Could Michigan and Pennsylvania Matter?
October 25, 2012 2 Comments
We’re only 12 days away from the election, can you believe it!? This is the time when polls become more interesting because they represent a closer snapshot to what we’ll actually get on election day. If you look at the national polls Romney is up between 1-4 points. Of course we all know that the nationwide popular vote doesn’t matter very much. What matters is the electoral college vote, decided on by the states. There appear to be more states in play than previous thought. That doesn’t mean per se that Romney is going to win those states or even lose within 2-3 points. But the polls indicate that Obama is going to have to spend some money defending his turf, which means he has less to spend in Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada and Iowa.
It appears fairly likely that Romney is going to win 257 electoral votes. He has a lead in North Carolina and Florida while Virginia and Colorado appear to be tilting towards the Republican. That means in order to win Romney either needs to win one big swing state or a combination of two or more smaller swing states. Ohio is essentially tied right now according to Rasmussen and Suffolk. Time put out a poll yesterday showing Obama up 5 but if you look at the internals it’s a D+9 poll. In 2008 Ohio was a D+8 state, in 2010 it was a R+1 state. Conventional wisdom is that Ohio will be somewhere in the middle of 2008 and 2010. If we adjust the Time poll to D+4 the result is a tie, just like Rasmussen and Suffolk.
Here in Michigan a poll came out yesterday suggesting a tie. There are other polls here in Michigan showing Obama up, RCP has Obama up by a 4 point average. In Pennsylvania there are two polls which show Romney up 3-4 points while other polls show Obama up 3-4 points. Wisconsin has Obama up a point according to Rasmussen. What are we to make of these polls which show the race tightening in states that should be Obama’s? It will force Obama to shift money away from Ohio, a state where Romney seems to be picking up momentum. Because Obama has to defend Michigan and Pennsylvania, he’ll be less able to stop Romney’s momentum in Ohio.
Obama should be very nervous about Michigan and Pennsylvania. He and Romney have spent almost no money in those two states until very recently. Speaking for Michigan, we had almost no ads during the summer. Because of this, those who don’t pay close attention didn’t get to see Obama demonize Romney like the folks in Ohio did. As such, our first glimpse of Romney was either at his Convention or more likely at the first debate. We didn’t go into those events thinking the guy was a demon, we got to see him at his best as our introduction to him. As the debates have played out, people here in Michigan and Pennsylvania see Romney as Presidential, as someone who could do a good job as President. We didn’t have to get past the baggage of Obama’s personal attack ads because we never saw them.
This of course doesn’t mean Romney wins Michigan or Pennsylvania. These two states have built in Democrat advantages. But it does mean that independents are gravitating towards Romney, thus making this a race. In making it a race, Obama is being forced to pull resources from Ohio to defend Michigan and Pennsylvania. What should really make Democrats nervous is that if the polls showing a tie are accurate, most of the undecided vote will go against the incumbent and thus to Romney. If this happens, if these polls are accurate, Romney could take Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
But of course lets not get ahead of ourselves. There is a lot of time left in this election, an eternity. The Democrats advantage in Michigan and Pennsylvania is real and likely insurmountable for Romney. Obama can get his troops to the polls in Cleveland, that may be the difference between winning and losing. We’re still down in Wisconsin without a lot of undecided voters. We’re down by 2+ in Iowa and Nevada. This is still Obama’s race to win, make no mistake he still has a 66% chance of winning. But also make no mistake, Romney has a shot.