Romney’s Paths to Victory

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Barring a disputed count in a decisive state, by this time next week we will know who is going to be President of these United States for the next four years.  I believe Romney is ahead, probably between 3-5 points, with Republican enthusiasm greater than Democrat enthusiasm giving him an additional edge.  In this post we will look at the several paths to victory for Romney.

I take it as a given that Romney starts with a base of 257 electoral votes.  This includes Colorado where the Republicans have the advantage in early voting, and in party affiliation.  The other states are all of the West except Nevada and New Mexico, all of the Great Plains states, all of the Old Confederacy, Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Indiana and Alaska.  Romney is only 13 electoral votes shy from a 270 majority, or 12 votes shy of an electoral vote tie, which would have him almost certainly voted in by the new House, with control of the Senate determining who the Senate would choose as Veep.

Here are the potential paths to victory for Romney which I see:

1. Ohio-18 electoral votes.

2. Pennsylvania-20 electoral votes.

3. Michigan -16 electoral votes

4. Wisconsin-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire -4 electoral votes

5. Minnesota-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire-4 electoral votes

6. Iowa-6 electoral votes-New Hampshire-4 electoral votes-Nevada-6 electoral votes

7. Iowa-6 electoral votes-Nevada-6 electoral votes-Maine Second Congressional District-1 electoral vote

8.  Oregon-7 electoral votes-New Hampshire 4 electoral votes

9.  Oregon-7 electoral votes-Iowa 6 electoral votes

10. Oregon-7 electoral votes-Nevada 6 electoral votes

New Hampshire I think is close to being a given for Romney.  If Romney wins Ohio, Pennsylvania or Michigan he wins with no further states needed.  With New Hampshire, Wisconsin or Minnesota can be Kingmaker states.  If Romney loses all of the above states except New Hampshire, he still has a path to victory with Iowa and Nevada or Oregon.

A look at the individual states:

1.  Ohio-Romney has been closing strong in Ohio and I expect him to take it and win the election as a result.

2.  Pennsylvania-Probably the most difficult state for Romney on the list, except for Oregon.  However, in coal country in Western Pennsylvania Obama is as popular as the bubonic plague and Romney should be much stronger than either McCain or Bush the Younger in the Philadelphia suburbs.  If Pennsylvania is close that will be a sign that it is going to be a very good night for Romney.

3.  Michigan-Team Obama is very worried about the Wolverine State, as indicated by their buying air time for ads in Detroit.  I doubt if the Obama campaign strategists, in their wildest nightmares, imagined they would be buying TV ad space in Detroit a week before the election.  Romney has been closing fast, and I expect him to take Michigan.

4.  Wisconsin and New Hampshire-Wisconsin was close in 2004 and is tied up now.  I expect Romney, with a great assist from home boy Paul Ryan, my mother-in-law’s Congressman, to take the Badger State.  New Hampshire I think is close to being a given for Romney, and I think he currently is ahead by two to three points.  Note that Iowa, Nevada or Oregon, if they fall to Romney, could substitute for New Hampshire in this scenario.

5. Minnesota and New Hampshire-Yep, hard to believe but the uber liberal state of Minnesota, which hasn’t gone Republican on the presidential level since 1972, four decades ago, is definitely in play.

The most recent poll we have from Minnesota shows it 47-44:

http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/176113071.html?refer=y

Two things about the above poll.  First, it is a Star-Tribune poll and they have a notorious history of greatly exaggerating Democrat numbers in their polls.

Second, for an incumbent Democrat President to be at 47 a week out from the election in Minnesota, a state almost any Democrat should run away with, is a definite warning sign that Obama is in trouble in this state, since most of the remaining undecideds should break for Romney.

6. Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire  Things are looking very good for Romney in Iowa.  The last poll showed him just one down, and the entire state was shocked when the liberal Des Moines Register endorsed him. I think Romney will take Iowa by a good margin.  Nevada is a harder nut to crack for Romney with the big service employee unions in Las Vegas being solidly for Obama along with the growing Hispanic population.  However, Nevada also has a large Mormon population that will vote overwhelmingly, and enthusiastically, for Romney.  Too close to call.

7.  Maine-Second Congressional District, Nevada and Iowa-How handy one electoral vote can be!  I expect Romney to take it.

8.   Oregon and New Hampshire-Oregon is a long shot for Romney, but perhaps doable.  In this Blue State, Obama is simply unable to get above 47%.  Unlikely to go Romney, but definitely possible.

Romney has multiple viable pathways to victory, a sure sign of a winning Presidential campaign.

 

 

15 Responses to Romney’s Paths to Victory

  • I agree, Don. But to be clear, none of Romney’s paths are especially attractive (or likely) except Ohio. That said, Obama’s only path requires Ohio. If Romney loses Ohio he probably loses the election. If Obama loses Ohio, he definitely loses the election.

  • electoral vote tie, which would have him almost certainly voted in by the new House, with control of the Senate determining who the Senate would choose as Veep.

