Presidential election update

Time for another presidential election update…if you are a regular reader of Nate Silver or other data-driven election blogs, this won’t contain much that’s new to you, but I know not everyone’s into the charts and graphs.
First momentum. NPR had a story a few days ago about how Romney is surging, based on a comparison of their most recent poll to their previous poll from September; apparently their reporters spent the intervening time in cryogenic suspension and were unaware of the hundreds of other polls that had been released in the meantime. Those of us who remained sentient will recall that Mitt had a big surge almost a month ago, following the first debate. He went from maybe 5 points down nationally to what briefly looked like a lead. This movement took about a week, and in the time since then his gains have stalled and then started to slip away. Though he is in better shape than he was before the debate, he isn’t any better off than he was before the conventions.
Here’s how the electoral math looks now. In states that are basically uncontested, the candidates start with the following base number of electoral votes:
Romney 191
Obama 217
I did not include Pennsylvania here, since Romney seems to have decided to contest it, but it should be noted that, of the dozens of polls here this year, only a heavily-Republican pollster called Susquehanna has released even a single poll showing a Romney lead. Obama’s lead has been stable, and PA includes relatively few swing voters, so I feel OK adding it to the O column: Nate Silver gives Romney a 3% chance of taking Pennsylvania.
Romney 191
Obama 237
Another state that is on the verge of becoming inaccessible to Romney is Wisconsin; it looked really promising for a while after he picked Ryan, but most recent polls gravitate to a substantial O lead of 5
Poins or so. On the other side, we could give North Carolina to Romney; his lead there is small, only a couple of points, but if Obama wins NC he’s probably already racked up a nice EV total and won’t need it.
Romney 206
Obama 247
So Obama needs another 23 EV from the remaining states. Here are some minimal combinations, more or less in order of probability.
OH (18) + NV (6) NV is on the verge of slipping away from Romney, O has a 3-point lead in OH
OH + IA (6) O has small lead in IA
OH + VA (13) O has perhaps a 1-point lead in VA
VA + NV + IA
VA + NV or IA + NH (4) O is 2 or 3 pts ahead in NH
OH + CO (9) O has slight lead in CO
FL Would sink Romney all by itself, but O is very slightly behind here
This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the point. If Obama wins most of the states where he leads in the polls, he is home free. If Romney takes FL and OH, he has a fighting chance. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that Obama will win 294-244, winning OH, NV, IA, NH, VA, but not CO or FL. Just a guess.
On election night, of course, we are unlikely to see any of these states called early; the information that Obama has carried Vermont and Romney has carried Alabama will leave us none the wiser. I’ll be looking for sites that present comparisons between Obama’s performance in a given county and how he did there in 2008, but failing that, one thing to watch for early is how quickly the not-quite-battleground states get called A quick call in Michigan for Obama or in North Carolina for Romney would be at least an indication that the candidate is not underperforming, while if hours pass and they are still on the table, someone should be very worried.

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2 Responses to Presidential election update

  1. Ann Foxen says:

    Nate Silver is a golden god.

    • Roy says:

      To be sure–though he was more fun before he was saddled with the NY Times. When he had his own blog, he could express his opinions freely and also didn’t spend as much time re-explaining basic stuff.
      It’s now looking more like either 303 or 332, with strong CO polls and a good shot at FL.

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