Reëlection Watch: October 27, 2012
Each week brings an ever increasing flood of data. For this reason, today is the last weekly version of Reëlection Watch. Starting next week, Reëlection Watch and Senate Watch will be combined in a format that will appear for the last three slots prior to the election.
What’s the latest news? Let’s dive in and see.
Since October 15, in the national popular vote matchup of President Barack Obama versus Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the Republican has led in more polls than he has trailed, though by a 2:1 ratio, which has converged to a national lead of just under a point. As I’ve noted before, and will note again, the national polls are to the right of the state polls, and state polls have historically been more accurate than their national counterparts. Nonetheless, the President’s national poll position is now 2.5 points behind President George W. Bush’s on this date eight years ago, and 9.5 points below his position four years ago.
Since the first Presidential debate, Obama and Romney have been effectively tied in their favorability polls.
For the third week, the national polls suggest that Obama might lose the upcoming election.
As of yesterday, Intrade had Obama at 63, up a point from last week.
Overall, things on the national level remain sketchy for the President.
Early voting is now available in all states. The green states are accepting absentee ballots, but not early in-person ballots, while the gold states are accepting both.
Sixteen states allow in-person voting today; of the battleground states, this includes Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Michigan and Virginia don’t offer early in-person voting.
North Carolina’s mail voting has favored Republicans by a two-to-one ratio, but their early in-voting has favored Democrats by about the same ratio. Both forms have had roughly the same number of votes, 150,000 each. That’s about eight percent of the 2008 total.
Florida’s mail voting has been closer, with Republicans leading Democrats by four points.
The Electoral College
Here’s what the Electoral College looks like, based on current polling data:
Here are the key states, from reddest to bluest:
- North Carolina was polled three times in the past week. Rasmussen has Romney up by six, Public Policy Polling sees a tie, and Grove found Obama up by three. Because this is indicative of a momentum shift, but it’s probably too little, too late, North Carolina moves to “Leans Romney”. Intraders give Romney an 80 percent chance of carrying the Tarheel State, unchanged from last week. Nate Silver gives Romney an 81 percent chance here.
- Florida got polled four times in the past week. Angus Reid and Gravis found Romney ahead by five points and one point, respectively, while Mellman sees the race as tied and Grove saw a two point lead for the President. Accounting for house bias, Romney still has a small polling lead. Florida stays “Likely Romney”, based on the consistency of pro-Romney polls in the Sunshine State, the trend in Romney’s direction, and the systemic advantage Romney already enjoys. Floridians have been able to vote for nearly a month. Intraders give Romney a 72 percent chance of picking up Florida’s 29 electoral votes, up eight from last week. Nate’s model is less confident, giving Romney “only” a 65 percent chance. Were it not for the systemic advantage, I’d agree with Nate’s number. With that advantage, the Intrade market looks closer to the truth to me.
- Virginia was polled six times this past week. Wenzel Strategies, Rasmussen, and Fox News all find Romney ahead by two points. Mellman sees Obama ahead by one, while Public Policy Polling’s two polls came away with Obama up by two and five points. The more recent has the bigger lead. All in all, it’s still close enough to keep Virginia a “Tossup”, though it looks a little better for Obama this week than it did last week. Virginians have been able to vote for quite a while now. The Intrade market has Romney at 58 percent, up seven from a week ago. Nate’s model disagrees, giving Obama a 54 percent chance. I think Nate’s is the more likely number.
- Colorado had five polls published this week. Rasmussen was the only one to see a Romney lead, at four points. NBC/Marist saw the race tied. Keating Research, Grove, and Public Policy Polling all found Obama up by three. Colorado stays a “Tossup”, though shaded bluer than last week. Intraders agree with me; the Colorado market has Obama at 51 percent, up a point from last week. Nate’s model is more bullish on the President, pegging him at 57 percent. I think reality lies somewhere between the two numbers, at 54.
- New Hampshire had four polls published this week. American Research Group and Rasmussen, both Republican-leaning, show Romney ahead by two points. UNH and Lake Research Partners have Obama up by nine and three points, respectively. UNH looks like an outlier, so I discount it somewhat. Accounting for house bias, ARG and Rasmussen end up at about the breakeven point. On balance, it’s just enough to push the Granite State one column to the left. New Hampshire now “Leans Obama”. On Intrade, Obama has the lead at 57 percent, down five from last week. Nate’s model has Obama at 69 percent. I’m not quite as bullish as Nate is, but I’d put New Hampshire at 60 for Obama.
- Iowa was polled twice this week. Rasmussen saw the race tied, while Public Policy Polling saw Obama up by two. Looking at this week alone would put Iowa in an Obama +1 position, but the bigger picture suggests this is a little too low. There’s not enough data in two polls to poll Iowa into “Tossup”, so Iowa remains “Leans Obama”, a position it has held during the entire time ballots have been able to be cast. That said, this is one to watch over the next several days. On Intrade, Obama has the lead here, with a 65 percent chance, up two from last week. Nate’s model is very optimistic for Obama, putting him at 68 percent. I think they’re both too optimistic; I have Iowa at 60.
