I want to believe. I sincerely want to believe.
I want to believe we don't need any lucky charms. I want to believe we don't need the Redskins Rule or the November 6 Rule, both of which favor Mitt Romney.
I want to believe Michael Barone and Fred Barnes and, especially, Peggy Noonan when she says voters are cooking up a surprise for this, and the surprise is a big, enthusiastic Romney victory.
I want to believe even is not even—ties are not tied. I want to believe the stories we read about how Romney's rallies are bigger and fuller and more enthusiastic, and President Barack Obama's are lifeless and forced and small.
I want to believe what we're hearing about the get-out-the-vote efforts and the big enthusiasm gap that both favor Romney. I want to believe how the early voting numbers may seem to favor Obama, but his advantages are smaller than in 2008 and actually point toward Romney victory.
I want to believe independents truly do break toward the challenger. I want to believe the under-covered Catholic vote will make a difference in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The Catholic Church is seriously angry about the contraceptives mandate, and I want to believe that will translate into substantial votes—on Tuesday and next month in the Electoral College.
I want to believe any bump President Obama got out of Hurricane Sandy is gone. Chris Christie does too, by the way. How does he ever ask Republicans for another dime if Romney loses?
I want to believe it doesn't matter that Nate Silver's final Five Thirty-Eight blog before the election gives President Obama a 92 percent chance of winning—up 15 percent just since October 30. I want to believe this is the election that killed faith in polling, just as it has absolutely demolished faith in so-called "fact-checkers."
I want to believe Stuart Rothenberg is right: President Obama goes into today with no more than 237 electoral votes nailed down, and I'd really love to believe there is some hole somewhere in that Rust Belt firewall. Michigan? Minnesota? Anybody?
I want to hear one Democratic pollster—just one—say he or she is reading the same tea leaves as Barnes, Barone, and Noonan and coming to the same conclusions. I want to know this is not just something we're seeing on the right.
I want to believe, but it's hard. As Noonan says, nobody knows for sure. What we do know is it's easier for President Obama to get there in terms of electoral votes than it is for Romney. Romney has to win North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia, and I believe he will. It would help tremendously if he would pull out Ohio or Pennsylvania and perhaps his running mate's home state of Wisconsin. Then, he would need just one of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, or New Hampshire.
Enough. No more gaming the possibilities. The fact is we don't know. It's too close. No Democrat is going to admit Romney has the upper hand. No November Surprise is going to arrive in time to help him in any meaningful way. It's up to the voters now.
My prediction: We're going to be up late tonight, and, thanks to Ohio's provisional ballot rule, we may not know even then.
- Read Robert Schlesinger: Election Day Likely To Return Status Quo to Washington
- Read Jamie Stiehm: Mitt Romney's Personality Problem
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.