A Last Look at the Battleground States

On October 24, I reported on the polling data in the 11 battleground states–Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin–that will likely decide the election. Here are the latest data, compared to the earlier totals, courtesy of Real Clear Politics (RCP), on the eve of the election. (Electoral vote totals for each state are in parentheses.)

In Colorado (9), where Obama beat John McCain by 9 points in 2008, the race was a virtual tie, with only two-tenths of a percentage point separating the candidates on October 24. Before the first the debate, which was held in Denver, Obama had a three-point lead. As of yesterday, the president had inched forward to a 1.5 point edge, 48.8 to 47.3, in the historically Republican state.

In Florida (29), RCP gave Romney a 1.8-point lead on October 24, in a state Obama won by 2.8 points in 2008. As of yesterday, Romney’s edge there had shrunk to 1.5 percent, 49.7 to 48.2, in a state where Jewish Americans and the elderly will likely cast the decisive votes one way or the other.

In Iowa (6), which Obama carried by a 9.5-point margin in 2008, the president maintained a lead of two percentage points on October 24. Yesterday his lead was 2.4 points, 48.7 to 46.3, in a state where Democrats have carried five of the last six presidential elections.

In Michigan (16), Obama led by five points on October 24, despite a landslide 16.4-point victory in 2008. As of yesterday, Obama’s lead had shrunk to 3.8 points, 49.2 to 45.4. A Romney win here would be shocking, given that Michigan has voted Democrat in the last five presidential elections, and is a state where union workers, especially those in the auto industry, remain tried and true Democrats.

In Nevada (6), Obama held a 2.8-point lead on October 24, in a state he won by 12.5 points four years ago. Yesterday that lead remained exactly the same, at 50.2 to 47.4, despite Nevada’s reputation as the state with both the highest unemployment rate and the highest home foreclosure rate in the nation.

In New Hampshire (4) the race had tightened considerably in the two weeks leading up to October 24, despite a 9.6-point Obama victory in 2008. A 50-44 lead had been narrowed to a 1.4-point edge for the president. As of yesterday, that edge has widened marginally with the president maintaining a 2-point lead, 49.9 to 47.9, in a state that is fiscally conservative, but socially liberal.

In North Carolina (15), where Obama eked out a razor thin 0.3 percent victory in 2008, the move had been solidly in Romney’s direction, from a dead heat three weeks before October 24, to a 5-point lead. Romney’s lead has shrunk to 3 points as of yesterday, 49.2 to 46.2, in a state that has voted Democrat only twice in 40 years (for Carter and Obama), and one where Democrat campaign strategist Paul Begala admitted to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Democrats had essentially conceded the race to the Republican challenger.

In Ohio (18), a state no Republican has ever won the presidency without taking, Obama’s former lead of 5.5 had shrunk to 1.9 on October 24. The state where Obama beat McCain by almost five points in 2008 has now moved back in the president’s direction again, and Obama holds a 2.9 edge, 50.0 to 47.1 as of yesterday.

In Pennsylvania (20), the president’s lead had narrowed from almost nine points to 4.8 on October 24, in a state he carried by a comfortable 10.3-point margin in 2008. As of yesterday, the president’s lead had narrowed to a 3.8-point lead, 49.4 to 45.6.

Unsurprisingly, Romney plans to spend today making two final campaign stops: one in Pittsburgh and one in Cleveland.

In Virginia (13), the race had tightened, from a five-point Obama lead in September, to a 48-48 dead heat October 24. Virginia is traditionally a red state whose only Democratic presidential vote in the last 40 years went to Obama by 6.3 percent in 2008. As of yesterday, the president had edged in front by a razor-thin 0.3-point lead, 48.0 to 47.7.

Finally in Wisconsin (10), a state Obama won convincingly by almost 14 points in 2008, a 6-point lead two weeks before October 24 had dwindled to 2.7 points. As of yesterday, Obama had increased his margin back to 4.2 points, 50.4 to 46.2.

