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Disclaimer:  I am one of the many households affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Living in the suburbs of South/Central New Jersey, we didn’t have it as bad as some of our fellow residents.  However, in our own backyard, we had two downed trees (including one damaging our roof) and a parcel of our fence was destroyed.  Thankfully we are all okay and the damage is merely cosmetic.  My best wishes to everyone who was affected by the storm and I continue to hope you all stay safe.

With Hurricane Sandy approaching, some people rightfully forgot that the 2012 Presidential Election is now officially a week away.  So we will now provide what we assume (barring any shocking state polls) will be our last look at the 2012 election!

As you can see, Mitt Romney had clearly established some momentum since our last look in August.  The map has seen some new additions and as the election nears, both campaigns have been spending ad dollars in numerous other states.

Obama’s Base:

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

Romney’s Base:

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

“Swing States” For Obama:

  • New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Swing States” For Romney:

  • Florida, North Carolina

Obama: 305
Romney: 235

Now at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be a completely tight race.  Since our August 9th outlook, all Romney has done is swing Florida in his direction.  However, I do believe there is a lot of room for volatility in a few of the major swing states.  Let’s take a look at the state-by-state analysis.

There was a time where I thought Colorado would be a base state for President Obama given the state’s quick lean to the Democratic Party.  However, I appear to have jumped the gun a bit as polls have shown Colorado to be a tight race.  Real Clear Politics polling aggregate shows a tie between President Obama and Mitt Romney but the Rasmussen Reports poll that showed Romney with a 4-point lead looks to be a potential outlier.  Given the push Barack Obama has made in Colorado, I’m putting the state in his column but I fully expect this one to be decided by at least Wednesday AM.

Florida as always looks to be one of the bigger toss-ups on the map, but I’ve given it to Mitt Romney for now.  The state has been close for pretty much the entire polling cycle but outside of a Public Policy Polling survey that showed a slim Obama 1-pt. lead, most of the polls have given Romney the advantage.  Also, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight gives Romney a 64% chance of taking the Sunshine State and that is good enough for me to tip FL to the Republicans.  Like Colorado, this one will be a tight one as well.

Iowa has appeared to stabilize to gently tip to Barack Obama.  While the NBC/Marist poll that showed the incumbent up by 8 appears to be an outlier, it doesn’t do enough to shake up the state.  Now a lot of hay has been made by the endorsement of The Des Moines Registrar but I can’t see how a newspaper endorsement really helps any candidate in this day & age.  Still, as of now, I like Obama’s chances to win the Hawkeye State.

Michigan has definitely tightened from 2008, but Romney has yet to lead a poll in Michigan for quite some time.  They definitely made the race competitive, but it seems that it wasn’t enough.  Of all swing states, I think Obama can exhale here.

Minnesota is new to the swing state columns, but that doesn’t mean I think Mitt Romney suddenly has a shot to take it.  However, Team Romney has recently put millions into the state which has sprouted some questions like “Does Romney know something we don’t?”.  I am not one of those who think it’s all bluster by the Romney campaign either, but I can’t see how Romney can swing the state in 6 days.

Now why Minnesota?  My best bet would be that by investing in Minnesota, Romney can also flood the airwaves in neighboring Iowa, Michigan & Wisconsin.  Minnesota might not be called right away on Election Night, but I need to see more polls to see if the only state that voted for Walter Mondale in ’84 votes for Romney in ’12.

Missouri is now a base state for Mitt Romney.

Nevada might be the best bet of all these states (sans Michigan and Minnesota) for Obama to win.  The polls have been close all year, but have mostly been stable, and given the Latino community in Nevada and how the state’s party is in disarray; I’m leaning this race to the President.

New Hampshire is the only New England state on here and Mitt Romney has remained competitive all cycle, as per usual given the Granite State’s independent streak from the rest of the region.  Why Obama?  Most polls, sans Rasmussen, have had a slim Obama lead and I’m willing to side with them.  This is another race that will be called late, I presume.

New Mexico is now a base state for President Obama.

North Carolina has been the subject of scrutiny as of late from the Democratic side of the aisle.  There have been whispers, that might be a bit louder now, that the President has all but conceded the state to Mitt Romney.  Given North Carolina’s history and the lack of competitiveness in the Governor’s race, there are signs that those whispers are fact.  I could see North Carolina being the same to Barack Obama as Michigan is to Mitt Romney.

Still most polls show Romney up by mid-single digits or more.  The only wild card appears to be the “get out to vote” team that President Obama has.  One of the main advantages that an incumbent has is that they can usually prepare for their re-election bids while the opponent is usually trying to shore up their base.  From all I’ve heard, it does appear the Obama GOTV team in North Carolina is magnificent.  Still, I’m not sure if that will be enough for now.

Ohio is of course the big prize of the electoral map.  If Romney wins OH, then I can only assume he would be in the midst of having a very amazing night that would lead to him being the 45th President of the United States.  If Obama wins the state, it would nearly push him over the edge in getting over 270.

The good news for President Obama is that outside of a Rasmussen Reports poll, he has been either tied or ahead in the polls of Ohio.  The bad news is that the state is regardless very tight and has been ad-bombed throughout the election cycle.  The main draw for President Obama is the backing of unions and the auto industry’s revival in the state.  Will it be enough though?  I lean to a yes.

Pennsylvania (see, Minnesota) but not quite.  Pennslyvania is more “swingy” than MN, but the Democrats natural advantage in the state makes it a lean-Obama state.  Of course, the middle of Pennsylvania is famously red; I don’t see it being enough.

Virginia might be the most likely of these “Swing States For Obama” to go Romney, even moreso than Colorado.  Yet, most polls continue to show the President hanging strong.  I think this state’s Presidential and Senate races are a dead-heat as well, and the only reason I’m leaning Obama is simply due to the Northern VA blue tint.  But, this will be a long battle on Election Night.

Wisconsin (see, Michigan).

Third Party Impact

Well, I will give a quick update on the third party candidates because I’m sure some backers of them are curious.

Gary Johnson appears to be a threat to Obama and Romney in Colorado, Ohio & New Mexico.  I’m not buying him getting more than 2% of the national total, but he’s clearly done a decent job at exciting the Ron Paul fanbase enough to register nationally.  I’m curious how many states Johnson cracks 5% in, if any.

Virgil Goode’s impact appears to have died down as the most recent poll showed him earning less than 1% of the vote in his homestate of Virginia.  Still, that might be all it takes for him to give the seat to Barack Obama.

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