Welcome to the September 14th state of the race. In this edition we will compare what the race for president looks like compared to two weeks ago, at the start of the month when we were between the RNC and DNC conventions.
As before, I’ll evaluate the race using five different metrics:
- Current state of the race with TCtC states
- Current state of the race with leaners
- Obama EV total in states where he has 50% in the average
- Obama EV total in states where he has 47% in the average
- Electoral Vote total assuming a 2:1 undecided swing to Romney
State of the Race: Electoral Count including Too Close to Call
Obama: 241 (+20)
Romney: 191 (NC)
TCtC: 106 (-20)
Obama gains back Michigan and New Hampshire in his column from 2 weeks ago, pushing his total back up to 241, roughly where it was 4 weeks ago or so. Romney is still holding steady to his 191 number as Missouri has stayed pretty solidly in his column for the past couple of months.
Getting back to 241 is important for Obama because it opens up several avenues for winning for him. For example, winning Florida alone would get him to 270. Winning Ohio and Virginia gets him to 272. Winning Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa (and losing Florida, Ohio, AND Virginia) still gets him to 272. Putting Michigan back into Obama’s column makes the math much easier for Obama.
State of the Race: Electoral Count including leaners
Obama: 332 (NC)
Romney: 206 (NC)
This number hasn’t changed since my first report at the start of August. It shows a notable lack of progress by the Romney campaign in even taking a lead in any of the states he needs to win.
State of the Race: Electoral Count assuming Obama needs 50% in the average
Romney: 353 (-5)
Obama: 185 (+5)
This metric is and will always be the most pessimistic for Obama. It essentially assumes that if Obama isn’t at 50% in a state, he will lose that state. Historical patterns show that this just isn’t very realistic, but it is a metric nonetheless.
Even though this metric hasn’t changed a lot, it has narrowed in each of the State of the Race posts so far. Obama started with 169 EVs in states where he averages 50%. That’s now up to 185.
State of the Race: Electoral Count assuming Obama needs 47% in the average and leads
Obama: 322 (+6)
Romney: 216 (-6)
This is, I think, a better although not perfect metric than the previous one. For the second straight time, Obama gains here as well. In fact, out of all the states Obama leads, there are now only two in which he doesn’t also get at least 48% in the average: Iowa and New Hampshire, worth a whopping 10 EVs.
State of the Race: Electoral Count assuming undecideds break 2-to-1 toward Romney
Obama: 317 (+33)
Romney: 221 (-33)
I still feel this scenario may be the most realistic, though we’ll see about that on election day. Obama does the best he has done out of the three State of the Race reports so far by far. In fact, Obama is in a situation now where he wins every state he leads in, except for Iowa and Colorado, even if you give Romney 2/3 of the remaining unallocated votes.
And in a way, this could be worse for Romney. This metric makes some admittedly flawed assumptions including 1) everyone who doesn’t support a candidate right now will decide to vote and 2) no one will support any 3rd party candidates. Both of those are pretty bad assumptions, but it makes the math easier.
This could affect a state like Colorado, which Romney wins by 0.4% in this scenario. Just setting aside 1% of the unallocated voters for, say, a third party candidate would flip the state back to Obama. It could also make other borderline states like Florida, Wisconsin, and Virginia more secure for Obama.