Two states move today, one toward Obama, one toward Romney. As usual, in order of Electoral College strength:
In the last three months Nevada has usually been “Leaning Obama”, meaning Obama has the advantage, but not by very much. In September Obama’s lead headed higher for a little bit, then dove again after the debates. Now it heads up again, with Obama’s lead in the five poll average now at 5.2%. Given this, Nevada now is classified as “Weak Obama” meaning it would take a pretty significant move for Romney to take the lead and win the state. So Nevada is no longer included in Romney’s “best case” scenario.
Pennsylvania is a bit odd. Three days ago Obama’s lead topped 5% in the five poll average. But today we add a new poll that arrived out of order. It was still in the five most recent polls by the last day of polling, so it counted as a “recent poll” for us, but it was also the first poll since February showing Romney ahead in Pennsylvania, and showing him ahead by a relatively substantial 4% at that. This is way out of line with other recent polling in the state, so certainly LOOKS like an outlier. Especially since by the time it was released there were already polls taken after it that did not show that kind of movement.
But I don’t do any outlier removal here. I just let the five poll average do what the five poll average does. For the moment, this means that Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania is now down 2.8%, with the peak above 5% erased. Because this was still a “current poll” I do not retroactively adjust the overall historical trend however.
This potential outlier is now the 5th oldest poll I have in Pennsylvania, so it will age out with the very next Pennsylvania poll. Pennsylvania may or may not pop back to “Weak Obama” at that point depending on the results of that next poll.
So this puts Pennsylvania back in play, with the possibility of Romney winning the state now back in his best case scenario.
Which brings us to the updated summary:
|Romney Best Case||301||237|
|Obama Best Case||191||347|
We still have a close race. Obama is ahead, but Romney only needs to pull 21 more electoral votes over to his side to win.
Right now the easiest way to get there is to hold North Carolina (15 ev, 3.8% Romney lead), Virginia (13 ev, 2.6% Romney lead), Florida (29 ev, 0.4% Romney lead) and then to pull ahead and take New Hampshire (4 ev, 0.5% Obama lead) and Ohio (18 ev, 2.8% Obama lead).
There are many other combinations that will do it too. That just looks like the easiest to me at the moment.
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.