Presidential prediction: Obama 279 to Romney 259 predicts that President Obama will win re-election by an electoral margin of 279-259. We predict that the popular vote will be much closer, with Romney holding Obama to under 50% of the popular vote. Hence we predict that the pundits will claim that the third party candidates acted as "spoilers" in this race. This map summarizes our prediction, or click for state-by-state prediction.

We read hundreds of polls over the last several months, and we see that the mainstream media mostly ignores the Electoral College, reporting instead on the popular vote. In the presidential election, the electoral vote is all that matters. Our map shows Romney overwhelmingly winning a geographic victory; but that same map says that Obama wins the electoral victory!

We base our prediction on Obama's state-by-state victories in 2008, modified by the redistricting changes due to the 2010 census, and then further modified by several special considerations, including:

In summary, OnTheIssues recommends what to watch for on Election Night TV coverage:

Detailed state-by-state prediction of presidential election.

House prediction: Republican majority 235-200

OnTheIssues predicts the Democrats will gain 7 House seats, leaving control of the United States House of Representatives in Republican hands, 235-200. Our evidence is laid out below.

So why do the Democratic pundits claim that they can gain the 25 seats necessary for their party to gain control of the House? For example, the Kansas City Star on Oct. 24, 2012, cites a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson saying "The Republican majority is in jeopardy," and expressing that he is "confident that his party can buck the odds and pick up the 25 seats needed to regain control of the House of Representatives." Let's look at the sort of evidence they present, starting with the current party split -- a large Republican majority -- of 242R-193D.

OnTheIssues conducted a "vulnerability analysis" which found 26 vulnerable Republican incumbents. If all of them lose, the Democrats would gain the House majority -- it would result in a House split with a slight Democratic majority, 217R-218D.

But of course that's only a half-truth, because some Democrats are vulnerable also. Our same analysis for vulnerable Democrats knocks down the Dems' hopes to a weaker Republican majority, 230R-205D.

But it's even worse than that, due to redistricting. The 2010 census takes effect in this House election -- and will cost the Democrats another 6 seats. Some special considerations reduce that by one loss, making our final prediction 235R-200D.

OnTheIssues does not claim to be prognosticators -- but we do claim to have real substantiation for our prediction, especially when compared to the hocus-pocus of other pundits. Our vulnerability analysis has worked to identify incumbents in our local State House who have been ousted; the redistricting analysis is complicated but accurate. We would be very shocked if the Democrats do better than 230R-205D or if the Republicans do any better than 240R-195D. More extreme results than that would indicate a "landslide mandate" for one party over the other.

Detailed detailed House election prediction.

Senate prediction: 50-50 split; Maine's Angus King is kingmaker

33 Senate seats (out of 100) are up for election in 2012, but 23 of those seats are currently held by Democrats and 10 by Republicans. That means the Democrats have more to lose in 2012 -- but the Dems also hold the majority in the Senate, 53-47. To gain control of the Senate, the Republicans must gain 4 seats; we predict they will gain 3 seats. Below are key predictions; click for our all 33 Senate races.

StatePredictionPredicted WinnerPredicted Loser
CT Republican takeoverLinda McMahonChris Murphy
I drive throughout Connecticut for my daily business, and I see a dozen "Linda" signs every hour, in every corner of the state, whereas seeing one Murphy sign per day is a lot. While signs don't vote, the lawn owners do, and they seem overwhelming.
FL Republican takeoverConnie Mack IVBill Nelson
Paul Ryan's strong stance for Medicare/Medicaid overhaul hurts the Romney-Ryan ticket in Florida, and we therefore predict Obama will win Florida based on the large elderly population in this key state. But Florida voters prefer bipartisanship and therefore Sen. Nelson will suffer from "negative coattails."
IN Republican retentionRichard MourdockJoe Donnelly
Oct. 26 update: Mourdock stumbled by saying in a debate that pregnancy rape was "God's will," which infuriated women's groups, but we do not see any change in the underlying dynamics that favor a conservative Senator to represent conservative Indiana.
MA Democratic takeoverElizabeth WarrenScott Brown
Obama will overwhelmingly beat Romney in blue-state Massachusetts, and we predict Warren will ride Obama's coattails to victory. Sen. Brown won in a special election -- when there were no presidential coattails -- and would probably win again if this were not a presidential election year -- but the coattails are just too long against him in 2012.
ME Democratic takeoverAngus KingCharlie Summers
Gov. King is an independent but we predict he will win and then choose to caucus with the Democrats in the Senate, in effect gaining the Democrats one Senate vote. King is a true independent, but sides with the Democrats on healthcare, social issues, and the need for taxes to deal with the deficit -- key upcoming voting issues for Senators.
MO Democratic retentionClaire McCaskillTodd Akin
During the summer, we would have predicted a Republican victory in red-state Missouri, but Rep. Akin put his foot in his mouth and exacerbated the problem with yet more flubs with every passing week -- he blew it!
ND Democratic retentionHeidi HeitkampRick Berg
North Dakota's economy is booming due to new oil extraction. So this Senate race is missing the usual drag on Obama and the Democrats, that the economy is bad elsewhere and that the Democrats would limit oil extraction elsewhere -- and Hietkamp will benefit.
OH Democratic retentionSherrod BrownJosh Mandel
Voter registration is an issue in many states but none more than in Ohio. As a result of the heavy-handed election-day voter suppression in minority districts in the 2004 election, Ohio Democrats have pushed voter registration and early voting (beginning Oct. 2) -- and Sen. Brown will benefit.
VA Democratic retentionTim KaineGeorge Allen
Gov. Allen seems to have recovered from his "macaca" gaffe in 2006, but he has run the nastiest campaign in the country, and we predict that many will vote against him to signal a dislike for negative campaigning.
WI Republican takeoverTommy ThompsonTammy Baldwin
The Tommy-Tammy race is one of the tightest in the country, but we predict a Republican victory based on Paul Ryan's coattails. While Wisconsin is a blue state, many independents will vote Republican on the presidential line based on Ryan's "favorite son" status, and will push that pattern downballot to the Senate race.

To summarize our prediction by party status:

The net result of our prediction: A 50-50 split in the Senate. The Republicans score a net gain of 3 seats, but that's not enough. We predict Maine Independent Governor Angus King will win his Senate race; and we predict he will caucus with the Democrats. But if he goes Republican the GOP will gain control of the Senate -- hence King will become the kingmaker in that scenario!

Detailed detailed U.S. Senate prediction of presidential election.