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What are the key states for Obama vs Romney?

20 September 2012

It’s becoming clear which will be the battleground states of the 2012 US Presidential election. With less than seven weeks to go, just nine states look competitive: Colorado and Nevada in the Southwest; Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin in the Midwest; Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in the South; and New Hampshire in the Northeast. Of the safe states, Barack Obama can count on 18 (plus DC), against Mitt Romney’s 23.

Romney’s path to victory looks very tough for two main reasons. First, as the below map (which I produced at shows, the safe states give Obama 237 electoral votes to Romney’s 191. That means Obama needs just 33 of the 110 electoral votes available in the nine competitive states to give him the 270 he needs for victory. And second, Obama is currently the favourite in eight of those nine states (all of them bar North Carolina).

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The President looks particularly good in Nevada and Wisconsin — he leads by about 5 points in each. If he takes those, he’d be on 253 electoral votes and either one of Florida or Ohio would be enough to get him over the finish line. To stop him, Romney would have to win both of those and at least three more of the remaining five. Even if Romney mounts an impressive comeback in the last few weeks of the campaign, it’s hard to see him pulling that off. That’s why Obama’s the clear favourite, with the odds against his re-election at around 1/3.

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  • Sarah_Golmes

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  • 700islands

    Mr. Jones,

    There’s a very good article over at RealClear Politics you should read on why Romney might just win. Its here:

    The gist is in the “stats” as Americans say. History suggests that the race will tighten by an average of 3 points. Obama leads by 3 points. The polls being reported are of registered voters, if you turn on the filter for “likely to vote” Obama’s lead diminishes. Apparently there is a collation between a President’s favorability rating and his final vote, Obama’s rating is right on the cusp of what he needs. But, apparently Democratic President’s ratings tend to be slightly overstated, while Republican ones tend to be slightly understated. Lastly, with the economy still down Romney has only just been freed from the spending restraints placed on a primary election. He is now the candidate and can spend. He will turn on the taps. Obama has already fired his shots at Romney and the fact is he has not knocked him out. This is a competitive race. I am not going to say that Romney will win, but its a lot closer than people in the UK seem to think


    As I posted yesterday Nate Silver of NYT’s (a pro-DEM newspaper) has said that the Procustean exercise to adjust actual poll results to the firms’ estimates of the GOP/DEM/IND vote-share produces an ‘INHOUSE BIAS’ ranging from 2% to GOP for to 6% to DEM.s. Also for a statistical reason the polls need 1000 interviewees but for financial reasons many are below this. Academics have complained about the aritmetical average used by the much-used because it does NOT weight the results by sample-size. Polls tend to give a result favoured by the commissioner and the US media for a UK observer are gob-smackingly biased to DEM/Obama. (A poll commisioned by a TU before the 1st Boris/Livingston contest showed LIvingston WINNING BY TEN POINTS.) Also LIKELY voters should be used rather than registered voters. If you look at swing-state polls and adjust for these factors the results favour Romney. Recent polls have Romney ahead by 3 in Iowa, behind by 2 in Nevada and by 2 in Wisconsin which O won in 2008 by THIRTEEN . NINE POINTS. In Colorado he is ahead by 2 points, in Florida behind by .5 (average of 2 reliable polls), in New Hampshire AHEAD BY THREE POINTS, in Ohio behind by ONE POINT, and in Virginia behind by ONE POINT. does use the crude arithmetical average, but as Karl predicted the movement is net from O/toss-up to R – FORTY electoral college votes so far.
    University of Colorado academics have called every election correctly since they started in 1980 by using a model including economic data. To my surprise they called
    this one between the conventions and by FIFTY-THREE to forty-seven to R.
    The only president ever to be re-elected with unemployment above 7.2% was FDR in 1936 and he ha got it down from 21 to 14%. Unemployment has been above 8% for FORTY-THREE months.

  • Wilhelm

    California in the 1950s was a WASP Republican state. Due to the 1965 Emanuel Cellar / Ted Kennedy Immigration Act, the Democrats have brought in 10 million immigrants into California ( only 100,000 are taxpayers ) this has changed the state into a Democrat voting region.

    The Labour party has copied the idea with Neathergate.

    • AnotherDaveB

      There’s a good article on California’s problems that points the finger at public sector unions, link below.

    • DavidH

      OK, let’s return to the 1950s. Everything was so much better then…

      • Wilhelm

        DavidH ” Let’s return to the 1950s, everything was so much better.”

        Quite so , everyone knew their place. Cultural Marxists have used the blacks to subvert WASP culture.

  • Charlie the Chump

    Both choices are duds as usual. Politics in the US isnt working if it throws up this dross.
    Oh and Nick says Sorry, so sorry . . .

    • AnotherDaveB

      Romney and Ryan look promising.

      • Daniel Maris

        Ryan’s OK. Romney’s dull and stupid, slow on his feet and lacking any big punches.

        • wireworm

          Can you imagine Romney at PMQs in the House of Commons?

          • AnotherDaveB

            If Mr Romney was PM, I would have confidence in him addressing the budget deficit problem. I don’t see that happening with Messrs Cameron, Miliband, or Clegg.

        • AnotherDaveB

          I think he’ll make a good president. I don’t much care how good any of them are at waffling on TV.

  • Steve Zacharanda

    I’m volunteering for Obama in Florida, always where it is at and has the best parties! This Brummie cannot wait! Last time was about as epic as can be!

    • DL

      From one Obama supporter to another, thanks for volunteering. I do as well, but as I am in New York it’s a bit like preaching to the choir, but what the hey….

      • Wilhelm

        Zacharanda and DL voting for Obama, a couple of self loathing whites ?

  • AnotherDaveB

    Mr Obama doesn’t seem to think he “looks particularly safe in Wisconsin”. He’s campaigning there.

  • Frank P

    What the American electorate needs are statistics like these fired at them from a wider base:

    • Augustus

      Frank, I rather like this piece from National Review: “As detached from reality as Marie Antoinette milking cows with Sèvres buckets, liberal journalists fail to grapple in any serious way with the ‘crisis of liberalism’ at home and abroad, preferring instead to compose billets-doux to Barack praising his basketball prowess and panegyrics on Michelle’s dexterity as a horticulturalist.”
      Obama is a radical “black”, who is Muslim in his thinking and his behaviour, and a socialist-communist who declares openly in favour of redistribution of wealth and making people reliant on government hand-outs. If there’s any real hope in November Mitt Romney should win in a landslide. The MSM is losing, along with Obama, any semblance of trust and legitimacy.

      • DavidH

        “Muslim in his thinking and his behaviour” – what is that supposed to mean? These are just scare tactics to link the words “Obama”, “Muslim” and “communist” in the same sentence with no attempt at logic in between. Bush played the same trick repeatedly and successfully with “9/11” and “Iraq”.

        There’s much to criticize about Obama’s policies and track record but can’t we engage intelligently rather than just throwing insults?

        It seems that the choice of Paul Ryan as running mate was a surprisingly honest attempt to put forward the real arguments against Obama in the areas of taxation, goverment spending and the role of government. Ryan stands for all those issues where there is a substantive conservative argument against current policy.

        Unfortunately, it seems that may not be enough to win the day. Something to do with Romney’s 47% theory, no doubt. So yes, let’s return to the name calling, tribal politics and scare tactics that might just sway enough people to vote against the “black, muslim, communist radical”.

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