Only one change today, Montana moving toward Romney:
So, although there was some speculation about Obama contesting Montana in 2008… and he did end up making it close, losing the state by only 2.3%… this time around nobody has been talking about Obama trying to win Montana. Although there was one individual poll in April showing Obama only behind by 2%, the five poll average has never shown Obama closer than 6% behind Romney. For most of the year Montana has been in the “Weak Romney” category, meaning Romney is relatively safe, but if something major happened… perhaps a mirror image of the Obama decline after the first debate… then the state might become competitive.
Instead, we see Romney’s lead on an increasing trend over the past few months, and with today’s update, Romney’s lead is now at 10.7% over Obama. So Montana moves to “Strong Romney”… essentially meaning that even if Romney completely implodes, he’d probably still win Montana.
Since Montana isn’t even close to the competitive zone, this does not affect our models:
|Romney Best Case||301||237|
|Obama Best Case||191||347|
The race remains close. Obama is ahead. Obama has always been ahead. Romney still has NEVER taken the lead in my model.
But if Romney wins all the states he is ahead in, he is only 21 electoral votes short of a 269-269 tie. He can get those 21 electoral votes in a variety of ways. Assuming Romney holds his current leads in Florida (29 ev, 0.4% lead), North Carolina (15 ev, 2.8% lead) and Virginia (13 ev, 4.0% lead), probably the easiest way to a victory right now is to win Ohio (18 ev) where he is only behind by 2.8% in the five poll average today, and then win any one of New Hamphire (4 ev, behind by 0.6%), Colorado (9 ev, behind by 1.3%) or Iowa (6 ev, behind by 2.5%). Of course, if he is winning Ohio, he will probably be close in Wisconsin (10 ev, 2.8% behind) and Nevada (6 ev, 3.9% behind) as well, and either of them would do the trick too.
As of my sweep of polls a few hours ago, we only had TWO state level polls that finished after the second presidential debate. One in North Carolina and one in Ohio. The North Carolina one slightly improved Romney’s position but not enough to recategorize North Carolina, while the Ohio one had no affect on the five poll average at all, as it matched the margin of the poll it replaced in the average. Bottom line, no where near enough data to judge the effects of the second debate. Maybe in the next few days.
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.