The election is winding down, and a lot of states have left the toss-up column. Who is going to win? Well, look at the numbers and make a decision. I am using Wikipedia's roundup of statewide polling, as well as my own work.
Anywa, lets start with a baseline. I am going to give Obama every state that he, Gore, and Kerry all won. That is Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland. This is a baseline of 242 electoral votes for Obama. Romney stopped playing for Michigan a while ago and polling indicates Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are not as toss-up as Romney would like to believe.
I will also give Romney every state that McCain won and Bush took twice. Those include Alaska, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. This gives Romney a baseline of 180 electoral votes.
There are two states that, despite showing movement in other elections, seem firm. Indiana went for Obama in 2008, but Romney has shown double digit leads, giving him 191 electoral votes. New Mexico has become a blue state, giving Obama 247 electoral votes.
Now, unless Romney can steal Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin, he starts with a severe deficit. Big states like Florida and Ohio remain open, and Obama wins would be disastrous for Romney. Let us look at every remaining swing state. For the sake of accuracy, I am ignoring all pre-October polls. Don't worry, because there have been plenty since then.
A true toss-up. When a Republican-leaning firm like Rasmussen shows an Obama lead and the New York Times shows a Romney lead, it is hard to get a handle on anything. Romney cracked fifty percent once, and Obama reached forty-nine percent once, but the rest have been smaller leads. I would put money on Obama, but it would not be with confidence.
Obama's lead has disappeared since the debate. Romney has led the last four polls, twice with fifty-one percent. Since the state alone would win the election for Obama, you can expect Romney to keep hitting the state hard and Obama responding in kind. A good chance of a Romney win in Florida.
Obama has done well here, leading by two points even in a Rasmussen poll. Only two October polls make this a bit muddier, and its small size makes it less important for most people. Obama could use the six electoral votes to pivot with others to mount a victory, so he will likely put more money in.
The best Romney has done in the state is to tie in a Rasmussen poll. Harry Reid is going to make sure Obama wins Nevada.
Massachusetts' commuters could be a key to a Romney victory. An American Research Group poll showed a four point Romney lead, but how much of this is debate hysteria is difficult to ascertain. Obama will likely pull it out based on regional trends, however.
Obama will keep fighting in the state, but it looks like Romney will take this one from Obama's column. Romney has cracked the fifty-percent threshold multiple times.
Assuming Romney wins Florida, Ohio is the most important state in the election. An Obama victory would put him at 265 electoral votes, and any other state would give him a win, except for a tie by New Hampshire. There is a reason there have been eleven polls in the state since October began. Obama has consistently led, but by small margins. This is a state that could depend on turnout or those lunatics who watch the debates.
What looked like a win for Obama earlier in the year has turned into a slight Romney favorite. While Obama cracked fifty percent early in the month, Romney has led the last three. Another true toss-up state.
So, looking at these results, I would give Romney North Carolina and give Obama Nevada. This leaves us with a 253-206 Obama lead. Obama wins the election with a win of either Florida or Ohio; Romney must win both. That is not to say Obama cannot win if he loses both; if Romney took both it would be a 253-253 tie. If Obama did as he should in Iowa and New Hampsire, he would be at 263, and at that both either Virginia or Colorado would win the election for Obama.
So what should you watch for on Election Day? Well, if Romney steals one of the Leaning Democrat states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan), then the election will go late into the night. However, if Obama holds them, it comes down to those two big states. Romney has tightened the race, but there are very big odds to overcome. It is probably a 75 percent chance of an Obama victory, as of today.