One change today, and it is a state moving toward Obama:
The last few weeks Virginia has bounced between categories just a tad:
- Sep 14 to Sep 20 – Lean Obama
- Sep 20 to Sep 22 – Weak Obama
- Sep 22 to Sep 23 – Lean Obama
- Sep 23 to Sep 28 – Weak Obama
- Sep 28 to Oct 3 – Lean Obama
And now, with the latest numbers, it moves once again to Weak Obama.
The truth is that for these last few weeks, Obama’s lead in the Virginia five poll average has stayed right around 5%. Since September 20th it has remained within the range 3.9% to 5.8%. It’s just happened to bounce back and forth over that arbitrary 5% dividing line a few times.
There hasn’t been any actual real significant movement in Virginia during that time period. It just happens that the state is hovering right at the boundary between my two categories. So sometimes it looks like it might (just barely) be a state that Romney has some hope of flipping, and sometimes it looks like a state that is out of his reach (just barely).
If I had decided to only call states close where the lead was less than 3% then Virginia would not have looked close at all in the last few weeks. If I had decided to call anything less than 6% close, then it would have seemed like it was close the whole time. The line is arbitrary. Of course, if you are going to categorize things rather than present a spectrum, you have to draw the lines somewhere, and I picked 5%.
So once again, at least until the next poll, Virginia looks like a state Obama can be pretty confident about, and we take it out of Romney’s best case:
|Romney Best Case||263||275|
|Obama Best Case||191||347|
Virginia “close” or Virginia “not close”, Romney’s situation is the same: Even if he wins all the close states… all of which he is behind in at the moment… it does not give him enough to win the election.
To win the election he has to also win one or more states where Obama is currently ahead by more than 5%. For that to happen he needs something that completely changes the dynamics of the race.
We are less than 24 hours away from the first of the Presidential debates. Romney of course hopes this may be an event that starts the big move in his direction. Historically debates have not have that kind of impact. But he can hope.
Note: 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.