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Electoral College: Two States Stop Swinging

Chart and map from the Abulsme.com 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.

Two states change status today, both moving out of swing status, one toward Obama, one toward Romney.  In order by electoral weight:

First up, Michigan, with 16 electoral votes.  Obama’s lead in Michigan had dropped from over 10% in the 5 poll average back in April, down to just barely over 1% in June.  It has now rebounded to 5.6%, which I consider a large enough lead to take it out of reach for Romney, moving it into the “Weak Obama” category.  Now, the last three polls, all released in the last couple days, are all over the place…  +14 Obama, +1 Romney, +6 Obama.  (The two older polls in my average at the moment are +5 Obama and +4 Obama).  So there may be a lot of uncertainty here until we get more polls to validate where we really are.  But we average out the admittedly huge polling differences, and end up with a decent Obama lead.

Next up is Missouri with 10 electoral votes.  Missouri has been pretty sparsely polled this year, despite most of those polls showing a pretty close race (with Romney slightly ahead).  You’d think it would be polled more often since even though there was a consistent Romney lead, it was a small lead, and thus the state might have been vulnerable.  At this point though three of the past 5 polls show a Romney lead more than 5%, and the 5 poll average is +5.5% Romney, so Missouri moves out of my swing state category into “Weak Romney”.

The result of all this?

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 288 250
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 180 358

Both Romney’s Best Case and Obama’s best case get a little worse.  Since Romney’s best case is weaker, this is more critical to him.  His best case now has him with only 19 more electoral votes than needed to tie.  This makes Florida once again a must win state.  With this configuration of close states, unless he captures some states where Obama is ahead by  more than 5% right now, Romney can’t win without Florida.  He can still afford to lose Ohio, but only if he then wins EVERY other close state.

With this update Romney’s paths to victory once again narrow.  In order to get to a more comfortable place, he needs to be pulling more of Obama’s weak states back into contention.  Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Virginia (13), I’m looking at you.

And then of course he has to actually start pulling states over the line to his side.  The “current status” where everybody gets all the states they are even slightly ahead in, hasn’t changed at all since May…  We’re at Obama 332 Romney 206…  which is only slightly different from where we were in FEBRUARY (Obama 328 Romney 210).  There has been movement around the edges, and some short term fluctuations in April and May, but for the most part, not much has moved at all…  if Romney wants to win, he needs to start getting some more traction in some of the critical states pretty soon.

The line is always “a lot can change before November”.  There is no question that is very true.  But there is a lot less time left to make that change happen than there was.  Tick tock.