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 The Big Day draws near

Four more years or Romney time?

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
At long last, the big day draws near, Election Day 2012. 

Will Mitt Romney rally to a Republican win? Will Obama's "hope and change" be an eight-year proposition?

We've assembled MBT's class of savants for their thoughts on this arguably most pivotal of presidential elections and they ride to the call:

"This race appears to be very close and, so, the decisive factor will be turnout.  

Turnout depends on two things: natural voter enthusiasm and mechanical efforts to communicate with and motivate voters to go vote.  

There was a huge enthusiasm gap four years ago, with Democrats far more enthusiastic than Republicans were. The enthusiasm gap seems to be more in Republicans’ favor this year, but it’s hard to judge by how much.

And the Democrats keep bragging about their mechanical voter turnout efforts which they’ve been working on for a long time with a lot of money. Do the two even out? Who knows?

My daughter is on the ground in Ohio (with a huge number of young Republican volunteers) helping out with the Romney campaign. For what it’s worth, she says they are really fired up, talking with a lot of people and getting a very positive response. Anecdotal evidence is just that, anecdotal, but it tells you that, in the biggest swing state of all, the Republicans are doing it right."
-- Bradley R. Byrne,
​attorney, Mobile

"It may come down to Ohio with the deciding factor being the President’s bailout of the auto industry."
-- Seth Hammett,
former Alabama Speaker of the House

"Clearly it is close, but Obama has the edge. It's his to lose, and the Republicans themselves put him there by: 




And all of this, of course, played into the hands of a liberal media which quite excitedly jumped on all of that and more, too. A liberal media is a fact which must be recognized, and candidates must act accordingly. And, they didn't, not all of them anyway. 

If your party is an extreme party, you lose. Period. Left or right."
-- David A. Bagwell,
lawyer

"My prediction is fairly conventional. I’d say Obama will lose three states he carried in 2008 – Florida, North Carolina and Indiana – but this will still leave him with 312 electoral votes for a comfortable win. The popular vote, which is irrelevant, will be a dead heat, and it could go either way.

If the electoral vote turns out to be closer, there are a couple of intriguing scenarios to watch for.

The first: The kooky Constitution Party candidate in Virginia could take enough votes from Romney to give Obama the state – along the lines of what Nader did to Gore in 2000. And Virginia turns out to be the margin of victory.

The second: Colorado goes for Obama because of the Hispanic vote, which is larger than in 2008."
-- Ray Jenkins,
retired journalist

"Romney wins decisively. 300+ in electoral college. Deciding factor: the Economy. Dissatisfied 'undecided' voters go for 'Change' again. 

Republicans sweep Alabama leaving no Democrat statewide elected officials.

Republicans also push deep into county courthouses across the state winning local races. 

The statewide 'conservative' Democrat is declared extinct and the local version is placed on the endangered species list."
-- Jerry Lathan,
state GOP committeeman 

"President gets re-elected in a close one. Edge in the battleground states and GOTV machine are the difference."
-- Reggie Copeland Jr.,
former chairman, Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee

"I vacillate in my gut. But I am about to tip the final scale to say Romney may pull it out. Here are the factors leading me to this:

1. All the polls show 75 percent of the voters care the most about the economy.

2. Romney enjoys a 5-10 percent edge over Obama on who voters believe best able to deal with the economy.

3. Romney has a good lead among independents. While Dems generally have an edge of 3-4 percent party identification, the enthusiasm gap is likely to pull Romney even or close to even in terms of the vote of Dems and Repubs. If this happens, the independents will decide the election.

4. There seems to be a bit of momentum in non-traditional states such as Pennsylvania. I think this is a function of the Obama campaign spending all its efforts on Ohio (and very effectively doing so). They have thoroughly poisoned the well in Ohio, making it very hard for Romney to rebuild himself. It is a classic case of letting the other side define you before you engage. The Dems succeeded in this in Ohio. The irony will be if the vacuum they left in Pennsylvania will be the soft underbelly of the Dem electoral map. This might also be true of Michigan. So, I am prepared for some surprises tomorrow night."
-- Palmer Hamilton,
lawyer/lobbyist

"I think we look very good. I don't really think its going to be that close. I think Romney gets into the 308-plus range in the electoral college. I think an overwhelming majority of swing states go red."
-- Matt Simpson,
chairman, Baldwin County Republican Executive Committee

"Early voting down for Obama, about 160,000 in Ohio versus up about 45,000 GOP. Stronger enthusiasm on GOP side as witnessed by crowd size changes: last Friday, Cleveland for Obama, 5,000, Cleveland last Ohio stop last year 80,000. Obama softer among college students, Romney competitive with women, winning independents. Romney ground game much more sophisticated as up until today we were calling door-to-door on lazy Romney voters, electronically tracking targeted voters today. 285 electoral college votes for Romney. If not, Newsweek's cover story of February 2009 will have finally come to pass, 'We are all Socialists Now.'"
-- Marty Connors,
ex-chairman, Alabama Republican Party

