Up until the first presidential debate, polling for Romney looked pretty bleak. Recently, there’s been a recent Romney surge in polling on the popular vote. But this close in the election, is it enough for Romney to win?
Let’s take a look at the state of the polls.
The following map from Real Clear Politics shows the breakdown of states that are either solid or leaning Republican or Democrat, as well as swing states.
According to this morning’s Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll, Wisconsin has Obama and Romney tied at 49%. Last week, Obama had a 2 point margin over Romney. Given that Wisconsin is quite literally, the home of the progressive movement, this is an impressive swing.
(There are many who would dismiss Rasmussen’s polls as ‘right leaning’ or ‘suspicious’ because they don’t release their methodology. However, during the past two election cycles, Rasmussen has been the most accurate polling outfit, which gives some legitimacy to their poll numbers.)
If Mitt Romney can win Wisconsin, he scores a major victory over Obama.
Two other important swing states are Virginia and Florida.
Depending on the poll, Romney has anywhere from a 1 point to a 5 point margin over Obama in Florida. The Real Clear Politics Average has Romney up by 1.8 points.
Romney is also currently up by 2 points in Virginia according to Rasmussen.
To clench the electoral college, Romney must win both Florida and Virginia. Florida has 29 electoral votes, and Virginia has 13.
Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes. If Romney wins Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin, along with the solidly Republican states in the South, he has 243 of the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.
In swing state North Carolina, Romney has been ahead consistently in the polls for the past month. Colorado also has had Romney up, albeit by a slim margin. If Romney takes both of these states, he adds another 24 electoral college votes, giving him 267 of the 270 needed to win.
Of the remaining swing states, Obama is ahead in Nevada by about a 2 point spread. He holds Michigan by between 3 and 7 points, depending on the poll.
In New Hampshire, Obama is currently up by 1.1 points, according to the RCP average. However, Rasmussen has Romney up by 2.
If Romney wins all of the swing states mentioned above, then he only needs New Hampshire’s 4 electoral votes to put him at 271 electoral votes- 1 vote over the 270 needed to win.
Even if Obama wins Pennsylvania, where he’s up by 5, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Nevada, along with the solidly Democratic state, he only has 267 electoral votes.
The map below depicts this outcome.
The result of this scenario is a Romney presidency. It would be historical in that, for the first time since 1972, the presidency could be won without Ohio.
Obviously, this is only one of many scenarios that could unfold on election night, and it is a bit of a stretch for Romney- his triumph depends on a series of wins in tough battleground states, including some where he’s currently behind in the polls. But it is possible. And much more likely than polling from a month ago shows. And with just under two weeks until the election, it may become more likely.