I think Booman is right here, in that there is a pretty plausible road to an Obama landslide. He looks to be solidly in the lead in VA and PA. While national polls are shaky, he's doing REALLY well in battleground states. I think he wins PA, OH and VA as things stand. I also think Romney is such a crappy politician and because his real vulnerabilities were only hinted at during the primary (Scrooge McDuck for President!) that momentum in the fall will tilt Obama's way.
Yes, the economy is soft - mainly, in my opinion - because of gas prices. But if the unemployment rate (as opposed to the actual number) keeps falling (and it has, even with today's Meh job's report), then Obama cruises, even with a relatively weak economy.
John Sides over at Nate Silver's place explains' the Obama is more popular than he should be. In this way more than any other, Obama mirrors Reagan. When we finished our study of Reagan, my students asked, "Why was this guy so popular?" And given the deficits and Iran Contra and divisive social issue politics, that's a legit question. The Teflon Presidency was ultimately about Reagan's likeability and his ability to make Americans feel good about being Americans. Obama has the first part nailed.
So absent a massive double dip, I think Obama's basic likeability and the fact that Metamorphamitt is a lousy politician means that Obama wins almost all the states he won last year. I think he probably loses Indiana and the Nebraska 2nd, but he might gain Arizona and Missouri.
Booman goes on to say that this outcome would necessitate a re-evaluation by the GOP. If Obama brings a wave along with him that wins the House and nets a seat or two in the Senate, then any sane political party would have to consider that pissing off women, young people and Hispanics is probably stoopud.
But honestly, is there anything sane about the GOP right now? And if the relatively sane members of the GOP say, "Hey, maybe waging a jihad on contraception, student loans and Medicare isn't a smart strategy" then that person immediately gets primaried by the Teahadists.
And even more significantly, the GOP base has their ready-made fall guy: Mitt Romney. If Romney gets buried, it will not be because people think Obama's cool and the Romneybot likes a functioning empathy chip. It will be because Romney was not sufficiently - or severely - conservative enough. Operating on the assumption that "conservatism never fails, it can only be failed" that made George W. Bush a liberal once his approval ratings his the 30s, any defeat in 2012 will be laid at the feet of Romney's insufficient conservatism.
Not to mention, should the Democrats do well in 2012, we can almost guarantee they will do poorly in 2014, given the prevalence of Democratic voting blocs to skip off year elections.
I'm calling it right now: Santorum will be the GOP nominee in 2016.