According to an interesting piece put out by the American Enterprise Institute, as it analyzes another piece by Michael Barone, an interesting trend has developed over the past several election cycles. It used to be that presidential elections returns and House votes were divergent.
In addition, the percentages for the two parties in the popular vote for the House in the last three off-year elections have been almost exactly the same as the percentages for the parties in the vote for president two years later.
In 1998, the popular vote for the House was 49 percent to 48 percent Republican. In 2000, the popular vote for president was 48 percent to 48 percent Democratic.
In 2002, the popular vote for the House was 51 percent to 46 percent Republican. In 2004, the popular vote for president was 51 percent to 48 percent Republican.
In 2006, the popular vote for the House was 53 percent to 45 percent Democratic. In 2008, the popular vote for president was 53 percent to 46 percent Democratic.
What this trend shows is that Barack Obama is in serious trouble. The Gallup poll, among others, is reflecting this same trajectory. AEI goes on to say:
While I agree that such an outcome has seemed unlikely, recent polling suggests it’s not outside the realm of possibility. Gallup’s likely voter track has had Romney at or above 50% for three days in a row now (In fact, he’s been trending upwards each of those days, and sits at 52% today). The president, meanwhile, has hovered at about 46%—exactly what Barone’s theory would predict.
That leaves about 4% undecided. We know that about 1% will vote 3rd party, and that—historically speaking—2/3 of the remainder will break for Romney. If that happens, we’ll see Romney take 52% and Obama capture 47%, with about 1% for 3rd party candidates.
That would be a 12-point swing, which would produce about the map published above. Again, individual states may differ, but if Gallup’s numbers are right, we can expect to see Romney capture 300 electoral votes—or more.