After some recent polling, Obama has definitely improved his position from a month ago when I wrote a post that rather upset some of my twitter followers. That post was true at the time: if he kept losing ground as he had been in the previous month, Romney would probably be ahead at this point.
Supporters of President Obama had one thing they could cling to despite close or tied nationwide polling: Obama’s apparent superior position in the Electoral College.
However, this position has now been severely impacted and is under threat of going away completely.
In the past month, Obama has dropped from having an excellent 263 “strong” or “weak” electoral votes to only having 228 Electoral Votes, which is alarmingly low of an incumbent President looking for re-election.
Ohio and Florida now both are in the lean Romney category, making the Electoral College count with leaners Obama 295 Romney 243 – still a win for Obama assuming he wins every state he leads in, but it’s the best total by far for Romney so far. If you give Romney Missouri, the total falls to Obama 285 Romney 253. You give Romney the next two lowest hanging fruits – Colorado and Iowa – whose averages are now within 2%, and you get Obama 270 Romney 268.
I suppose the one plus for Obama is that Romney still has to cut into Obama’s lead by 3% across the board to still get enough Electoral Votes to win (next on the list is Nevada and Virginia, where Obama has leads of 3%), but Obama’s position is much more precarious now.
Two weeks ago, and especially a month ago, it would have taken a near miracle for Romney to have won the election had it been held then. Now, it wouldn’t take very much for Romney to win with a 287-251 total.
We saw some tightening a month or so ago, but then it stalled for a couple of weeks. Now the tightening appears to be happening again. If we have another round of tightening later, Obama may soon find himself trailing in the Electoral College as well as in the polls.
The race seems to have gotten to a point where it has stabilized for a bit. The electoral college count hasn’t changed since May 16th, which will be 2 weeks tomorrow. It is stuck stubbornly at Obama 246, Romney 181, Too Close to Call 111. The county with “leaners” has fluctuated some, but Obama has over 300 electoral votes in that count.
To boot, all 303 of Obama’s electoral votes – even the “lean” ones, are in states where he leads by a margin of at least 4%. That’s not too bad of a spot to be in right now. Sure, that can change, but barring a national crisis or a dramatic change in the economy, it’s hard to see the race changing much until the late summer when we get close to Romney choosing his running mate and the national conventions.
Recent polling definitely seem to suggest a slight shift away from Obama in places not in the Northeast recently.
In North Carolina, Rasmussen shows Romney up 8% (which I don’t believe), but PPP released a show showing Obama up 1%, but with a poll where Democrats had a 14% party ID advantage. They only had an 11% advantage in 2008 and I would expect it to be less this year, so the chances that Obama is actually leading in North Carolina is slim. If I had to make a guess, I’d probably say Romney leads by between 1 or 2% in North Carolina right now.
Next is Wisconsin, which after having 3 straight polls from late March and April showing Obama ahead by at least 9, now has had 3 straight polls showing Obama ahead by less than 5, putting that state into the “Too Close to Call” category.
In Oregon, a Survey USA poll has put the margin in that state at 4%, though there is no 2nd poll to confirm that the race is that close there.
There is some good news for Obama in recent polling, though. Northeastern states, such as New Jersey and New Hampshire are showing that they are solidifying around Obama, while Michigan had another poll showing that the margin there is still between about 5 and 6%.
One has to see if this is some sort of short-term reaction to Obama’s gay marriage announcement or if this strengthening is due to Romney not having solidified his base yet in some areas and that this trend will stop after another week or two. However, if any more states become toss ups, especially Michigan or Pennsylvania, then Obama has real reason to worry that people see Romney, and they at least don’t dislike him enough to not vote for him over Obama.