Barone is probably the sharpest followers of precinct-by-precinct, county-by-county voting trends. They guy is brilliant.
Actually, Barone's prediction is part of why I believe Obama stole the election. Barone only goes out on a limb if he is certain that he's right. Pretty much everyone but the eeyores predicted either a Mitt win or landslide. This is because the enthusiasm was higher for Romney than McCain, because of trends in 2010, because people still hate ObamaCare by gigantic majorities, and because the Obama campaign saw itself losing big.
Romney lost by 330K votes. Heck, the Dems can muster that kind of fraud in one state alone. But they didn't need to, they only needed about 82K votes in each of the 4 swing states. Easy.