"While I hope I am proven wrong, I believe that the power of incumbency will be too strong for Romney to overcome. The residual feeling of 'hope' that Obama symbolized has diminished greatly, but it is not gone away. Romney hasn't quite cleared the hurdle of acceptance and will fall just short. In the end, I believe Obama wins Electoral College (and maybe by a large number with close wins in battleground states), but could actually lose the national popular vote."
-- Armand Dekeyser,
former D.C. lobbyist 

​"I hope it's Romney. It's too close to call. If it's Obama, it will be as result of the news media intentionally withholding news which reflects negatively on Obama."
-- Steve McMillan,
GOP state legislator, Baldwin County

"This is the South. It's about race. It's always about race.

White people will vote against President Obama because he is half African-American, although many will voice other reasons. The blacks will vote for President Obama because his father was an African.

Alabama will vote Republican, re-elect Roy Moore, and continue to self-deport itself from mainstream America.

The country will vote to re-elect President Obama despite his failings because Romney was trapped by the right wing of a party that frightens the middle class and he couldn't run as the moderate he really is.

Romney should be an American hero. He provided real medical care for 98 percent of the citizens of a state (when governor of Massachusetts) at a reasonable cost. No other politician has come close to that kind of political accomplishment.

Paul Ryan will begin his successful run for the Republican nomination in 2016 and another Republican national defeat.

The Alabama football team will beat Oregon in the BCS bowl for another national championship and we will be happy for another year."
-- Larry Hallett,
attorney, Mobile

"Too much information, so a guess. Romney with 300-plus electoral votes. A three percent margin in the polular vote."
-- Les Barnett,
state GOP committeeman

​"I am holding my breath! But I think there are enough independents and unhappy Democrats giving Romney the edge. The unfortunate thing is that the way the winner-take-all system works, the candidates are spending all their time in just a few key battleground states. That needs to change."
-- Jack Edwards,
retired congressman, GOP

"The election favors President Obama in my opinion but I am the first to admit that I am looking through Obama lenses :-). Surprisingly this year I feel things are boiling down to issues of faith more so than they have in the past. Interesting indeed ..."
-- Kim Pettway,
Obama campaign area coordinator

'Give me an O, an H, an I, an O. Let's hope Romney wins Ohio for the fate of the Republic rests on the electoral votes of Ohio. If it is lost, it is due to the bail out of the old Auto Industry by President Obama -- a statement on the role and scope of government in our new normal, more fascist economy. Let's hope not."
-- Trip Pittman,
state senator, Baldwin County

"The economy has been in the doldrums for so long that President Obama has very little wind in his sails. But the steady current of criticism of Romney by the Mainstream Media may raise a tempest in the minds of some independent voters. It could go either way. Based on recent surprise endorsements from previous Obama supporters (i.e., NY Daily News), I’m thinking many independents and some Democrats will change their minds at the last minute and vote Romney. 

Expect a firestorm if Romney does win as Democrats have already been airing some excuses in case their candidate gets swept away: Racism, Voter Suppression, Republican Obstructionism, Fox News, George Bush, Flat Tire, Carthage, Satan (I actually haven’t heard the last three excuses but I’ll bet they’ve been considered)."
​-- Bill Oppenheimer,
President, Enveloc, Inc.

"It feels like Obama re-established a miniscule lead, but it seems like he also only got a tipple tip of a bump from Sandy coverage, the poll showed 1%, which I think is significant. I would have thought the "Presidential" image of being there and hanging out on camera and news clips with the unfortunates would have at least been worth a full tipple. The Colin Powell ads are very strong I think. I also just don't have a good feeling that Romney will get Ohio. But then again, God is on our side!"
-- Mike Druhan,
GOP attorney

​"I expect the President to be re-elected. The polls seem to indicate that. While his lead is certainly within the margin of error, so many polls, almost all, find Obama in the lead in the battleground states, that to me at least eliminates the margin of error. A lot depends of course on who votes, and from all reports Obama seems to have the best get-out-the-vote organization. Unfortunately, every effort is being made by the governors and secretaries of state in Virginia and Florida to make voting difficult for Hispanics and African-Americans, an Obama constituency."
-- Lew Odom,
retired attorney

​"I think tomorrow is going to be a very good day for the Republican Party and for our country. The polls show a very tight race, but I think the polls are vastly underestimating the enthusiasm of the GOP; every Republican I talk to is chomping at the bit to go out and vote tomorrow. I don't sense the same enthusiasm on the Democrat side. So I really think the decisive factor will be enthusiasm, and the GOP has a big advantage in that area."
-- Jeff Peacock,
chairman, Escambia County Republican Party

I think it all comes down to Ohio. If the President wins there, I believe it is over for Mitt."
​-- James H. Anderson
Jackson, Anderson & Patty, P.C., Montgomery

