I’m not really going out on a limb, here. I do think Romney will win the popular vote by slim margin—I’d say less than half a percentage point. But Obama will win the Electoral College, somewhat comfortably.
One lesson for Republicans: Stop hating on immigrants. Bush won about 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. McCain took about 30 percent in 2008. Romney could well drop below 20 percent this year.
Thing is, Latinos tend to be culturally conservative. From the polls I’ve seen, the GOP doesn’t even really need to actively reach out to them. Just stop hating them. Stop with the “my border fence will be bigger than yours,” the English only stuff, “self-deportation,” and the laws that let cops harass anyone with brown skin. Do that, and the GOP could probably lure back enough of the Latino vote to be competitive again, at least in the short term. As it stands, they’re likely going to lose New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado because of this. Even in Arizona, Romney’s lead is down to five points. Within a few election cycles, they might even need to start spending money in Texas.
MORE: I see Shikha Dalmia has already made this point more eloquently that I just did.