    Wouldn’t that be wierd – potentially a Republican President with a Democrat Vice President – Romney/Biden? I wonder if they would run together in 2016 if the 2012 administration turned out to be really good? And we would still have our National Clown for continued entertainment – a win/win!

  • Nice if you’re right, but I think you’re being overly optimistic on several fronts.

    First, your given base for Romney is 42 votes too high. Florida and Virginia are both still in play, and in Florida in particular, Obama is surging–the blue line on the RCP poll tracker is nearly vertical over the past week. If Obama takes Florida, everything else is academic.

    Second, Ohio. Romney got close at the start of this month, but Obama reopened a 2-point lead after that, and has comfortably maintained that lead for several weeks. Perhaps that changes in the next few days, but right now, only one poll shows Romney leading, and that one appears to be an outlier. “Closing strong” is a vast overstatement.

    The “alternative” paths are no less problematic. Michigan and Minnesota are long shots (to say nothing of Pennsylvania), Nevada has fellow Mormon Harry Reid to offset Romney, and after all the insanity there this year, anyone who knows where Wisconsin is going should sink their life savings into lottery tickets–neither candidate should be relying on the Badger state.

    Wishful thinking does no one any good here. Pray, vote, hope, and pray some more.

  • “Florida and Virginia are both still in play,”

    Disagree. Florida and Virginia are only in play when pollsters give laughable assertions that the Dem turnout will outnumber the Republican turnout by 5 points. This is going to be an even year between the parties or even a slight Republican advantage. The Real Clear Politic averages of polls for Virginia and Florida, which include complete junk polls like those from PPP, show Romney with the edge. Romney will take both Florida and Virginia by at least three points.

    “Second, Ohio. Romney got close at the start of this month, but Obama reopened a 2-point lead after that, and has comfortably maintained that lead for several weeks. ”

    Actually Rasmussen shows Romney with a two point lead in his most recent poll. If Romney is three to five points ahead nationally, he will come out three to five points ahead in Ohio as Ohio tends to track the national outcome pretty closely.

    “Michigan and Minnesota are long shots (to say nothing of Pennsylvania),”

    I think Michigan and Minnesota are likely Romney victories based upon the current polls. Pennsylvania will be the hardest for Romney, but the state elected a Republican legislature, Governor and Senator just two years ago, and Casey the Lesser is having the fight of his life against Tom Smith. If it is a Republican wave year, as I believe, Pennsylvania may well go red. It all comes down to how much pull Romney has in the Philadelphia suburbs.

    “Nevada has fellow Mormon Harry Reid to offset Romney”

    That public thief is not on the ballot this year. His pull among his fellow Mormons is negligible as it is among sane people in general. Unlike 2010, the Republicans have fielded a sane candidate in Romney as opposed to Angle who managed to muff a golden opportunity to send Reid into a crooked retirement.

    “anyone who knows where Wisconsin is going”

    The Republicans have amassed a string of victories there recently and I think Romney will pull it out with the help of Ryan. Interestingly enough the Democrat mayor of Denver stumping for Obama said that as of now Obama is losing Wisconsin. I wonder if he saw internal Obama campaign polls for Wisconsin?

    http://minx.cc/?post=334453

    “Wishful thinking does no one any good here.”

    No but clear eyed analysis does, which is what I have given.

  • Dick Morris says landslide.

    Crap.

    In all seriousness, if Virginia and Florida were in play and Minnesota and Michigan were not, the candidates would be moving their campaigns to the former, not the latter.

  • “Disagree. Florida and Virginia are only in play when pollsters give laughable assertions that the Dem turnout will outnumber the Republican turnout by 5 points. This is going to be an even year between the parties or even a slight Republican advantage. The Real Clear Politic averages of polls for Virginia and Florida, which include complete junk polls like those from PPP, show Romney with the edge.”

    Perhaps on Virginia (though the swings between polls there are pretty drastic, which renders them all suspect) but in Florida, every poll shows the race tightening–even the polls that have Romney up have his lead shrinking. Momentum is clearly on Obama’s side there (unless you are correct in your assumption that pretty much every pollster has it wrong this time).

    “Actually Rasmussen shows Romney with a two point lead in his most recent poll.”

    Rasmussen’s latest is the only poll that has shown Romney with any lead at all in Ohio since just after the first debate. If he really is surging, other polls will show it in the next few days–but as of right now, that’s the outlier.

    “If it is a Republican wave year, as I believe, Pennsylvania may well go red. ”

    And this is what I mean by wishful thinking. The Republican wave year was 2010; much like 2008 was a lesser follow-up to the real Democratic wave in 2006, 2012 isn’t going to match what the GOP managed two years ago. You’re expecting far more than you’re going to get.

    “The Republicans have amassed a string of victories there recently and I think Romney will pull it out with the help of Ryan. Interestingly enough the Democrat mayor of Denver stumping for Obama said that as of now Obama is losing Wisconsin.”