"Despite many respected national polls showing the race 'too close to call' or 'within the margin of error' (showing 49-48 percent etc.), as of 9 a.m. today, my numbers still show Obama as a 3 to 1 favorite to win the election, winning five to seven of the nine swing states, losing only North Carolina and maybe Florida. I have Virginia and Colorado as small odds, edge to Obama that could go either way. Also my odds favor Obama winning the popular vote."
-- Danny Sheridan,
odds maker

"Too close to call!"
-- Bob James,
Baldwin County Commissioner, Republican

​"Our nation is standing at a road of two paths. Voters are looking at what they know and see and looking at going a different way. I can't imagine that they like the current economic and foreign policy chaos our nation is in, so they are searching for conservative candidates. Mitt Romney and team are providing that leadership, vision, and are reminding America to feel good about ourselves again. Contrast this with NO budgets or plans from the Democrats other than a slogan of "Forward", because looking back is a mess, I believe locally, statewide, and nationally the voters are 'hoping' for 'change'. I have called Nov. 6 "Walk on Broken Glass to Vote Day" for months.

History will be made on November 6, 2012. Republicans sweep all Mobile County offices, statewide, and Mitt Romney is sworn in on January 20, 2013.
-- Terry Lathan,
Chair, Mobile County Republican Executive Committee

"There appears to be one factor: Ohio.  
If Romney had backed the auto bailout, he would be president. Crazy times."
-- Lee Hale,
attorney, Mobile

"Romney has the momentum going into Tuesday. Early voting figures in swing states will prove pivotal. More Republicans and fewer Democrats have voted early as compared to four years ago. Advantage Romney. It'll still be close. Don't expect to have an answer before putting your head on your pillow Tuesday night.  

Decisive factors are more general in this race. Is about overall vision and direction for the country. To that end, the level of excitement and motivation among supporters will be key. Democrats just aren't as excited and motivated this time around. Republicans are. Turnout among Republican and Republican leaning voters will be higher. Advantage Romney."
-- Chris Elliott
political consultant, Baldwin County

"It is confusing. I am in touch with GOP pollsters daily. The race is really close. Sandy has hurt Romney's momentum. It is all about turnout now. There will be lawsuits and counter suits in a couple of states. It could be weeks before we know who won."

-- Sage Lyons,
businessman

​"I felt that Romney's momentum peaked about two weeks after the first debate and that Obama would win re-election in a very close race. With the October surprise of a storm named Sandy and a governor named Chris, Obama was given the opportunity to be 'presidential' and Romney was left with stacking boxes of food for storm refugees onto the back of a truck. Obama will win re-election with approximately 300-plus electoral votes and will also eke out a slight win in the popular vote.

Nothing will change in Washington (it won't even if Romney wins). A new party should be formed called the 'American' Party that demands our congressional representatives learn the true art of politics (compromise) or be voted out of office en masse. Maybe the replacement reps will get the message and make some progress."
-- PST,
marketing exec

"The election hinges on the Dems' Get-Out-The-Vote in Pennsylvania and Ohio. You have to have a good GOTV program for the polling numbers to be accurate.  
Whoever wins Ohio will be President."
-- SDNK,
political consultant

"In contrast to four years ago, consider these three distinct groups - 2008 Obama voters, McCain voters and those who stayed home. 

Absent is the emotionally charged groundswell of energy and enthusiasm to make history.

Absent is the media driven star power, celebrity appeal, Greek columns and pixie dust glamour shots.

Present today among 2008 Obama voters is disappointment, discouragement and possibly bits of outrage, fueled by ...........(Fill in the blanks!).

Present today are scores of disenchanted and under-employed Americans, cash- strapped Soccer Moms,
ObamaCare-reluctant, self-employed business owners, evangelicals who believe marriage should still be between a man and a woman, Catholics who practice what they preach and finally moderate Democrats who don't like to see our patriots murdered on American soil in foreign countries.

In my mind, almost no one who voted for McCain in '08 will vote for Obama tomorrow. Yet, some '08 Obama voters will either stay home or quietly cast their vote for a 'do over.' And some of those 'undecideds' or unplugged who were MIA last time will hopefully show up to be counted among those Americans who believe we are on the wrong track.

In 2008, the catalyst was 'Pro-Change,' tomorrow the war cry is 'Anti-Obama.'
-- Trey Oliver,
Warden, Mobile County Metro Jail

"The headline issue is anti-government.

The sub issues are taxes, government control over our lives and the economy. National debt killing jobs and no national immigration policy to protect white jobs.

The underlying subliminal issue, as always, is race. This election: the President's race.

This particularly influences the large number of white males nationwide voting Republican. The Republican Party is a white Christian conservative (because they're white and Christian) monolithic organization. It's why they want to emphasize Barack Obama is a Muslim (false) and not emphasize Mitt Romney is a Mormon. And their number is dwindling. Also, a few Jews, a few blacks."
-- Bob Beckerle,
former chairman, Mobile County Democratic Party

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