Jamie Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution offers his usual smart takes on the state of polling, campaign schedules and practical probabilities of who is winning the Battleground States. I tried to blog this and by that I mean skinny it down to just the important stuff but nearly every sentence was good so by all means read the whole thing :
As President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney meet in their final debate on Monday night, let’s take a snapshot of where the race stands in the “swing states” that will determine which way the 2012 race for the White House goes.
- Florida (29 Electoral Votes) – The polls continue to be shaded slightly in favor of Romney (just over 2% in the poll average). Most interesting is that Romney has led in 11 of the last 13 statewide polls conducted in Florida – all of them done after the first debate in Denver. [Obama] will hold an event in Delray Beach the morning after the debate.
- Pennsylvania (20) – I’m not yet convinced that Pennsylvania is in play, but clearly the polling lead for the President has narrowed; it was at 4% in a Quinnipiac poll last week. On Saturday, Paul Ryan made a short stop in Pennsylvania, stoking hopes among Republicans, as a number of GOP volunteers from Maryland went in to the Keystone State to help this weekend as well. The big question is obvious: was the Ryan stop outside Pittsburgh just for PR? Or will we see another Romney/Ryan visit?
- Ohio (18) – Despite gains in other states, Romney has not been able to edge ahead in the Buckeye State, as many believe the auto bailout efforts by the Obama Administration have paid dividends here and in Michigan. [T]he President has been ahead in 9 of the last 13 Ohio polls – but – five of those polls have only given him an edge of one point, well within the margin of error. The President goes here the day after the debate, Vice President Biden is in Ohio on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.
- Michigan (16) – Romney is not advertising in Michigan (but there is Super PAC money on his behalf there) and the GOP standard bearer has not been in Michigan since a late August visit, though Paul Ryan was there last week for an event with Kid Rock. This may be the Democrats’ version of North Carolina as the President has led in the last 17 polls conducted in Michigan since the week of the Republican convention in August.
- North Carolina (15) – This past week the Romney campaign all but sent out a news release saying they were going to win the Tar Heel State, as officials let it be known that the GOP is shifting resources to other states. [T]he fact is the President has not been to the state since September 7. The poll edge is still with Romney, as he has been ahead in six of the last seven polls giving him a poll average advantage of over 5%.
- Virginia (13) – The Old Dominion remains a toss up, as both sides have spent lot of time and money here. Last week, the Obama & Romney camps sparred repeatedly over women’s issues, as they ran ads on abortion only in that state. The President’s Friday speech in the Washington, D.C. suburbs was filled with references to women’s issues, the Romney “binders of women” comment and more. 6 of the last 8 polls – all taken since the first debate in Denver – have had Romney ahead in Virginia.
- Wisconsin (10) – The polls have definitely closed in recent weeks, but this is another state where the President had stubbornly held on to his lead. The GOP won the recall turnout fight; can they repeat that effort over the next two weeks? Like Pennsylvania, the overview of the polls doesn’t give much hope to Romney, as the President has led the last 15 state polls taken in Wisconsin, though Mr. Obama’s average lead is now under 3%.
- Colorado (9) – Both Romney and Obama are scheduled to stump in the Centennial State this week (Romney on Tuesday night, the President on Wednesday) so neither side is giving up. Romney has led in 6 of the last 10 polls in Colorado, but his lead in the poll average is under one point – in other words – a true toss up.
- Nevada (6) – Also on the agenda for both campaigns this week is the Silver State; Democrats remain confident that they can deliver this state for the President – and as I showed last week – the polls have routinely underestimated Democratic voting numbers in 2004, 2008 & 2010. Will that happen again in 2012? Republicans thought this state was a big pickup opportunity. In 24 statewide polls this year on this race, President Obama has led in 21 of the last 24 polls, with the other three a tie. Still, the President’s poll average lead is only 3%.
- Iowa (6) – Democrats have the edge so far in absentee ballots, but new figures show Republicans now have a very narrow overall edge in voter registration. The President was in Iowa last week and will be there again on Wednesday. There have been five polls taken in Iowa since the first debate – the President led in three, Romney in one and the other was a tie, giving Mr. Obama an average lead of 2.4%.
- New Hampshire (4) – Mitt Romney had not been able to parlay his status as a neighbor of the Granite State or that he has a home on Lake Winnipesaukee into any momentum until last week when several polls suddenly showed the race closing. In five polls taken since the first debate, Romney has led in two, there have been two ties, and the President was ahead in one – the poll average gives Romney a one point lead.
Path to 270
Romney’s route to victory most likely lies in the following breakdown: If Romney were to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire, he would stand 18 Electoral Votes from victory. A win in Ohio would provide that – but if the President wins Ohio, then Romney would need to put together two states, like Wisconsin and Colorado, unless he were to win Pennsylvania.
For the President, wins in Ohio, Nevada and Michigan would put him only 9 Electoral Votes away from victory, meaning he could seal the deal with either Colorado or Wisconsin.