With Election Day approaching, it seems as good a time as any to roll out some predictions.
Let’s start with the presidential race. The one thing I can say without any doubt is Republican Mitt Romney will defeat President Barack Obama in Arkansas by a hefty margin. Obama lost Arkansas in 2008 by almost 20 points. The margin could be wider this year. Polls show Romney leading the Democratic incumbent by as much as 27 points. The Natural State will cast its six electoral votes for Romney.
Which candidate will win the White House is more difficult to predict. Romney has led by a few points in most of the recent national polls, but because of the way the Electoral College map works, the race will come down to few swing states, or maybe only one.
Whoever wins Ohio will likely be the next president of the United States. No one has won the presidency without winning Ohio since John Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. The polls there show an extremely tight race with Obama slightly ahead. But deeper down in these polls Romney has a sizable advantage among independent voters, which seems to me will be difficult for Obama to overcome.
My guess is Romney wins in a close one.
Back in Arkansas, Republicans are positioned to win in all four congressional districts for the first time in modern history. The three Republican incumbents have all done a good job and will be rewarded with re-election. The 4th District’s incumbent, Rep. Mike Ross, a Democrat, is not running. Republican Tom Cotton is on his way to victory as one the rising stars in the party.
But perhaps more amazingly, the Democrats, who dominated Arkansas politics until a few years ago, failed to nominate any credible candidates to oppose them.
Of course, politicos are watching to see if Republicans will gain a majority of seats in one or both chambers of the Legislature. Currently Republicans hold 46 seats in the 100-member House and 15 of the 35 seats in the Senate. All legislative seats are up for election this year.
It likely will be the year Republicans prevail. Republicans are hopeful of ending up with sizable majorities in both chambers. It is conceivable that the GOP could end up with as many as 60 House seats and up to 20 seats in the Senate.
Democrats have been fighting a Republican tide for some time. To their credit, Arkansas has remained in Democratic control much longer than most other Southern states, due largely to strong personalities within the party, including former President Bill Clinton.
While Democrats hope to avert a Republican takeover largely on the popularity of Gov. Mike Beebe, it likely will be the year Republicans paint the Arkansas political landscape red.
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Jason Tolbert is an accountant and conservative political blogger. His blog — The Tolbert Report — is linked at ArkansasNews.com. His e-mail is jason@TolbertReport.com