Predicting the 2012 election is no simple matter, and requires more than just polling statistics. The two major party candidates are effectively defining two distinct paths for the United States.  One would place the fate of the populous in the hands of Government led and sponsored initiatives, deemed to be of highest value and national interest (think Greek Debt here), while the other will return and reinforce a focus on individual freedom,  innovation, and development. Clearly, there are proponents at each end of the spectrum, but recent surveys demonstrate that up to a quarter of all potential voters remain undecided.

Estimates of the electoral college breakdown are mapped out accross many news sources, with varied results. Electoral-Vote.com’s map demonstrates a clear edge for Obama as of August 5th, to the point where one would question if Romney is to far behind to even hope to catch up. Taking a look at RealClearPolitics.com, and a completely different picture is drawn. In our perspective, a more accurate depiction which holds to the notion of a yet undecided voter who’s influence will be paramount in the current cycle.  All the maps put together must account for those who are uncertain of their voting decision, otherwise, the will not account for the swing / risk posed to both candidates. This could be a landslide, or a nail-biter.  Until that 25% figure drops, there is no confidence that can be given to key states such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, or Wisconsin.

In addition to discounting the undecided vote, some of the major prediction sites deliberately select a subset of pollsters to use for source data.  As Electoral-Vote.com states their strategy, “… only neutral pollsters are used.” Can this be taken as a red flag? Further to the point, they have an entire section of the site dedicated to denouncing a particular polling agency that has drawn presidential, and congressional results that have typically favored Republican candidates.  They call it their “Rasmussen-free maps.”

Obama rode a wave of popularity and celebrity into office, and this tact may again be leveraged to draw voters to the polls.  Who doesn’t want to vote for a winner? My colleagues at University suggested their vote for Clinton was because they knew he would win.  Why were there so many Chicago Bulls fans during the Jordan reign? Or even Laker fans now during Kobe’s era?  A clear attempt to make perception reality when it comes to the 2012 election statistics. In all, the key factor that remains unaccounted for is the significant set of undecided voters, and their acceptance of the two visions for the nation.

In our view, the electoral college is just too close to call.