I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Some Notes on the State of the Race

I was curious what actually looking at recent polls in the battleground states would show.  I spend a fair amount of time reading Nate Silver’s 548 site, as I did four years ago.  He’s built a model that incorporates polling data and some economic data, and attempts to project from present conditions to electoral college and popular vote results.  Silver explains the components of his model, and that he’s developed it using Bayesian statistics, but you can’t really tell what is going on under the hood.  He’s consistently shown Obama ahead, and recently has shown that Romney’s brief surge (or the polls’ reversion to the mean, you pick) has ceased and things have reached some sort of plateau:  A very close race with Obama slightly ahead.

So I looked at some of the state polls.  41 states and the District of Columbia seem to me to be locked down: They’re pretty certain to go to either Romney or Obama unless something (completely unpredictable) happens in the next week or so and makes this a landslide.

Of the states that seem in play, in Florida, Romney has lead in three (Rassmusen, Susquehana, Angus Reid) and Obama in two (Grove, Gravis Marketing) and there’s one tie (Mellman). That is pretty close to toss up level, but I’ll give that to Romney.

In Wisconsin Obama has lead in every poll in Wisconsin since mid-August except one poll yesterday, where Rasmussen (which leans Republican) shows a tie. That suggests an Obama win there.

Give Romney North Carolina, although in the last week there’s been a tied poll and the other three are split 2 to Romney and 1 to Obama.

At that point, the electoral college vote is Obama 247 and Romney 235, with 56 votes in play.  Obama needs 23 of them and Romney needs 35 of them.

That leaves Colorado (9 votes) , Iowa (6 votes), Nevada (6 votes) , New Hampshire (4 votes), Ohio (18 votes), and Virginia (13 votes).

It seems clear from the polls that Obama has the advantage in Colorado, Ohio, and Nevada, which would give him 33 votes and a clear electoral win. If Obama gets Ohio, Romney has to take away both Colorado and Nevada, plus both Virginia and Iowa, to win. If Romney takes Ohio, Obama is still short 8 votes with Colorado and Nevada.

Here’s why it seems Obama has the advantage in Colorado, Ohio, and Nevada.

Colorado 9 electoral votes. Advantage: Obama

Obama has lead in three of the four most recent polls, with the fourth showing a tie. Romney leads in the earliest poll in the batch, from 10/21 and from Rasmussen.

Recent polls:
10/25
PPP (D leaning) Obama 49 Romney 46
Purple Strategies Obama 47 Romney 46
10/24
Grove Obama 46 Romney 43
Keating Research Obama 48 Romney 45
NBC Marist tie at 48
10/21
Rasmussen (R leaning) Obama 46 Romney 50

Ohio 18 electoral votes. Advantage: Obama

Obama is leading in 9 polls, including the three most recent, Romney is leading in none, and four show a tie. If Obama wins this one, he needs to find 15 somewhere else from the remaining 43.

Recent Polls:
10/25
CNN/Opinion Research Obama 48 Romney 44
Purple Strategies Obama 46 Romney 44
American Research Group Obama 49 Obama 47
10/23
Rasmussen (R leaning) tie at 48
Lake Research Partners Obama 46 Romney 44
Time / SRBI Obama 49 Romney 44
10/22
SurveyUSA Obama 47 Romney 44
10/21
Suffolk tie at 44
10/20
Angus Reid tie at 45
Quinnipiac Obama 50 Romney 45
PPP (d leaning) Obama 50 Romney 45
PPP Obama 49 Obama 48
Gravis Marketing tie at 47

Nevada 6 electoral votes Advantage Obama

Obama has lead in all polls in the last week, and only one poll in the last month (on 10/9) has shown a Romney lead.

Recent Polls
10/24
NBC/Marist Obama 50 Romney 47
Gravis Marketing Obama 50 Romney 49
PPP (leans D) Obama 49 Romney 47
10/23
Rasmussen (leans R) Obama 50 Romney 48
10/22
American Research Group Obama 49 Romney 47

That leaves Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia.

It looks like a slight edge for Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those two are ten votes.

Iowa 6 electoral votes

Obama has the slight edge here, leading in the two most recent polls then tied with a split result in the polls a week out.

Recent Polls
10/24
PPP (leans D) Obama 49 Romney 47
Gravis Marketing Obama 50 Romney 46
10/21
Rassmussen (leans R) tie at 48
10/19
PPP (leans D) Obama 48 Romney 49
PPP (leans D) Obama 49 Romney 48 (not sure why they released two polls showing different results the same day?

New Hampshire 4 electoral votes

Obama has the slight edge here, leading in 4 out of 7 polls in the last week, including the two most recent.

Recent Polls
10/25
New England College Obama 49 Romney 46
Grove Obama 47 Romney 44
10/23
Rassmussen (leans R) Obama 48 Romney 50
American Research Partners Obama 48 Romney 45
UNH Obama 51 Romney 42
PPP (leans D) Obama 48 Romney 49

That leaves Virginia, 13 electoral votes Looks like a tie to me.

The most recent polls are a tie, and then two Romney leads and one Obama lead, with shortly before two Obama leads and one Romney lead.

Recent Polls
10/25
Purple Strategies tie at 47
10/24
Rassmussen (D leaning) Obama 48 Romney 50
Fox News (guess) Obama 44 Romney 46
PPP (d leaning) Obama 51 Romney 46
10/21
Mellman Obama 46 Romney 45

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