Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The 3 Strategies for a Romney Win

The 2012 Presidential Election is exactly 2 weeks away. I'm pretty excited. At this point, I feel confident narrowing in on Romney's victory paths. I define a victory path as a set of swing states that provide just enough electoral votes to win.

As of this moment, I am assuming the following swing state rankings in terms of the likelihood of a Romney win (greatest to smallest): North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. While each state is a separate election, they tend to follow similar shifting patterns and loosely follow this ordering. That means, for example, that it is highly unlikely that Romney would win Pennsylvania and lose Florida. So, this allows me to make a couple safe assumptions:
  1. Romney will not win without North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia (all of which have been leaning slightly to Romney anyway).
  2. If Romney wins Pennsylvania or Michigan, he will have most likely already achieved a minimum path to victory with the more probable states, making both PA and MI ultimately unnecessary.
This leads me to conclude that a Romney win will be decided by a combination of the results of the 6 most center swing states: CO, NH, OH, IA, WI, and NV. With these 6 battlegrounds, Romney has 3 key strategies: (1) Ohio+1, (2) Wisconsin+2, and (3) Sweep the West (aka the "Mormon Miracle" because of high LDS populations in NV and CO). Each of Romney's possible victory paths, categorized by these 3 strategies, are show below:

At this point, I am predicting if Romney wins it will either be by winning OH + CO or by winning WI + CO + NH. Although, I'd love to see the West Sweep happen just because an electoral tie would be super exciting for an election junkie like me. For viewing convenience, I show these three scenarios below (images created with 270towin.com)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mitt Romney's Religion

Mitt Romney is a Mormon. In fact, he's the first Mormon to be nominated for President representing one of the major political parties. His campaign has spurred a lot of media attention on Mormonism, leading many people to wonder what exactly makes it different from the rest of Christianity. I, too, am a Mormon, and am always willing to answer people's questions about my beliefs with my Twitter handle (@jason_allred).

The main thing that makes Mormonism different than other Christian churches is our belief in a Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When Jesus lived on Earth, he suffered and died for our sins and was resurrected, overcoming sin and death for our sake. In order to help people follow His teachings and be saved, He established a Church, calling 12 Apostles to guide the people after His ascension.

However, eventually, people fell away from the truth, as prophesied, and killed the Prophets and Apostles. Without authorized leadership for the Church, teachings and ordinances were distorted, lost, or corrupted. This is why there are so many churches today teaching different doctrines while professing to believe in the same gospel.

Because God loves us, he once again called Prophets and Apostles to restore Christ's original church. The first of these prophets was Joseph Smith, who received a personal visit from God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who called him to re-establish Christ's church on the earth. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons) is that church and is led by a living prophet and 12 living prophets.

If you want to learn more about Mitt Romney's religion, now is your chance. The Prophet and the 12 Apostles of the Church will be addressing the world in a special conference this weekend. You can watch it online at gc.lds.org.

There are 4 major sessions at the following times:
  1. Saturday (10/6) from 10am to noon MST
  2. Saturday (10/6) from 2pm to 4pm MST
  3. Sunday (10/7) from 10am to noon MST
  4. Sunday (10/7) from 2pm to 4pm MST

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Predict an Electoral College Tie. Here's Why:

First, We've got to Cover our Bases
In order to have a majority in the electoral college, a presidential candidate must win 270 electoral votes. Every Electoral College prediction begins with a base for each candidate, the solid reds (R) and the solid blues (D). These are AL, AK, AR, ID, KS, LA, MS, NE, OK, UT, WV, and WY (76 total votes) for Romney and CA, DE, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NY, RI, and VT (142 total votes) for Obama. Now we add the likely states onto these--those that aren't quite 100% guaranteed but have very little change of changing colors. These are AZ, GA, IN, MO, MT, ND, SC, SD, TN, and TX (115 total) for Romney and CT, ME, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NY, OR, and WA (75 total) for Obama. In addition, there is the chance that Obama could get one of Nebraska's electoral votes from its second congressional district because Nebraska likes to be special and has its own rules. Obama pulled this off in 2008 and won a single vote from Nebraska. However, since then, the Republican-controlled legislature has done some gerrymandering and redrew district lines to decrease Obama's chances there. So, for now, we'll leave that one vote with Romney. This starts us off with the following score:
Score: Romney (191), Obama (217), Remaining (112)

