A gay Democratic political strategist who helped President Obama win a blowout victory in 2008 is predicting another big win for him in 2012 as the national polls published just before Election Day show a tight race, but are generally favorable to Obama.
Steve Hildebrand, the deputy national campaign director of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, said in response to an email inquiry from the Washington Blade that he’s expecting a wide margin of victory for Obama in the Electoral College.
“Obama wins 347-191,” Hildebrand wrote. “After Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate and his 47 percent comments, he was never able to convince a majority of voters that he would be on their side. He will lose what could have been a winnable race.”
That margin of victory would mean Obama would not only win all the swing states in the 2012 election — Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Hampshire — but also pick up North Carolina, which the Obama campaign had largely abandoned despite holding the Democratic National Convention in the state.
After his participation in the 2008 presidential campaign, Hildebrand returned to his home state of South Dakota to work as a political strategist and wasn’t directly involved in Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Final polls published on Monday indicated the race will be close, but generally showed Obama has a small lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. An ABC News/Washington Post poll gives Obama a lead by 50-47 and a Reuters/Ipsos poll says Obama is leading 48-46. But an American Research Group poll had the race a dead heat at 49-49 and a Rasmussen Reports poll gave Romney a one point lead over Obama by a margin of 49-48.
Many Obama supporters are taking solace in the New York Times blogger and statistician Nate Silver’s assessment on Tuesday that Obama has a 91.6 percent chance of victory based on these latest polls. In the 2008 election, Silver correctly predicted the winner in 49 out of 50 states.
In several swing states, polls are showing Obama has a small lead, but likely enough to give him a victory in the Electoral College. The last Reuters/Ipsos state polls have Obama up in Virginia by 48-46, in Ohio by 50-46 and Colorado by 48-47. In Florida, the Reuters/Ipsos polls give Romney a one point lead over Obama.
Both candidates made their final push to convince voters to come to their side. Romney spent the day campaigning in Virginia, where he made two campaign stops — one in Lynchburg and another in Fairfax — and he warned supporters that Obama’s re-election would mean four years of the same policies. He’s also slated to campaign in Ohio on Election Day.
“Throughout the campaign, the president has brought almost every argument he can think of to the front,” Romney said. “He’s tried to convince you that these last four years have been a success. And so his plan for the next four years is to take all the ideas from the first term — the stimulus, the borrowing, Obamacare, all the rest — and do them over again. He calls that ‘Forward.’ I call it ‘Forewarned.’ The same course we’ve been on won’t lead to a better destination.”
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made their final campaign appearance at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, where he said the country has seen “real progress” under his administration. That appearance brings Obama full circle because Iowa is the state credited with launching his presidential campaign after he won the caucuses there in the 2008 Democratic primary.
“And, Iowa, after all the months of campaigning, after all the rallies, after the millions of dollars of ads, it all comes down to you,” Obama said. “It’s out of my hands now. It’s in yours. All of it depends on what you do when you step into that voting booth tomorrow. It’s just a remarkable thing, the way our democracy works.”
Locally, long lines were reported in the morning at polling places. According to a report from NBC 4, voters in Virginia lined up even before polls opened to cast their votes — particularly at Washington Mill Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., where U.S. Senate candidate George Allen is expected to vote. Polls are open until 8 p.m. in D.C. and Maryland, and 7 p.m. in Virginia.