    Republicans have won lately in Wisconsin, I will readily grant you that (I live here, so I’ve had a first-hand view of the mess). But most of those recent victories were won on the backs of Obama supporters lured away, and the polls taken at the time indicated that those voters intended to vote for Obama again.

    Anything’s possible–if anything, it’s gotten even more chaotic the last few days; the state’s largest paper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, not only declined to endorse a candidate but made a big production out of declaring that they’re getting out of the endorsement business altogether–which is why I said that neither candidate should be counting on Wisconsin. But the Democrats have a history of finding ways to pull it out here (last time the state went GOP was Reagan in ’84) so all else being equal, the safer assumption is that they’ll find some way to pull it out again.

  • “The Republican wave year was 2010; much like 2008 was a lesser follow-up to the real Democratic wave in 2006, 2012 isn’t going to match what the GOP managed two years ago.”

    The Democrats gained 20 House seats, five Senate seats and the Presidency in 2008. I think the Republicans will have a similar wave year this year, except for gains in the House where I think the GOP has nearly maxed out.
    “but in Florida, every poll shows the race tightening–even the polls that have Romney up have his lead shrinking.”
    Here is the Real Clear list of recent polls which I think shows a stable Romney lead. The Sunshine poll which had Romney up 5 I regard as an outlier:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/fl/florida_romney_vs_obama-1883.html

    “If he really is surging, other polls will show it in the next few days–but as of right now, that’s the outlier.”

    One of many problems with most of the Ohio polls is that they show Romney winning independents while losing. That is not credible in Ohio. A good example is the Survey USA poll which shows Romney winning independents by 11 points while running three points behind Obama. That doesn’t make sense based on the number of independents in Ohio:

    http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=11cca51d-06ab-40f5-8ba1-0c8ddc33d855

    “the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, not only declined to endorse a candidate but made a big production out of declaring that they’re getting out of the endorsement business altogether”

    Considering the liberal history of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I thought that was rather significant, and perhaps a tribute to growing GOP strength in the state. We shall both find out soon enough.

  • This post by Dan McLaughlin is a truly fantastic piece analyzing why Nate Silver’s model, while not perhaps totally wrong, is incomplete. Some folks are just not digging deeply enough into these polls, and are really lacking some common sense in how they apply what they know qualitatively to quantitative models.

  • I think we need to forget about the polls. The Left has figured out that grossly biasing a poll, no matter how much it invites ridicule, ends up affecting the average. As averages are more affected by outliers voila. Also in the past, pollsters had to worry about their general credibility. This made them more industrious and accurate close to an actual vote. However with the rise of hyper-partisanship that no longer applies. Leftwing pollsters are rewarded for agitprop by their funders. Do you think NY Times is going to punish a pollster for biasing a poll the way they directed it be biased? Also the Left uses a phony poll to support a pre- written narrative. It’s just there to give an aura of fact to agitprop.

    There is a separate issue of public awareness of polling and how it is used. You can test a steel rod repeatedly and it will not change its behavior because you are testing it. However people will change their responses and the propensity to respond based on all kinds of factors.

    I say when there’s a battle look which way the troops are running. I also esteem those individuals willing to make a bold prediction and state their reasoning by which they can be judged: Michael Barone, Dick Morris even Karl Rove have done so. There may be others. I also esteem the analysts such as Berry-Bickers University of Colorado electoral model and even individuals such as Mr Hartline here who analyze real drivers of voting preference, show how the data supports it and make clear predictions based on their analyses.

    Forget the polls.

  • Virginia – The wild card is the Senate race. If Allen were drawing more interest, I’d say that Romney should win easily. But his campaign has been pretty low-key. I think that Romney will win it anyway, though.

    Florida – If Romney doesn’t win Florida, he’s in real trouble. Not just in terms of electoral votes, but in overall levels of support.

    Ohio – Like I’ve said, this one scares me. The polls can’t all be completely wrong. They’re all showing this neck-and-neck. The higher the turnout, the better it is for Democrats, and there’s been a lot of early voting. The line about early voting is that it’s mostly for people who were going to vote anyway – but I don’t believe it this year.

    Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon – They all went for Gore in 2000, Kerrey in 2004, and Obama in 2008. I’m glad that the Republicans are in better shape in the first three of these states; maybe Romney could win them over Howard Dean in 2016. This time though? A bridge too far.

    I think it’ll be an early night, at least. If Romney wins Ohio, the only thing out west that he’d need is Colorado. If he loses Ohio, Florida, or Virginia, there’s nothing that’s going to happen out west that can save him. Then again, what do I know. I just want this to be over.

  • As an Oregonian, I fear that expectations of a victory for Romney here in Oregon are only wishful thinking. It would be very unusual because this state leans very much to the left. But conservatives have become more vocal and more active, and it could be in the realm of possibility.

  • It is the least likely of the battleground states to fall to Romney AS, but the fact that it is even a possibility is stunning.

  • I don’t know what happened to Oregon and Washington politically. Former Californians, maybe?

  • Basically, like a raverning horde of locusts looking for new fields to despoil.

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