Monday, November 5, 2012

US Election down to the wire, but President Obama looks like winning.

(Photo courtesy The Daily Beast)

The U..S. Presidential election appears tight on the last day, and Governor Romney deserves credit for elevating the fight to this level from a distant second within a matter of weeks.

However, numbers don't seem to add up for Romney bar a miracle. President Obama is marginally ahead in opinion polls, however popular vote does not matter, the number of delegates do. To win, a candidate needs to secure 270 delegates. According to an average of polls (reported by Real Clear Politics), the President can so far count 201 on his side and Romney 191. It all comes down to 146 delegates from swing States.

President Obama will need another 69 delegates and he seems to be ahead in following States:

                             State               Number of delegates

                           Iowa                           6
                           Michigan                   16
                           Nevada                      6
                           Pennsylvania             20
                          Wisconsin                  10

This adds up to 259, so it is imperative for the President to win Ohio State with its 18 delegates, which will put him over the top. Though lately, Obama may have swung back in Florida and could win that State and its 29 delegates and New Hampshire with its 4.

Intrade odds are currently running 67% in favor of President Obama and 37% for Romney. I guess that says something. It looks more and more difficult for Romney to win.


There is a possibility albeit extremely remote, that both candidates end up with 268 delegates i.e. a tie. In that case the U.S. Constitution gives the power to the newly elected House of Representatives (Republican dominated) to elect a President and they will naturally elect Romney. The Senate (Democratic dominated) will elect the Vice President, presumably Joe Biden unless he does not want the job and Hillary Clinton (with an eye on 2016 election)  is anointed Vice President instead. The country could end up with a President from one party and Vice President from the other.

President Obama has to win by clear and significant margin, otherwise danger lurks for him. Some States do not bind delegates to vote as per their declared intent, so they can switch sides. If Obama wins by a small margin of (say) two or three delegates, some creative Republicans and their financial backers could 'persuade'  enough delegates to switch sides, causing a tie, thus throwing the election to the House of Representatives. 

One hopes, the results will be clear and precise and none of these shenanigans will come into play and there will not be a repeat of the 2000 election drama.

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