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Electoral College: Wisconsin Swings!

Chart and map from the 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate. Both show polling as it currently exists. Things will change before election day. On the map red is Romney, blue is Obama, gold states are too close to call. Lines on the chart represent how many more electoral votes a candidate would have than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. Up is good for Obama, Down is good for Romney.

One state changes status today, and it is a move in Romney’s direction:

It seems like it was just yesterday when I was saying that if Romney pulled Wisconsin back toward being competitive it would open up more paths for victory to him. And boom, today Obama’s lead in the five poll average in Wisconsin drops from 7.2% down to 4.0%.

Looking at the history here, this is a veritable collapse for Obama in Wisconsin. Up through mid-April I’d classified Wisconsin as “Strong Obama” because his leads there were over 10%. There was even one poll showing him up by 17%! On April 19th the lead dropped to below 10% and I reclassified Wisconsin as “Weak Obama”. But the trend in May has been decidedly and dramatically toward Romney. The two most recent polls show a tie and a 1% Obama lead. There haven’t yet been any Wisconsin polls showing Romney actually ahead, but the margin is now clearly small enough that Wisconsin could easily go either way.

So we add Wisconsin into Romney’s best case scenario:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 282 256
Current Status 220 318
Obama Best Case 170 368

This makes Romney’s path to victory much more flexible. Florida (29), Ohio (18) and North Carolina (15) are still “must win”. If any one of those went to Obama, Romney would be done. If he lost Virginia (13) we’d have a 269-269 tie, which would probably result in a messy Romney victory in the House of Representatives. But with the new set of swing states, he could afford to lose any one of Tennessee (11), Missouri (10), Wisconsin (10), or Iowa (6) and still win.

This move in Wisconsin is by far the most dramatic move we’ve seen toward Romney yet in the state polls. As more polls come in for other states, the question will be if this move in Wisconsin is the first sign of more general moves toward Romney in many states, or if there is something Wisconsin specific going on here… perhaps spillover from the Walker recall battle or some such.

A state moving all the way from “Strong” support of a candidate to being a swing state in less than a month though is a pretty dramatic move. If Romney can produce that kind of motion in a few more states, this analysis will very quickly start showing a much more competitive race!

Edit 2012 May 20 06:38 UTC – Fixed Map, SC was incorrectly colored as a swing state, it is now correctly colored as “Weak Romney”.

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