Chart and map from the Abulsme.com 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate and 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 moves today:
In March Obama had a lead of over 10% in Wisconsin, but by May that was less than 5%, putting Wisconsin on our swing state list. It has bounced around the 5% line since then. Now Obama’s lead in the five poll average once again tops 5%, so Wisconsin moves to “Weak Obama” and takes the possibility of Romney winning it off the table for the moment.
|Romney Best Case||278||260|
|Obama Best Case||180||358|
Before the last couple of weeks, Romney had been steadily eroding Obama’s lead in a bunch of blue states. He kept pulling states out of the “Weak Obama” category into “Lean Obama” putting them into contention as swing states, with margins close enough that Obama’s lead could conceivably evaporate overnight if the news cycles were favorable to Romney.
Romney’s best case in my model went from losing 259-279 on May 16th* to winning 311-227 from Jun 29th to July 18th. Although none of them had yet gone over the line to his side, that was a move of 52 electoral votes into the zone where they were within reach.
The last two weeks has undone much of that… Michigan (16), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10) moved out of reach. This was compensated by Nevada (6) swinging again, but in terms of the net total, 33 fewer electoral votes are in the pool for Romney. This is not a good trend for Romney.
At his new best case of 278-260, Romney is only 9 electoral votes over the tie line. This means that of the close states, Florida (29), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15) and Tennessee (11) are now must win states. He could afford to lose one of Iowa (6), Nevada (6) and New Hampshire (4) and still win, but he can’t lose two of those.
If he wins every other close state, but loses Colorado (9) we would actually have 269-269, throwing things to the House. This is highly unlikely, but would be fun. (It would also likely lead to a Romney win in the House.)
Romney has been behind in the “Current” model all year long. The progress he had made in June in the “Romney Best Case” model has been evaporating. It isn’t looking great for Romney right now. We still have over three months to go though. Maybe at some point Romney will start gaining some real traction?
* At the time it looked like Romney’s best case was winning 272 to 266, but a later inclusion of a Virginia poll from April retroactively moved Virginia (13) out of swing state status and into “Weak Obama” for that date.