Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nevada, Wisconsin, Ohio ... Oh My

There's a lot of good articles floating around in the last couple of days about how close the national polls are and how President Obama has an advantage in the state level polling in swing states. A particularly good piece was posted on Huffington Post by Simon Jackman of Stanford outlining a statistical model of both the present national vote/EV split and the history of this split (statistically-speaking).

It got me to thinking about how to express Obama's advantage in the simplest terms, so here it is: Wisconsin, Nevada, and Ohio.

Now let me flesh that out a bit. Take a look at the map below. It shows what I believe to be the state of the race in the most general terms.

Every red state and blue state on the map is highly likely to go to Romney (red) or Obama (blue). Put another way, I don't think there is a single red or blue state on that map that any reasonable person would dispute.

Obama has 237 electoral votes effectively "in the bank" and Romney has 191. There are 9 "battleground" states totalling 110 electoral votes. I've ranked these 9 battleground states below in order of their probability of going for Obama according to Nate Silver's blog:

WI - 79.0%
NV - 73.1%
OH - 70.3%
IA - 65.9%
NH - 62.6%
CO - 52.9%
VA - 46.9%
FL - 32.6%
NC - 15.0%

Notice the three at the top of the list; Wisconsin, Nevada, and Ohio. By the way, Drew Linzer also estimates that Obama would win these three states today predicting the President would get 51.7%, 52.0%, and 51.1% respectively in Nevada, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

Now you can see why I've been saying since ... forever ... that Ohio is the whole ballgame. Let's assume Obama wins the three of those battlegrounds he's most likely to win; Wisconsin, Nevada, and Ohio. Here's the new map:

Obama is now at 271, 1 more than what he needs to win. It isn't just that he needs 3 states out of 9. It is that he needs the 3 states that he's most likely to win. Unless Romney can pick off at least one of these states, he can't win.

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