May 24, 2013
Jun 13 - Craig and Deb Bensen
The short answer to the question “Who’s going to win in November?” is “There’s only one vote that counts in this election, and right now the Economy is voting for Romney.”
Shifts in Mr. Obama’s base
Mr. Obama won in 2008 by having the strong support of key base groups like women, union members, Millennials, etc. Recent polls and events suggest that his support is eroding in these groups.
Early surveys suggest that Millennials may not turn out to vote in anywhere near the numbers they did in 2008. Discouragement over the lack of real change, disillusionment with the political process, the pressures of just making a living in a recession are all cited as reasons. And re-electing America’s first black president doesn’t carry the same sense of history as we had in 2008. Those who do turn out will more likely be looking for a pro-life leader. According to The Washington Post, the National Abortion Rights Action League’s own 2010 survey of 700 Millennials showed 51 percent of pro-life voters under 30 consider abortion “very important” in elections, compared to only 26 percent of their peers who support abortion. 
Mr. Obama’s “coming out” for same sex marriage is also eroding his base. According to Gallup, the President’s endorsement of same-sex “marriage” is a costly one—especially among Independent voters. Forty percent of adults say his position will affect their votes—and not the way Democrats had hoped. Of the 40%, 26% of adults said they would be less likely to vote for Obama. What hurts more, from a campaign standpoint, is the number of Independents the President stands to lose from his “evolution.” Twenty-three percent were instantly turned off by his new position and said they would be less likely to vote for him in November. Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones sees this agenda as a “net minus” for Obama. 
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee and the major labor unions are reeling from a stunning loss in Wisconsin on June 5th. Attempts to recall GOP Gov. Scott Walker for standing up to the unions failed despite a tremendous influx of Democratic resources from outside the state. The repudiation of the unions by the voters is seen as a mandate for more fiscal conservatism in the public sector. In addition, Wisconsin has moved from a “WIN” for Mr. Obama in November to “CONTESTED” status with a freshly organized and victorious state GOP party on the rise. Even more troubling for Mr. Obama, Reince Priebus, the man who built the new GOP in Wisconsin, has been running the Republican National Committee for the past two years.
Challenges for Mr. Romney
Mr. Romney needs to broaden his support among women, blacks, Hispanics and evangelicals. Romney’s challenge with women is hinged to his pro-life position; Mr. Obama’s “Attack on Religious Freedom”, forcing faith groups to pay for abortions, will likely work to Romney’s advantage with women voters.
Black voters moving towards Romney are citing social concerns—the marriage issue, abortion conscience issues—plus the unemployment rate. Black voters, like the Millennials, will be voting in lesser numbers this time; history is not on the table and Mr. Obama hasn’t delivered on “change”.
Hispanic voters are generally divided on immigration issues, attracted by Romney’s support of marriage, concerned about government attacks on the Roman Catholic institutions over abortion policy and very interested in the economy. This translates to more votes for Romney who is not beating the immigration drum too loudly.
Of clear concern to the Romney campaign is how the “Mormon issue” plays out among the GOP’s evangelical base. One reason that the GOP Primary tended to look like a search for the “un-Romney” candidate was that the evangelicals were put off by Romney being a Mormon. As Rick Santorum demonstrated, evangelical voters will choose a Roman Catholic candidate before a Mormon one. Despite a decade of common cause support fighting same sex marriage together, many evangelicals consider the Church of Latter Day Saints to be cultic in a way that makes them uncomfortable with Romney. Mr. Obama will help most of them get over their discomfort by November. The rest will vote third party or sit out the election.
Third Party Scenario
Political strategists are keeping a wary eye on Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. He’s running for President on the Libertarian Party ticket. He has the potential to win in New Mexico as well as run strong in Arizona, Nevada and Idaho - western rural states with strong Ron Paul and Tea Party groups.
Removing the electoral votes of just New Mexico from the tally of either major candidate might prevent a clean majority win in the electoral college. This would throw the selection of the President to the U.S. House and the selection of the Vice President to the U.S. Senate. Given the current mix of Congress, Gary Johnson winning New Mexico could result in USA President Romney and Vice President Biden for the next four years!
The Romney team continues to vet potential Vice-Presidential running mates - this is a top secret operation. Secrecy doesn’t exist in the blogosphere where names frequently mentioned include:
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann
House Speaker Newt Gingrich from Georgia
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Utah Gov., Ambassador Jon Huntsman
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Romney’s pick has to keep the social conservative base “energized”. Palin did this for McCain in 2008. Santorum, Rubio or Perry might do it for Romney in 2012. Expect an announcement in August timed to build momentum going into the Convention.
Two grassroots trends are emerging to trouble the centrists of the GOP. The first is that the Ron Paul folks are not “going gently into that good night”. In Maine and Minnesota, the Paul folks took over the State GOP Conventions by using the local caucus process to get their people chosen as delegates. Once at the State convention, the Paul group elected their people to go to the National Convention in Tampa. This increases the risk that Romney might not get a “first ballot” win in Tampa.
The second trend, a continuance from 2011, is the removal of incumbents or the displacement of centrist GOP candidates by Tea Party candidates. This led to the end of Sen. Richard Lugar’s career in Indiana on May 9th. In Nevada, conservative State Senator Deb Fischer has won the GOP Primary for the US Senate by beating two centrists on May 15th. This trend is worrisome to the centrists of both major parties.
PRAYING THE DECISION POINTS
Working on the belief that God will be looking for our prayers to release His plans during this election season, we may offer these prayers:
1) That God’s choice(s) would have volunteers, funding and favor in full supply to accomplish their calling in this season.
2) That the Light of Truth will shine where it needs to shine revealing the good, the bad and the ugly about the candidates, the political parties and the process.
3) That leaders and opinion influencers would make godly decisions about who they will be endorsing.
4) That the plans, schemes, “dirty tricks”, etc., of those seeking to manipulate the elections would be exposed and/or fall prey to the Law of Unintended Consequences (what is meant for a curse becomes a blessing).
5) That God’s people would purpose to vote in this season and would vote informed by facts, prayer and the Holy Spirit.
6) That citizen support for strong family values would be a major message perceived and reported by the media during this season.
7) That this election season would be characterized by the quality of the ideas and solutions debated, not by the false hopes and promises of past elections.
8) That our citizenry would be more and better informed, resolute in choosing candidates of substance; that we would demand a new era of Americans working together to solve our problems and to move into our future; that we would vote for those who share our vision.