have picked up steam and now what we have to do is turn out our vote. We continue to lead or are tied in every battleground state and have the ability to get to 270 electoral votes in a variety of ways.”

Romney advisers have said their polls show that the battlegrounds, particularly Ohio, are closer than public surveys suggest. They also say that an incumbent who is not above 50 percent in the polls in the final days is in a precarious position.

“When you take a look at the big three — Florida, Virginia and Ohio — we feel very good,” said Romney senior adviser Russ Schriefer. “Ohio is tight but it’s tied and I think we’ve got some advantages there. I think then you look at the rest of the map that, in a million years, the Obama campaign never thought they would be campaigning in these states the weekend before the election.”

He added: “We’re going to win this thing.”

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