Another state moving dramatically toward Romney based on post-debate polls. This time it is Florida:
Prior to the debate the five poll average in Florida was a 3.2% lead for Obama. Florida had favored Obama in the average since September 6th and had even hit a 5% Obama lead for a few days. Both polls taken since the debate show Romney ahead however, and now the average flips back toward Romney. With 2 polls after the debate and 3 from before the debate, I now have Florida with a 0.2% advantage for Romney.
0.2% is of course so close to zero that the only way to really interpret this is as a tie. Florida could go either way. Florida is now even closer than North Carolina, where Romney has an 0.8% lead. And THAT was really close.
All of the “close states” could easily be seen going either way when votes are actually cast, but at the moment Florida and North Carolina are the closest of the close.
This makes the new summary as follows:
|Romney Best Case||281||257|
|Obama Best Case||191||347|
The ”Current Status” now matches the best Romney has done since the primary season ended. (He was actually even slightly better than this at the very start of the year in January.) His “best case” hasn’t caught up to his September peak yet, but if he won every state he is ahead in at the moment, he puts in a better performance than he has since early September.
That scenario still has Romney losing of course, just by less than before. To actually win, he needs to pull more than 34 additional electoral votes over to his side.
We now have six “close” states. Here are the current margins in those states based on my five poll average:
- North Carolina (15 ev): 0.8% Romney Lead – 1/5 polls after debate
- Florida (29 ev): 0.2% Romney Lead – 2/5 polls after debate
- Colorado (9 ev): 1.8% Obama Lead – 1/5 polls after debate
- Virginia (13 ev): 2.8% Obama Lead – 2/5 polls after debate
- Iowa (6 ev): 4.2% Obama Lead – 0/5 polls after debate
- Ohio (18 ev): 4.2% Obama Lead – 2/5 polls after debate
Romney’s path here… first consolidate North Carolina and Florida. Then he NEEDS to flip Ohio. Colorado, Virginia and Iowa wouldn’t be enough without Ohio. If he has managed to flip Ohio, he has probably already managed to flip the others. If he does, then he wins.
There are not yet any polls in Iowa from after the debate, but if we look only at post-debate polls, Romney is already ahead in Colorado and Virginia, and is tied in Ohio.
Two polls, the most we have post-debate in any state, is still not very much. It will be good to get a few more polls to confirm these moves. If the moves are substantiated by more polls, it will have been a pretty big move toward Romney based on a debate.
The Obama campaign is trying to pivot hard to being more aggressive, and to calling Romney out on flip flopping and misrepresenting his own positions, and perhaps a bit on picking on Big Bird… we’ll see if it works.
I suspect however that Obama’s performance at the next debate will be more critical. To move things back in his direction again he needs to basically show the performance at the first debate was an aberration.
Now, to win Obama doesn’t NEED to start moving things back in his direction… he just needs to stop further movement toward Romney. Obama is still ahead. By a not insubstantial margin. When discussing a similar status in the models a few weeks ago, I talked about how good the position was for Obama. In a static picture, this is still a pretty good map for Obama. It takes a bit of a stretch to get to Romney winning. Possible, but a stretch.
The difference is the recent movement. In September, every new poll was showing things looking even better for Obama. Now almost every new poll seems to be showing things better for Romney. Romney isn’t winning, but the motion is in his direction.
Obama may still be ahead, but to start feeling comfortable again, he needs to stop bleeding support in the key states.
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.