Why the presidential election won't be Mitt's moment

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US President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Romney take the stage prior to the first presidential debate in...
US President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney take the stage prior to the first presidential debate Photo:

We're at the finishing line. So let's make some predictions. But first some observations.

I've watched Romney closely for two years. I've been to a dozen of his rallies, through the primaries and into the presidential race, from frozen New Hampshire to breezy Ohio.

And here's the truth: He's a good man and a terrible candidate.

If you are in trouble and needed help, Mitt is your man.

Obama's crude attempt to portray Romney as a greedy Wall Street type who would happily sacrifice a workforce for an extra buck never quite worked.

It deservedly fell apart after the first presidential debate.

US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attends a campaign rally in Morrisville, Pennsylvania
US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attends a campaign rally in Morrisville, Pennsylvania Credit: Reuters

But Romney had two issues from which he could not recover: an empathy problem and a political problem.

Mitt just couldn't identify with those Americans who had been left behind through economic dislocation or just bad luck.

He repeatedly stumbled over this in interviews and in that infamous "47%" secretly-recorded video.

His political problem was unavoidable. He tacked so hard to the right to win the Republican nomination it ceded the centre ground to Barack Obama when it came to the presidential race.

So you've probably realised I don't think Tuesday night will be Mitt's moment. His six-year quest for the White House is about to end.

If I had to predict, Romney will win Florida narrowly and North Carolina by a healthier margin. Virginia and Colorado could go either way - for the sake of a competitive race, lets give them to Romney as well.

President Obama seen campaigning in Florida
President Obama seen campaigning in Florida Credit: Reuters

But - and the presidency rides on this caveat - Obama is going to hold on to the MidWest.

I believe he will win Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin. Obama also takes Nevada and New Hampshire. Pennsylvania and Michigan of course stay in the President's column.

So after all of the sound and fury, after the six billion dollar campaign, nothing changes.

The President stays in the White House. Democrats hold the Senate; the Republicans maintain their control of the House.

As various political characters tweeted over the weekend, perhaps the Egyptian Coptic Church has the better electoral system: get a blindfolded child to pluck a name from a hat.

Did it really take this long and cost this much to decide that President Obama - flawed, compromised, disappointing - still deserved a second term?

For political anoraks, I'm adding here the latest polls in the battleground states.

  • Colorado: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (YouGov)
  • Colorado: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • Florida: Romney 49%, Obama 47% (Zogby)
  • Florida: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (YouGov)
  • Florida: Obama 46%, Romney 46% (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • Iowa: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (YouGov)
  • Iowa: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Public Policy Polling)
  • Michigan: Romney 47%, Obama 46% (Foster McCollum)
  • Michigan: Obama 51%, Romney 44% (YouGov)
  • Nevada: Obama 49%, Romney 45% (YouGov)
  • New Hampshire: Obama 47%, Romney 43% (YouGov)
  • New Hampshire: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Public Policy Polling)
  • New Hampshire: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (New England College)
  • North Carolina: Romney 49%, Obama 47% (YouGov)
  • Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 42% (Zogby)
  • Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (YouGov)
  • Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 44% (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • Ohio: Obama 52%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)
  • Pennsylvania: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Susquehanna)
  • Pennsylvania: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Morning Call)
  • Pennsylvania: Obama 52%, Romney 44% (YouGov)
  • Virginia: Obama 50%, Romney 44% (Zogby)
  • Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 46% (YouGov)
  • Virginia: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (Reuters/Ipsos)
  • Wisconsin: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (YouGov)

Let me know if you disagree with my prediction. And enjoy the theatre on Tuesday night.

Make sure you watch it unfold on ITV, where we will be partnering with our US partners NBC News.