The Democrats' Plan
No Republican has won Pennsylvania (20) or Wisconsin (10) since the 80s, and while they did look like potential battleground states a few months ago, most major news groups have put them back in Obama's column. Democrats are also assuming that Nevada (6) is in the bag. They won the state by 12.5% in 2008 and major polls from this month show Obama leading by an average of 4.2%. In fact, Romney has only led Obama in 1 out of the 20 major polls conducted this year, and that poll was in April. So with NV, PA, and WI under the belt, Obama's campaign knows that there is one state leaning blue with enough electoral votes to secure them victory: Ohio (18). If he wins Ohio, Obama can afford to lose Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire and still be reelected. So my prediction centers on the fact that the Obama campaign will spend a significant portion of its time resources solely in Ohio, while reducing ad spending and campaign visits in North Carolina and Nevada. Sure they'll continue campaigning in the other swing states just in case they lose Ohio, providing themselves a safety buffer, but my guess is that Ohio will receive a disproportionally larger investment.
ScoreRomney (191)Obama (271)Remaining (76)

Why Romney will do Better than Expected
In light of recent polling, many projections currently show Obama winning almost every swing state, severely diminishing Romney's chances. However, there are two key factors why Romney is being underestimated:

  1. Skewed Polls. Many people are starting to point out that major polling companies are actually over-sampling Democrats, causing polls to be skewed in Obama's favor. After correcting for these skews, a majority of polls actually show that Romney has a significant lead (e.g. unskewedpolls.com).
  2. The Presidential Debates. While President Obama is an eloquent speaker, he is a little unprepared to answer the tough questions because the media hasn't been.
My guess is that the debates will help Romney recapture some of his recent losses and secure North Carolina (15), Florida (29), and Virginia (13), three large prizes that Romney has polled well in over the last few months, as well as Iowa (6), where Romney had, until recently, been gaining momentum. Even if polls don't show Romney quite overtaking Obama in these four states before the November election, I think it will be due to the over-sampling of Democrats that I mentioned, and because actual elections aren't subject to this kind of polling error, Romney will be awarded the combined 63 electoral votes from these states.
ScoreRomney (254)Obama (271)Remaining (13)

Last Minute (or "Last Week") Reaction from Obama's Team
Despite doing so well in the polls, the Obama team doesn't want to take any chances. After Obama does poorly in the debates and the Romney campaign regains their footing in key swing states, they'll begin to reconsider other options to victory, just in case Ohio, too, slips out of their hands. Ohio has 18 electoral votes, and if he loses them in addition to the three large prizes of NC, FL, and VA, Obama will need to secure at least 17 more votes to win, which means he'll turn to New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado, which have a combined total of 19 electoral votes. During the last few weeks, Obama will focus on these three small states, blasting them with ads. His efforts will be enough to secure New Hampshire (4) (which he probably wouldn't have lost anyway), but will fall just short in Iowa, which will stay with Romney. In spite of all this, however, I believe that Obama will win Ohio anyway because of his concentrated efforts.
ScoreRomney (254)Obama (275)Remaining (9)

What Obama isn't Counting On
You'll notice that the only state I haven't assigned yet is Colorado with its 9 votes. As of now, Colorado is polling in Obama's favor. I believe, however, that this is largely due to the over-sampling factor and that more accurate polling would show a close tie in Colorado as of now. My prediction is that Obama's last minute efforts in Colorado will cancel out Romney's post-debate momentum, ending up at about a tie again. However, there is one factor that Obama hasn't been counting on that I believe will just barely tilt Colorado (9) to Romney. This same factor will also surprisingly provide an upset in Nevada (6), pulling it red by just enough to flip sides. I'm talking about Mormons.
Final ScoreRomney (269)Obama (269)Remaining (0)

Map Generated at 270toWin.com
Why Mormons Matter
Why do Mormons matter? Statistics. First of all, 6.5% of Nevada's population are Latter-day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons"). Colorado is 2.8% Mormon. Most, but not all, Mormons tend to vote Republican. But, wait, you say, doesn't polling information already take this into account? I mean, Mormons are included in the polls, too, right? True. However, what isn't included in the polls is that fact that according to a Gallup study (here), Mormons are significantly more likely to vote than non-Mormons. In fact, in 2008 they found that while Mormons made up only 10% of the number of Republicans in the Nevada, they made up 26% of the voters in the state GOP caucus. I believe that the Mormon vote will be just enough to push both Nevada and Colorado into Romney's column, leaving us with an tie! (Quick disclaimer: while a vast majority of Mormons vote Republican, there are many who do not. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon and a high-ranking Democrat. I myself am Mormon and a Republican, but my religion does not dictate my political affiliation. Our church is politically neutral.)

