Can Obama win on Melbourne Cup day?
While Australia will come to a standstill on the first Tuesday in November for the running of the 2012 Melbourne Cup, the world will stop for the US Presidential Elections.
Millions will be invested on both outcomes but, unlike our revered Cup when 24 runners will compete, there will only be two contestants looking to win the keys to the White House for the next four years.
The resume and current form of the Cup runners is foremost when trying to find the winner, but this form of analysis has little to do with politics and who could be the next Prez.
If a Cup runner had the form of incumbent President Barack Obama, it would be doubtful if his trainer would even want to run him. The fact that the national polls have Obama (48.4%) and his only challenger, Mitt Romney (47%) locked in a genuine horse race may be indicative of the poor opposition and not the incumbent.
Unlike in Australia, which has had compulsory voting since 1920 and participation reaches up to 95%, only 63% of eligible Americans voted at the 2008 federal elections. Significantly, 68% of African Americans turned out to vote for Obama, crucial for a photo finish.
Polls taken from last week’s first Presidential debate show that Romney won by the length of the Flemington straight and if you watch Fox News the race is all over. Current polls have Obama and Romney in a statistical dead heat, with the President maybe just in front, but new polls expected this week taken after the debate will favour the billionaire challenger.
We can never be sure how influential debates are or any of the other key performance indicators, as no President has ever gone to the polls with a worse set of numbers than Obama and Romney has a highly successful background in business and as the Governor of Massachusetts.
He and his running mate, Paul Ryan, would bring an unmatched experience and expertise in economics and given, the US National debt has just ticked over $16 trillion, logic would dictate that as a winning formula.
Logic, unlike the Cup, is not a factor. It was not a factor when George Dubbya was voted in not once but twice, nor when Californians voted in the Terminator and Minnesota a champion wrestler as their respective state governors.
Americans are paying twice as much now for petrol under Obama; actual unemployment is 22 million with almost 47 million on food stamps, while the debt clock continues to spiral which equates to over 51k for each of the 314 million citizens.
Given all of the facts against Obama, why are the polls so close?
Global bookmakers certainly do not think it is close and, based on consumer weight of money, they have discounted the KPI’s and the national polls and have installed the President a hot favourite at 1.39 and Mitt Romney at 3.55.
This is a market based on people’s money with almost $10 million invested already and is more reliable than polls, simply because it is real while polls are inconclusive and often biased.
While national polling is close, to win the White House, 270 Electoral Votes (EVs) are required and each state has their own set of EVs.
Obama is the hot favourite with bookies because he is already certain to win 142 EVs, while Romney only has 76 in the bag. Obama has another 37 EVs that he is likely to win and a further 72 that are leaning to his blue corner. That gives him a total of 251 EVs, which means he only has to win 19 more votes from the ‘toss up’ states which offer 106 EVs.
He can achieve this by taking out Florida (29) or two or three of the contentious states which include Colorado (nine), Iowa (six), Missouri (10), Nevada (six), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13).
State by state polling gives Romney 181 EVs, which means he must win 89 of the 106 votes (84%) from the eight toss up states, a virtual impossibility if the elections were held today, but there is still hope for an upset on Melbourne Cup day.
The new national polls are expected to show a two to four point bump in favour of Romney, which may put him in front and this momentum may influence the state polls and cut into the 72 EVs that Obama has in his ‘leaning basket’.
With three debates left, support for Romney could continue to gain momentum.
Vice President Joe Biden, noted for making gaffes, takes on the very formidable Paul Ryan who is the currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee and an excellent speaker.
It will be difficult for Biden to win this debate, as he has a very weak base to talk from and will likely resort to bullying his opponent and reminding everyone how much he loves his country. He cannot compete on intellect or content, especially if Ryan keeps coming back to the economy.
President Obama would have to improve markedly on his performance in the first debate if he wishes to not lose any more ground in the remaining two debates against Romney. He knows a break-even performance will win him office, but two more dominant wins by Romney and a win by Ryan and the swinging voters could move to the red corner.
The Melbourne Cup is raced over two miles and President Obama has been under the whip now for almost four years. Can he hold on?
History suggests that incumbents will win a second term, but they did not carry the crushing impost of a $16 trillion debt.
Good luck on the first Tuesday in November may the best horse win.