- Ohio was polled nine times this past week. Nobody saw a Romney lead. Gravis, Angus Reid, Suffolk, and Rasmussen all saw the race tied. Public Policy Polling, Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA, Time/SRBI, and Lake Research Partners found Obama ahead by one, five, three, five, and two points, respectively. Accounting for house bias Ohio is a little bluer than last week, and is more comfortably in “Leans Obama” territory. Buckeyes have been able to vote for a month now. The Intrade market gives the edge to Obama, at 64 percent, up two from a week ago. Nate’s model says Obama has a 75 percent chance. Mine says 66, right on the border of “Likely Obama”.
- Nevada got polled four times this week. American Research Group, Rasmussen, NBC/Marist, and Public Policy Polling saw Obama ahead by two, two, three, and two points, respectively. Unlike last week, this week’s numbers all point in one direction. The Silver State moves to “Likely Obama”. Intraders are really bullish for the President this week; he is trading at 80 percent, up 11 points from a week ago. Nate is almost as bullish, at 79 percent. I’m not quite that sanguine, but I have Nevada at 70.
- Wisconsin got polled twice this week. Angus Reid and Public Policy Polling show Obama up by five and six points, respectively. Even accounting for house bias, this is still a comfortable lead for the President at this stage of the election cycle. Last time I said we needed to keep an eye out, because polls were somewhat suggestive of a tightening race. With the newest round of polls, the picture looks clearer. I’m moving Wisconsin to “Likely Obama”, given the lack of movement toward Romney and the short time remaining for Romney to pull off a victory here. Intraders remain confident in Obama here, trading him at 69 percent, up one from a week ago. Nate considers Wisconsin likely Obama, at 86 percent. I split the two, having Obama at 75.
- Pennsylvania was polled four times this week. Angus Reid, Gravis, Muhlenberg, and Rasmussen have Obama up by nine, three, five, and five points, respectively. With so little time remaining in the race, and Romney having trailed in all polls not conducted by Susquehanna for the entire year, the Republicans’ brief hope here has fully faded. Pennsylvania drops off the list after this installment. The markets at Intrade agree with this, putting the President at 79 percent, down four from a week ago. Nate’s model has Obama at 94 percent, which is only a hair more optimistic than my 90 percent.
- Michigan was polled twice this week. Angus Reid showed Obama up by nine, while FMW/Baydoun had Obama up by only a half point. Baydoun has consistently been several points to the right of the consensus, despite being contracted by the Democratic Party; there’s no reason to believe otherwise this time. Romney hasn’t led in a poll since August (Baydoun), and the recent consensus has had Obama ahead by a consistent five points. Like Pennsylvania, Michigan drops off the list after this installment. At Intrade, Obama is trading at 91 percent here, up six from last week. Nate’s model has Obama at 98 percent, slightly higher than my 95 percent.
Three states shifted one column to the left this week. North Carolina moved back from “Likely Romney” to “Leans Romney”, which makes sense when you consider that it has been on the cusp between the two, and the model is more sensitive this close to election day. New Hampshire moved from “Tossup” back to “Leans Obama”, giving the President four more electoral votes. Nevada moved one more column to the left. Based on the model, Obama has a probable 281 electoral votes, up four from last week. It’s been nearly four consecutive months in which Obama could lose all tossups and still stay in the White House.
The national polls still show the race effectively tied, while the state tallies continue to indicate a comfortable Obama lead. Historically, the state-by-state tallies have been more accurate than the national ones, which leads me to believe that Obama still has the edge.
What if I’m wrong, and the national numbers are right? If so, then we should shift the states about two points to the right. Romney would pick up Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Iowa, giving him 267 electoral votes. Romney would then need three more electoral votes. In this scenario, Ohio would still lean to Obama based on the polls, but would be Romney’s most likely pickup. While the systemic forces in Ohio aren’t as strong as they are in Florida, they could be enough to push Ohio to Romney if the national numbers are right. This scenario is less likely today than it was a week ago. Alternatively, Romney could pick up Nevada or Wisconsin, but those appear to be out of reach as well.
If I had to predict an Electoral College result based on the model, which puts more emphasis on the state polls, I’d shift things a hair from last week. Both tossups, which last week were in Romney’s column, would now be Obama’s. This would give Obama 303, and Romney 235.
How do you feel about these predictions? Do you differ on them? If so, how, where, and why?
- Reëlection Watch: October 20, 2012
- NATE SILVER: Obama’s Odds Of Winning Are Now Back Over 70%
- NATE SILVER: Intrade’s Wrong — Obama Has A 69% Chance Of Being Reëlected
- Oct. 25: The State of the States
- Obama’s Dropping On Intrade Again, But Nate Silver Says His Lead Is Increasing
- NATE SILVER: Obama’s Odds Of Winning Have Now Surged Back To 74%