So, What Does a Tie Mean? Who Wins?
In order to win the presidency, a candidate must secure a majority of the electoral votes. If no candidate receives a majority, then the decision actually goes to the House of Representatives, and the Senate picks the Vice President. This has happened twice before in 1800 and 1824, but it hasn't ever happened with the modern 2-party system. If this were to happen, the Republican-controlled House would vote for president, each representative being able to vote for one of the top 3 winners according to the popular vote, which actually means that Gary Johnson could have his day in the spotlight. My prediction is that a tie will result in a lot of controversy, but ultimately will end with Romney being selected as our 45th President. That's my prediction*, take it or leave it.

*Subject to change anytime I want it too.

Jason Allred

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's the deal with the Birth Control Debate?

I don't think some people understand the purpose of insurance.

Car Insurance Example:

Why do we have car insurance? Because when driving a car, there is the risk of occasional, rare, unexpected high costs. With car insurance, everyone pays a little bit and in return receives the assurance that if an accident happens, it will get taken care of.

Now imagine if car insurance companies started paying for expected, regularly occurring costs, like your gas.  What would be the point in that? You would be giving money to the insurance company just so that they could turn around and give it back. But that's not the only problem. FIRST of all, there is the added overhead costs in running the company. No matter how efficient the company is, they could never return the same amount back to the people that they received from them. SECOND, because the insurance company pays for everyone's gas, there would be no incentive to reduce gas consumption. No would would bother taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking with the goal of reducing the amount of money they spend on gas, because the insurance pays for it. On top of that, people would always use the most expensive, premium gas.  The results would be an increase in overall gas consumption and cost, causing the insurance company to continue increasing the cost of insurance premiums. THIRD, the system would be inherently unfair because everyone would pay the same amount regardless of how much gas they use.

Now take the example one step further. Imagine if car insurance companies paid for your car? What would happen? Well, once again, the inefficiency of the system would cause everyone to get less quality for their money. But on top of that, everyone would want to drive the most expensive cars. And if the insurance company is paying for everyone to have Ferraris, the cost of insurance would skyrocket! In addition, people wouldn't take good care of their cars, knowing that they can always get a new one for free from the insurance company. However, the people would start to complain that their insurance costs are too high. So, in order to keep costs down, car insurance companies would start placing restrictions on what cars you can buy and how often you can get a new one and the quality of gas you can put in the car. Suddenly, there goes everyone's freedom because their choices are being limited by the organization that is in charge of providing those products and services to them.

Health Insurance Reality:

OK, I hope everyone sees the problem with having insurance companies pay for regularly occurring, expected costs. But that is exactly what half of America wants to have happen with Health Insurance!!! Obamacare causes health insurance companies to pay for regularly occurring, expected health costs, which will only result in larger health care costs for everyone, lower quality, and a restriction in our freedom of health care choices.

Take the recent birth control debates for example. Liberals want insurance companies to have to pay for everyone to have "free" birth control. On top of all the other problems we've already talked about, the HHS mandate (the birth control mandate) requires religious institutions to provide birth control coverage in the insurance they provide for employees. However, using birth control is against the teaching of the Catholic Church. In spite of that, Obamacare forces these Catholic institutions to pay for birth control for their employees, in direct violation of their religion beliefs. We conservative Republicans don't want the government involved. If you want to use birth control, no one is stopping you, but why force other people to pay for your "free" birth control, especially when it is against their beliefs?

