Millions of people who voted for Obama in 2008, did it so they could seize the opportunity to vote for the first black president. Some did it to prove to themselves (and others) that they weren't racist. Some were just caught up in the positive movement of the 2008 campaign, while others were voting against former President Bush and the Iraq War.
The political landscape is completely different today. While candidate Obama made people feel good about themselves, President Obama is deeply polarizing… and a little disappointing. Most of the polls this season have assumed a voter turnout similar to 2008, when Democrat enthusiasm was at its peak (yet still show a Romney lead). But the strong Republican showing in the 2010 mid-terms might be a better indication of how things stand today (giving Romney an incredible advantage).
I think millions of people who voted for Obama in 2008 will not vote for him this year. The novelty is gone. Some will sit out, some will vote Republican, and some will vote for a third party.
I also think a lot of folks will claim they voted for Obama again, even though they didn't. They feel pressured to be labeled an Obama-voter but they don't have any enthusiasm to actually vote. This will cause problems because exit polls and opinion polls may show an Obama victory that won't actually be happening. This is where the lawyers will pounce.
Voter turnout for Republicans will be higher than four years ago (but similar to 2010) while Democrat turnout will be much lower than 2008. Independents will go to Romney by a 20-point margin. Polling of early voters already shows this.
Romney will win the popular vote by more than 5 points.
Romney surprisingly wins the electoral vote by taking several of the swing states, including Ohio.
Of supposedly Democrat-leaning states like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, Romney takes at least three, maybe four or more.
Because of the surprise victories in the swing states, Obama unleashes a well-organized legal assault calling for recounts in the close races. At least one state's results get reversed from Romney to Obama a day or two after the election but the lawyers lose steam.
Romney is finally declared the winner but Democrats decry his victory as stolen and illegitimate. More specifically, his "questionable" victory takes away any mandate to reverse Obamacare and any attempt to do so will be met by cries of a stolen election and, surprise, more partisanship.
Chris Matthews and other liberals will be flabbergasted. They don't know a single person in their life that voted for Romney and can't imagine how this happened.
- The Republicans keep the House, solidly.
- The Republicans take the Senate, 52-48.
- Obamacare is undone.
- The Bush Tax cuts are made permanent.
- Three Supreme Court justices get replaced by conservatives that will eventually act like liberals.
- Absolutely nothing changes with abortion laws in this country.