Looking at these totals, it would appear that much is in Obama’s favor. Yet, testerday, on Florida’s TalkRadio 610 WIOD’s Rich Minaya Show, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made an interesting observation. He noted that in presidential elections, the incumbent’s last point totals tend to be the totals with which he winds up, and that anything under 50 percent is an ominous sign. As the above battleground state polls reveal, the president has crossed that threshold only in Ohio and Wisconsin. Furthermore, RCP has Obama’s overall lead nationally below the 50 percent threshold as well, at 48.8 percent, compared to 48.1 percent for Romney.

In short, this election is too close to call, and as such has brought out all sorts of “what if” scenarios, most of which center around a possible reprise of the 2000 election, where Al Gore won the popular vote, but George Bush prevailed in the Electoral College. It has also brought out thousands of lawyers to monitor the process–and UN representatives as well. Ironically, those monitors, aka the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will not be looking for voter fraud, but voter suppression–by conservatives.

With a modicum of luck, America will know who is running the country by tomorrow. If not, expect the rancor that has seemingly become part of the American fabric to ramp up considerably. Whatever the outcome, here’s hoping Americans respect the process. It’s that respect that informs an integral part of American exceptionalism.

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  • Banastre Tarleton

    Obama is CLEARLY going to win all of the swing states outside of the Ole South on narrow margins …only colorado remains too close to call ..Romney takes Florida , N Car and Virginia

    Obama 290 ECVs…..

    Obama has spent 4 years building the most formidable election machine in US History , while Romney has been amateurish , disorganized and merely following in Obama's wake

    Willard Mitt Romney …….R I P

    • aspacia

      I hope you enjoy eating crow.

    • Mary Sue

      that's assuming that turnout is the same in 2008, when Obama was an Unknown Equation, as there will be this time, when Obama's been shown to be the Second Coming of Jimmy Carter.

      Were you even alive during Carter?

  • Chezwick

    Romney needs Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado to win. Stranger things have happened.

    It's one thing for Dick Morris to be predicting a landslide…he's been so thoroughly wrong before ("Condi vs Hillary", "McCain will win") that it's come to be expected. But when intelligent men like Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove convince themselves that Romney is going to win, it suggests one of two things:

    1) He will indeed

    2) Man's capacity to embrace the delusions of wishful thinking extends to both the brilliant and the well-informed

    Let's hope to God it's #1!

  • jmm64

    Romney was not my first, second, or third choice, but I will crawl over ground glass to vote for him. After 4 years of Obama's policies, it was an easy decision to vote for Romney.

  • 4LuvOfCountry

    Made a SUPER FUNNY blog post about Obama's Facebook Timeline showing what a crook he is. Please send to all the undecideds and independents you know so we can get the votes for ROMNEY. THANKS!

  • Sound&Fury

    The outcome will rest on turn-out. It's time for another Chick-fil-A revolution!

  • mlcblog

    Hope that those dirty, rotten cheaters will respect the process? not me! I just pray that God will sort it all out and save us (from ourselves). I have never bought the "proven" history that All great civilizations can only live about 200 years. Nonsense! Those civilizations did not have what we have, especially the presence of God in my opinion and they did not have the advanced design for government. This 200-year theory was a book or two written by Will and Ariel Durant in the 1950's and supposedly ever so wise. I say humbug to their theory. It is only that. I believe the USA can recover and go on for many years to continue being the light of the world.

    • Chezwick

      The debt trajectory is absolutely validating of Durant's theory. God and the Constitution are all well and good, but neither will modify the debt trajectory. That task is left to the politicians and – most of all – the voters. And the voters show no signs of wanting to dismantle the entitlement state that is that root of our pending insolvency.

      • mlcblog

        It's obvious you've got a valid point here. I did not know enough about the Durants' theory. However, I can still advance mine and that is This great civilization did not have to break down. It is not written in cement that all civilizations have to end. Perhaps it is. There are laws of life and laws of nature that are undeniably true. I still have to wonder if we had trained our children about how money is made, about our economic system, and a govt that ensures our freedom but requires moral rectitude, would we then have been able to prolong the good time. As it is, I am in mourning for our once-great country. Some wise person told me When there are more of them than there are of us, it's all over. Ben Franklin pointed that out, too.

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