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As the Summer Olympics begin to wind down, I thought it would be a good idea for us to give another update on the “Road To 270” as we preview the November election.

Now the map has changed slightly, as we have made a few small alterations but let’s take a look at the “Base” states for both candidates before we get into some swing state analysis.

Obama’s Base:

  • Maine (all Congressional Districts), Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Maryland, Delaware, Hawaii, Wisconsin

Romney’s Base:

  • South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Alaska, Arizona

“Swing States” For Obama:

  • New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan

“Swing States” For Romney:

  • North Carolina, Missouri

Obama:  332
Romney:  206

At first glance, you can tell that this is not a good result for Mitt Romney.  We have taken Ohio & Florida away from his electoral haul and given it to Barack Obama.  But, if you are Mitt Romney, there is still clearly a path for 270.

Now you may have noticed that we slid Arizona to a “base state” for Mitt Romney.  There was a lot of speculation as summer began that President Obama had a shot at swinging the state to his side, but most polls have Romney with a relatively healthy lead.  That is not to say that AZ could be in play in 2016 and beyond but I do not think the state’s demographics have changed enough to warrant a serious charge for Democrats in 2012.

Colorado was originally on the cusp of being a base state for President Obama but after a new PPP poll, the state is now looking like a “lean-Obama state” as opposed to a solid blue one.  If I were a member of Team Romney, I’d really look into spilling a lot more resources into Colorado instead of retaining Arizona.

Florida remains a toss-up.  I stated in my last update that I thought Ohio would be the closest race in the 2012 Presidential Election.  Well, I am going to edit that and make FL the ultimate close race though a new poll shows Obama up six percentage points over Romney.  Still with the Voter ID laws and Florida’s purplish tint, I’m not confident in that projection yet.

Iowa seems to be inching bluer by the poll with the last poll, surveyed by PPP in July, had Obama up by 6 points.  The state hasn’t been polled recently though, but I’ll for now; give the state to Obama.

Michigan was originally a safe-Obama state but now it’s in swing state mode.  Obama has had a lead here all year, but the race is a lot closer than I originally would’ve thought.  Still as Real Clear Politics polling aggregate shows, it’s still a blue state.

Missouri is the only state from 2008 that I think the Democrats can swing to their side come November.  Rasmussen, a lean-GOP pollster, had Romney up by 6 last week.  The state is historically close, with Barack Obama losing to John McCain by less than a percentage point, and I would figure that 2012 would continue their close results.

Nevada has been holding steady with an Obama lead in the mid-single digits for quite some time.  Nothing new to add here.

New Hampshire (see, Nevada).

New Mexico (see, Colorado).

North Carolina is still leaning Mitt Romney even though a poll by PPP had Barack Obama up by 3.  Yes PPP tends to lean Democratic, but they are based in NC and usually have a pretty strong grasp on the state.  Nonetheless, it’s the first poll to have Obama up in some time so I’ll hold to it as a Romney state for now.

Ohio has been holding steady with a Barack Obama lead in the mid-single digits.  I find Ohio to be interesting as it might appear to be a “blue collar” state, and it is, but I think Mitt Romney is more toxic in OH than any other swing state.  Romney’s comments on how the the auto industry should’ve went bankrupt and his comments on enjoying “firing people” will not resonate well in OH.  Also, remember he barely beat Rick Santorum on Super Tuesday in the state.  Not feeling it yet.  I also do not think Rob Portman has enough star power to swing the state into Mitt Romney’s column.

Pennsylvania has those pesky new Voter ID laws that could really make the state perplexing come November.  Still, my comments on OH could be recycled for Pennsylvania only PA is a more blue state nationally than Ohio is.  I’m not sensing PA to be in any danger HOWEVER, a third party candidate could have some effect here on President Obama.

Virginia is another really interesting swing state.  It is no longer “red” but it’s not quite “blue” yet either, though I think the state is really shifting Democratically.  However, the state is a coin-flip this year and it’s going to the Obama column for the simple fact that he’s been ahead in most polls.  Still, it really could go to either candidate.  This also has third party implications.

Wisconsin (see, Arizona).

Third Party Implications

I’ve been debating on how to see the candidacies of Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green) & Virgil Goode (Constitution) for a while on here.  I don’t see any of them, obviously, as a major threat to take any state nor (outside of Johnson in New Mexico), any of them score in even the high-single digits in any state.

Still, I think all three of these candidates could play “spoiler” this year and make a few states tighter than what they seem.

Gary Johnson is clearly the one to watch.  He’s socially liberal, fiscally conservative and appears to be a more “hip” version of Ron Paul which really could make a few states interesting.  While Johnson should get around 10% in New Mexico, a state where he was a two-term Governor, I think the state to watch for him is Colorado.  In the PPP poll mentioned earlier in this article, the polling agency found out that when asked about Gary Johnson; Obama’s league shrinks to 4 percentage points.

What does that mean?  While Johnson’s final vote haul was long-thought to be comprised of 60% Romney voters and 40% Obama voters, he actually hurts the President more than the challenger.  Pay attention to him.  I could see his final vote total being more like the ’96 version of Ross Perot as opposed to the ’92 version, but he will still be the most legitimate third-party challenger since the oil magnate.

Virgil Goode is a one-state pony and that state is Virginia, where he served in the State House and eventually in Congress.  Goode probably won’t get the 9% of the vote that PPP saw in May, but he will certainly break north of a percentage point.  In a state in which Obama has only been up by a low-single digit amount, Goode could effectively kill Romney in VA.  Goode is a Constitution Party member who is running to the far-right of Romney on every social issue.

Jill Stein has not been mentioned much as she is a progressive challenger to President Obama (and not likely to hurt him in most swing states that might be more moderate); but I do have a new theory on her.  Stein, the Green Party candidate who ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts Governor against Mitt Romney in ’02, might hurt President Obama in Pennsylvania.

Why Pennsylvania?  It seems that Stein has taken a liking to the Philadelphia metro area as not only is her running mate (Cheri Honkala) an advocate from the area but she was recently arrested for protesting foreclosures in the city.

Now Stein is unlikely to break a percentage point anywhere, but if PA winds up being closer than anticipated; it could in part be from Jill Stein stealing a few Philadelphian votes.  Is that a long shot possibility?  Of course.  But I think it might be worth monitoring a little bit.

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