Last week, Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos took criticism for saying Mr. Romney had a lock on Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, worth a collective 57 electoral votes. Today, that is orthodoxy. The New York Times‘ Nate Silver, who still points to an Obama win, has Florida, Virginia and North Carolina in the Romney column as well as Colorado’s nine electoral votes, which many analysts see as beyond Mr. Obama’s reach.
Adding up these states puts Mr. Romney’s base at 257 electoral votes, a mere 13 from victory. This was considered impossible a few weeks ago. From that substantial position, the Republican could win by taking Ohio (18 electoral votes), Michigan (16) or Pennsylvania (20). Even if he lost all three of these large states, he still would end up on top by taking Wisconsin (10) and one other small swing state from among New Hampshire (4), Iowa (6) and Nevada (6).
Keith Backer writes:
Independents’ support for Romney up 7% (up 1% from last month)
GOP is more enthusiastic: 52% to 40%
Men support Romney over Obama is steady at about +7%
Romney has shrunk Obama’s advantage in the women vote from 25% to 15%
Youth vote for Obama has shrunk from +35% for Obama to +15%
Romney has flipped the senior support numbers: Obama was +1%, now Romney is up +7%
The problem with this poll which shows an Obama lead by 5%, is that the spread between the party affiliation is heavily skewed towards the Democrats:
D = 35%
R = 26%
I = 34%
Keith Backer goes onto write:
They threw me off last week when they put out some fairly sampled polls, but here we are right back to last month’s monstrosity of an Ohio poll over-sampling Democrats by 9%, higher than the 8% margin they enjoyed in 2008. Party ID is D+9 (Dem 25, Rep 26, Ind 30) and R+5 in 2004 (Dem 35, Rep 40, Ind 25)…This is for a state that less than 12-months ago went to the polls in a very pro-Union turnout and also voted to REPEAL Obamacare by a margin of 66 to 34.
Jennifer Rubin describes how the electoral college is getting friendlier for Romney, and narrower for the president. Those states are still tough to win, but at this stage in the race, an incumbent should be putting states into the “safe column” rather than having to divert resources to go back and shore up support in traditionally blue states.
Keith Backer, as usual, nails a good lead from Time magazine’s Mark Halperin. In it, Mr. Halperin discusses how the campaign is truly shifting and the acceleration of states like Virginia and Florida towards the Romney camp is scaring Obama supporters (North Carolina isn’t really close. Obama maintains a presence there only because it’d be embarrassing NOT to have one).
One senior Democratic official expressed real concern tonight unlike I have heard before about Ohio potentially slipping away from Obama (the state has been trending Republican in statewide races, Rob Portman has become a force, religious and gun groups are flooding the state with voter contacts, two of Romney’s top strategists have recently won a statewide race there, etc).
This doesn’t mean Romney has the upper hand right now. But it is no longer at all implausible that he could take the three Southern battlegrounds and Ohio. If he does that, he sure as heck would have the upper hand. And that leaves at least some Democrats with the shakes.
This comes hot on the heals of another poll coming out of New Hampshire showing that Obama and Romney are tied at 47% each. Remember, incumbents are consistently below the 50% mark going into an election, it does not bode well for his reelection changes. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal posted earlier this month, Karl Rove explains why:
In the past 30 days, there were 91 national polls (including each Gallup and Rasmussen daily tracking survey). Mr. Obama was at or above the magic number of 50% in just 20. His average was 47.9%. Mr. Romney’s was 45.5%.
There were 40 national polls over the same period in 2004. President George W. Bush was 50% or higher in 18. His average was 49%; Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was at 43.8%. An Oct. 4, 2004, story in the New York Times declared the Bush/Kerry race “a dead heat” and asked “whether Mr. Bush can regain the advantage.”
Mr. Bush was hitting the vital 50% mark in almost half the polls (unlike Mr. Obama) and had a lead over Mr. Kerry twice as large as the one Mr. Obama now holds over Mr. Romney. So why was the 2004 race “a dead heat” while many commentators today say Mr. Obama is the clear favorite. The reality is that 2012 is a horse race and will remain so. An incumbent below 50% is in grave danger. On Election Day he’ll usually receive less than his final poll number. That’s because his detractors are more likely to turn out, and undecideds are more resistant to voting for him.
According to a poll released today by USA Today/Gallup, Romney has pulled ahead by an astonishing 5%. This is encouraging, however what is more impressive is how that lead was generated. Looking within the internal structure of the pole, women favor Romney at an equal level to Pres. Obama. Usually, women favor Democrats by as much as 10% to 12%, so having an even split amongst the female going block is remarkable.
“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. “Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”
While Lake believes Obama retains an edge among women voters, the changed views of Romney could be “a precursor to movement” to the Republican candidate, she says. “It opens them up to take a second look, and that’s the danger for Obama.”
Female voters are a critical part of the president’s coalition. Four years ago, he led Republican rival John McCain by a single point among men, according to surveys of voters as they left polling places. The decisive Democratic margin of victory came from women, who supported Obama by 13 points.
Now, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows Romney leading Obama 51%-46% among likely voters in the swing states. Men who are likely voters back him 54%-42%. The states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The other day, I wrote about a pathway for Romney that doesn’t include Ohio. This article from the National Review takes this topic and analyzes it in more detail. You can see that it is certainly possible, but probably a long shot. Something key contained within this article is something that I’ve always thought was the case but that isn’t published in many places: if the president is polling at or below 47% at this stage in the race, it is almost impossible (barring a true October surprise) for the incumbent to claw his way back and win that state. That is why Suffolk University withdrew its polling activities in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. The reason for this is due to the nature of the the polling as it relates to incumbents. If an incumbent is polling below 50% the likelihood of him prevailing in that state are 50/50 at best. (Though it isn’t monolithic, undecideds usually break for the challenger.) Thus, when looking at polls, make sure to pay attention to where Obama is positioned as much as the spread. If he’s hovering at numbers in the sub-48% range, the incumbent is in trouble.
Following closely on Ohio’s heals is what many would argue is the second-most important state for the election. Should Romney (or Obama for that matter) prevail in Ohio, then all eyes would likely turn towards Colorado. (Remember, the electoral math shows two likely routes to victory for Romney: either (1) win Ohio and one other state, OR (2) lose Ohio and sweep New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada.) .
Right now, the indication is that Romney is leading in many of these states, so while it’s a small margin for error, it is certainly within reach. Colorado has been stubborn to the Obama campaign: even when polls (many would argue were “skewed”) were trending towards Obama before his disastrous debate performance, Colorado maintained a steady support level for Romney. It seems like that trend is likely to continue:
Exactly 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency. And that win may well come down to Colorado – specifically, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties.
Both are at the center of the 7th U.S. Congressional District race between incumbent Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, and his challenger, Republican Joe Coors.
If businessman Coors has a good election night on Nov. 6, then so will Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, not only in Colorado but likely nationwide.
Colorado is looking like a state that is the national average, perhaps a tick or two rightward, according to Sean Trende, a savvy number-cruncher and Princeton-trained political scientist for the website RealClearPolitics.
“So if Romney is winning Colorado, it probably means he is headed for a decent night,” Trende said of the relatively new electoral trend of a Western state signaling a presidential win.
If Romney wins here comfortably, that probably means a national win on the scale of George Bush in 2004, or even Obama in 2008, Trende said.
Right now, he said, Colorado’s numbers look pretty good for Romney: “We have him up a half-point in the RCP Average, with the president down to about 47 percent of the vote. That’s not a great position for the president to be in.”