Another Perfect Tie?
The slow growth reported for the second quarter is enough to allow President Barack Obama an edge in his re-election bid, according to a forecasting model based on the economy and polling data.
The U.S. economy grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate from April through June, in line with forecasts and slowing from a revised 2.0 percent rate during the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department reported today.
“It puts Obama just barely above the break-even point,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta and developer of the forecasting model. “Mainly it tells me we’re heading to a very close election and Obama is a slight favorite.”
Abramowitz said today his model projects Obama will receive 50.5 percent of the popular vote in November and has a two- thirds probability of winning. The model doesn’t project the Electoral College outcome, and it is possible to win the popular vote without an electoral-vote victory, as occurred in the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
Democrats say North Carolina is in the mix. Republicans insist the same is true for Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where Romney has family roots.
Strategists inside both campaigns agree, for now, that the 2008 battlegrounds of Missouri and Indiana are all but certain to go red, while New Mexico is likely to stay blue.
So using those parameters, here's one plausible scenario in which no candidate wins an Electoral College majority in November:
Romney tears up Obama's 2008 map and wins New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Nevada.
Obama, meanwhile, keeps Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Democratic column.
That combination of states adds up to 269 votes for each candidate -- and that's just one of several realistic scenarios yielding the same outcome.