October 11, 2012

Election 2012: Can Romney Win? Four Swing States Hold the Key

After the American Century

With just weeks remaining, Romney seems to have a bit more momentum than Obama, largely due to the first Presidential debate. The challenger now has a chance to win, and it all comes down to just four states.

Study of the polls in swing states suggests that Romney will win Missouri and North Carolina. In addition to the states he already has nailed down, he requires just four more swing states:

Ohio        18 electoral votes  (less than 1% difference) UPDATE Oct 19: Obama up by 2.4%
Florida    29                           (less than 1% difference) UPDATE Oct 19: Romney up by 2.5%
Virginia  13                            (less than 1% difference) UPDATE Oct 19: still less than 1% gap
Colorado  9                            (less than 1% difference) UPDATE Oct 19: still less than 1% gap

If Romney takes all four of these, his electoral total will be 275 (270 needed to win.) There are other combinations and permutations possible, but these four states are those where he has the best prospects.

To put this another way, even if Obama holds on to New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which is not entirely certain, as they have become swing states in recent polls, as well as winning Nevada and Iowa, which have been swing states all along, the president will lose. He must win all of them plus at least  one of the four states listed above, if he wants to stay in the White House. As of Oct 11, the distance between Obama and Romney in each of these four states is less than 1% - and that is well inside the margin of error. In short, the polls say it is too close to call. 

We can expect that enormous sums will be spent campaigning in these four states, and that on election day there will be enormous get-out-the-vote efforts.  On election night this also means that the outcome will likely be decided in the Eastern Time Zone.  Only if the race is really close will we need to wait two more hours for Colorado's polls to close. 

In a worst case scenario, we might be headed into another election like that in 2000, where the winner is unclear. But as things stand on October 19, Obama would appear to have a clear victory within his grasp.

The New York Times reached pretty much the same conclusions as expressed in this blog, only later, on October 25.