Okay it's time I put my money where my mouth is. With T-minus one day and counting until the voters have their final say, I thought I would lay all my cards on the table. I'll start at the top and work my way down.
The Presidency: It should come as no shock to anyone that I had a horse in this race from the beginning and, to be honest, I was quite worried there for a while. Actually, I'm still cautiously optimistic. Anything can still happen, especially since the road to victory is going through Ohio. Seems that state's Secretary of State, Jon Husted, is determined to do whatever he can to get Mitt Romney elected, regardless of which law he ends up violating to do it. With that being said, here's how I think it will go down:
It will be a very close election and I suspect that we will be up late Tuesday night, perhaps well into Wednesday morning, before the networks make the call, but in the end, Obama's firewall through the Rust Belt states will be too much for Romney to overcome. In fact, 2012 looks very much like 2004, insofar as the national polls go. That year, Bush led Kerry 48-47 going into election day. This year the numbers are almost exactly the same, with Obama having the slight lead over Romney.
So who gets what? Remember, it's the swing states, stupid. Obama will hold Pennsylvania and get Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado (barely) and New Hampshire; Romney will take Florida, North Carolina and Virginia (barely). As far as the popular vote goes, owing to a slightly lower than expected turnout in the northeast due to Hurricane Sandy, Romney may well end up winning it, if only by a small amount, say, 100,000. It'll be the only silver lining in what was, with the exception of the Denver debate, a dreadfully run campaign.
The bottom line, though, will be turnout and, let's be honest, the Obama campaign had a huge advantage over the Romney campaign in that they were able to establish their ground game during the Republican primaries. While Romney was still fending off the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, team Obama was setting up base in all the swing states. The early voting will, no doubt, prove to be the difference in this election.
P.S. Since everyone knew this would all come down to Ohio, wouldn't it have made sense for Mitt Romney to have picked a running mate who hailed from that state? Ron Portman might well have brought it home for him and thus won him the election.
Obama 290, Romney 248
The Senate: This is where the Tea Party will cause the GOP the greatest harm. Out of a possible 23 seats, Democrats were defending, I predict they will successfully defend 21 of them. Conversely, out of the 10 seats, Republicans were defending, they will lose 3. The breakdown of losses for each party will be as follows: Democrats: Nebraska and North Dakota; Republicans: Indiana, Maine and Massachusetts.
The Indiana loss will be particularly troubling for the GOP. This should've been a slam dunk and would've been had Dick Lugar not been defeated in his primary. Equally disturbing is the Missouri seat which, prior to Todd Akin's incendiary comments - also concerning rape - was shaping up as a Republican gain. Claire McCaskill didn't so much win it as Akin lost it.
There's no other way of putting it. This will be viewed, and correctly so, as an unmitigated disaster for the GOP. They had high hopes of retaking the Senate this year and now, not only haven't they gained control, they will have lost ground. Even if they manage to flip Montana -which I don't think will happen - it's still a bitter pill to swallow. Until and or unless the Republican Party deals with the Tea Party faction that now controls most of its apparatus, long-term gains on a national level, at least with respect to the Senate, will be hard to come by.
Democrats 54, Republicans 46
The House: Getting an exact breakdown here is quite difficult, owing to a lack of polling data on each of the races. However, I am prepared to predict that the Democrats will make some gains here, including knocking off Steve King of Iowa and Joe Walsh of Illinois. Unfortunately, Michele Bachmann of Minnesota will survive, if only by the splinters on her broomstick. In the end, though, Democrats will fall far short of retaking control of this chamber, netting a mere 10 seats. Enough to send a message? Yes, but, since the House needs no super majority to pass legislation, it's hardly a game changer. If anything, expect House Republicans to be even more intransigent, as John Boehner's remaining authority continues to be whittled away.
Republicans 232, Democrats 203
As always, I invoke the old, "Don't quote me" line with respect to the above predictions. Take them with a grain of salt. And please, no betting the ranch on anything you read here. Remember, I'm a Mets' fan. I'm used to being disappointed!