Repeat of 2000 beginning to take shape

As I look at the myriad polls out there handicapping the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney race for the White House, I am beginning to ponder what I thought once was impossible.

An electoral vote/popular vote disparity. One of these guys is going to get more popular votes but will lose the contest in the Electoral College. Shades of the 2000 election and Bush v. Gore anyone?

Romney’s lead in the average of polls is less than 1 percent nationally, which is still within any reasonable statistical margin of error; these margins usually run in the plus-or-minus 3 percent range. That means the race is a dead heat.

But if the contest finishes the way the RCP poll averages suggest, then Romney will win the popular vote.

As most Americans understand, though, presidential races are decided by the Electoral College. Candidates win the states’ electoral votes if they win states’ popular vote. Texas is certain to swing its 38 electoral votes to Romney, so that’s not even a topic of discussion.

Those same polls are continuing to show the president’s lead in critical swing states holding up. Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, Wisconsin and Iowa still lean toward Obama, with Romney leading in North Carolina and Florida – depending on the poll.

By my calculation, I figure Obama is going to win with something like 294 to 303 electoral votes, mainly by holding on to most of those swing states. Romney’s route to the 270 electoral votes needed to win remains quite steep. As the pundits keep saying, he has to thread that needle perfectly and win a huge majority of swing states in play.

How will Obama pull this thing out? Well, I figure the more lunacy is uttered by Romney supporter Donald Trump the better it is for the president. Trump’s latest idiotic statements about giving Obama $5 million if he produces his college transcripts and travel documentation simply is the stuff of a certifiable loon.

And yet the guy keeps getting publicity – such as right here in this blog.

Shame on me? Hardly. I’m glad to bring this baloney to people’s attention.

I had hoped the election would end cleanly, with one guy – preferably the president – winning it without any disparity between the electoral and popular votes. I retain a glimmer of hope that will happen.

That glimmer is starting to flicker. It’s looking like Americans are in for a long night Nov. 6.

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