Obama, on the other hand, wants you to think that conservatives are trying to take away a woman's right to use birth control and do what she wants with her own body. Democrats call it the "war on women." However, our war isn't against women. We cherish and respect womanhood. Our war is against these socialist tactics that simply don't work, that drive up costs, lower quality, and limit our freedom. Our war is against legislation that violates first amendment free exercise of religious rights. They call it our "war on women." However, what is really happening is a "war on free market" and a "war on religion."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Complete Set of Romney's Minimum Paths to Victory

The Electoral College has always intrigued me.  Being the election junkie that I am, I've compiled a complete list of Romney's minimum paths to victory (considering the 8 most competitive swing states). Enjoy!
Romney's Paths 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mitt Romney's Taxes - I've figured them out!

There's been a lot of hype about Mitt Romney's taxes lately. The presumptive Republican nominee has released only 2 years of his tax returns, making some people think he's hiding something. We've all been trying to figure out what could possibly be in his tax returns that he doesn't want people to see. Walking home from work today, it hit me. If I were rich and had been planning on running for president for 5-6 years or more, I would have seen these types of attacks coming and therefore used them to my advantage. Here's what I would have done if I were in Romney's shoes:

For these three years or so, I would spend my money in the most selfless manner. Each year, my spending would be something like this:
  • 40% -> Taxes (or whatever is my "fair share")
  • 10% -> Tithing to my Church (like Romney, I'm a Mormon)
  • 10% -> Donate to find a cure for Cancer and to fight AIDS
  • 10% -> Provide free work training programs for the unemployed
  • 10% -> Create scholarship funds for needy students
  • 10% -> Give start-up funds to new small business owners
  • 10% -> And with this last part of my personal money, I would place it towards paying down the national debt.
2010 & 2011:
For the last two years before the election, I would begin off-shoring my investments to places like the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts. That way, as soon as I release just these two years, my opponents would go crazy, calling me snobbish, tax-evasive, and un-American. Then I would keep the previous years secret as a secret weapon.

About 1 Month before the election:
Right before the election, after months and months of pressure from the media and the public, I would finally and "reluctantly" unleash my secret weapon and show the whole world what a good guy I am. On top of that, everyone would see how wrong my opponent had been for all of those negative attack ads. It would work very much to my advantage at just the right moment.

You may think this idea is far-fetched, but think about how much sense it makes. I mean, really, if you knew you'd be running for president 5-6 years down the road, wouldn't you realize that people will want to see your tax returns? If you had had this same idea, wouldn't it have seemed appealing to you? What do you think?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination (3 December 2011 update)

A new update from Jason on the Republican Presidential Nomination:

The You-Lost-Your-Chance Candidates:

- CAIN just dropped out today amid sexual harassment and extra-marital affair allegations. His supporters have seemed to be flocking behind Newt Gingrich. Lesson to be learned: If you are married, don't even have "friendships" that your spouse isn't aware of.

- PERRY hasn't been able to regain ground since his poor debate performances. He seems to have brain lapses quite frequently which make him appear less competent to the public.

The Wildcards:

- SANTORUM: Still my personal favorite. One of my biggest pet peeves with elections is that people think that in order for their vote to count, they need to vote for one of the top two candidates. The problem is that everyone is doing that. I think that both Santorum and Bachman could have support to be the top candidate if people weren't placing their support behind other candidates thinking that there's no way Santorum or Bachman could win.

- BACHMAN: I like her almost as much as Santorum. Currently, she's got a little more support than he does, but hasn't gotten back up to the level she was at before Perry entered the race.

- PAUL: The Libertarian. Ron Paul could really shake things up. We really don't know how much support he really has. He gets a lot of support from younger Republicans (the internet generation). So he wins most online polls, but does poorly in phone surveys (since a lot of younger people these days don't have landline phones). If Santorum and Bachman drop out, I think Paul or Romney will be my choice.

The new "Top Two" Candidates:

- GINGRICH: It seems that the anybody-but-Romney crowd is now supporting their third candidate (after losing faith in first Perry and then Cain). Gingrich has done very well in the debates. I like his attitude of focusing on substance rather than spending time attacking the other candidates.

- ROMNEY: If it comes down to Romney and Gingrich, I'd go Romney all the way. Gingrich just doesn't have a good track record for personal values that I think a President needs to have. The problem with both Romney and Gingrich is that they are too afraid to lose the moderate vote, so they are wary of backing the small-government ideas promoted by the Wildcard candidates. They both also have some flip-flopping in their political history.