Mitt Romney is going to win the election. Granted, that is the outcome I want. But this prediction is based on empirical and anecdotal data. When one looks that data, one can see that any other outcome is very unlikely.
The List (which is my own...not copied).
1. No President has been re-elected with unemployment at this level. In fact, no President has been re-elected with unemployment above 7.3%. Reagan had the highest unemployment of any reelected President, and that was down from double digits by the time he was up for re-election.
2. The President's approval rating is in the low forties. Anything less than 49% spells trouble, historically speaking.
3. A University of Colorado study, which has predicted the winner of every Presidential election since 1980, shows Romney winning. The study analyzes state-by-state unemployment and other data. The same study shows Romney winning 10/10 swing states.
4. A recently released study by The Hill (likely voters) shows that only 40% believe Obama deserves a second term. 52% say he does not.
5. Right Track/Wrong Track numbers are staggering. Between 65-75% of people believe the country is on the wrong track.
6. Obama's personal favorability has dropped 7 points since April.
7. Obama's numbers are upside down with Independents.
8. Obama is now losing the female vote. Earlier this year, he had a 12 point lead. He's now down 46-50. That's a swing of 20 points.
9. The number of Americans that identify as Republicans is at a record high, according to Rasmussen.
10. GDP growth is ominous for the President's chances.
11. States that helped propel Obama to the Presidency are now virtually gone for Democrats. Virginia and North Carolina come to mind. Additionally, the blue state of Wisconsin is now likely to fall to Romney due to Paul Ryan being on the ticket. While they publicly express confidence, Democrats know that Florida is likely also gone, with Michigan not far behind. Their chances are Ohio and PA...and PA is the best of those.
12. John McCain was a weak nominee who saw a lot of fiscal and social conservatives stay home. This is not the case.
13. This election does not take place in the midst of a massive financial crises, nor the waning days of an unpopular Bush administration.
14. Obama has objectively broken several promises, including halving the deficit by the end of his first term, and "fixing" the economy in 3 years (you may recall him saying he'd be looking at one term proposition if he couldn't do so). Voters don't like blatant;y broken promises and blatant failure.
15. The Tea Party was not even a sparkle in someone's eye in 2008. The Tea Party movement was largely responsible for the GOP takeover of the House in 2010.
16. Both of Obama's signature achievements, Healthcare and the Stimulus bill, are enormously unpopular with voters. 50-60% (depending on the poll) favor repeal of Obamacare. The numbers on the stimulus are much worse, with 29% saying it helped and 43% saying it hurt.
17. Obama's worst enemy is Obama himself. The candidate of Hope and Change™ is now increasingly defensive and angry. The entire tone of the campaign is different.
18. McCain was outspent 3 or 4-1. This will not be the case this time around, with Romney actually enjoying a financial advantage.
19. Paul Ryan is not Sarah Palin. It is much harder for the media to smear a policy wonk from a small town with 14 years experience. He is enormously popular with conservatives in the party, independents alike.
20. The hidden problem for Obama is in plain sight: White males. Obama's support amongst white males is abysmal. The following article notes that even back in June, Obama did not have enough white male support to win. Note that the article also says Romney hasn't capitalized, though this has changed since that time.
21. The enthusiasm gap is a major factor. Obama is unlikely to motivate his base to the levels it was in 2008. The GOP base is extraordinarily motivated, however.
By just about any data point (anecdotal or otherwise), Mitt Romney is going to win. Obama is going back to Chicago unless there is a major geopolitical event between now and the election.