November's presidential election is still 160 days away, and "nobody can predict with any confidence what will happen" that far out, says Adam C. Smith in the Tampa Bay Times. But here's an educated guess: "Don't assume it will be close." Even though polling now shows President Obama and Mitt Romney running neck and neck, both nationally and in key swing states, somebody's going to win in a landslide. Why is the conventional wisdom about a November squeaker wrong? Here, an excerpt:
Polls show a razor-thin race at the moment, and after Florida decided the winner in 2000 and Ohio decided it in 2004, it's natural to assume this will be another squeaker. History suggests otherwise.
Presidential re-election campaigns are rarely close, as the electorate typically swings strongly one way or the other. Bush narrowly beat John Kerry in 2004, but that was the first close re-election race since 1916 when Woodrow Wilson narrowly won a second term against Republican Charles Fairbanks.
Based on historical precedent, come October the contest could well shift dramatically for or against Obama's re-election.