Swing State Pres

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dashboard Update: This Ain't Dressage...It's a Horse Race (October 15, 2012)

On the eve of the second debate, we simply could not be much tighter.  Almost the entire campaign has run within the MOE (margin of error)...but now we are simply smack on the red/blue divide, with three weeks to go.

Let’s go straight to the numbers.

Latest National Polling.  As I expected, Obama has clawed back from the red zone and is now about 1 point ahead, obviously well within the MOE.  Earlier in the week, in the immediate aftermath of the full impact of the first debate, he had relinquished the lead to Romney, and was down about a point.  But over the week he regained a bit of ground.  We have come through the conventions, the first debate and the VP debate, and have landed much where we were in the early summer, before Paul Ryan was named Romney’s VP candidate:  Obama with a 1-point lead.


Nat'l Polls
Obama
47.6%
Romney
46.5%
Diff
1.1%


Swing States.   But of course the real battle is not the national polls, it's in the swing states.  We are down to eight swing states, as I have at long last flipped North Carolina and Missouri into the Romney camp.  And guess what, it looks like it will all come down to Ohio.

We have had tons of polls in the swing states over the last week, so these polls cover the Oct 6 – 14 period.  Thus, unlike last week, they include the full impact of the debates.  Romney now leads by a slim (within MOE) margin in Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida.  But Obama leads by a similar margin in Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa and the all-important Ohio.  Colorado is a dead heat, which in my electoral vote projection model I throw in with the Charisma Factor leader, Obama (barely, see below).

15-Oct
Electoral
Polling
Since
Oct. 6
8 states
Votes
Obama
Romney
Obama +/-
Ohio
18
48.8
46.0
2.8
Nevada
6
48.3
46.3
2.0
Wisconsin
10
51.0
49.0
2.0
Iowa
6
48.5
47.5
1.0
Colorado
9
48.0
48.0
0.0
Virginia
13
47.0
48.7
-1.7
New Hampshire
4
47.0
49.0
-2.0
Florida
29
46.8
49.3
-2.5

95


-0.1



All eyes are on Ohio. If you want to know how the campaigns view the race, look where the candidates are sent to spend their precious time.  Romney is going there four times this week.

So Obama now has 237 solid electoral votes, and with the 49 leaning blue votes (above), that gets him to 286, above the magic 270.  But take away Ohio and he is only at 268. 

Romney now has 206 solid electoral votes with North Carolina and Missouri added to his solid column.  Give him the three leaning reds above and he gets to 252…short of the mark.  But if he also takes Ohio, he squeaks to 270.  Wow!

270 Needed
Solid
Swing
Total
Obama
237
49
286
Romney
206
46
252


The Obameter.  The Obameter is now down to +5.8.  In this past week, the stock market sagged a bit, gas prices rose a bit, and Romney’s popularity climbed with the post-debate huzzahs.  The Obameter continues to track quite well with the polls, as it has all campaign long.  What this means is that the macro-environment is about the same as it was overall as of January 1st, and thus the polls are about in the same place as well. 

My own subjective view of “campaign events” are that they have largely cancelled out.  Here is a recap of how I have “graded” those events, in terms of how they affected Obama’s chances.

  • Obama’s late June streak of the health care Supreme Court win, the immigration policy change, and the gay marriage support:  +5 for Obama
  • Romney’s naming of Ryan as his VP candidate:  -5
  • The Democratic Convention:  +10
  • The first Presidential Debate:  -20
  • The September economic report:  +5

This all adds to the “events” score of -5 that you see below.

OBAMETER
Baseline








1-Jan
31-May
2-Jul
30-Jul
2-Sep
30-Sep
8-Oct
15-Oct
Unemployment Rate
8.7
8.1
8.2
8.2
8.3
8.1
7.8
7.8
Consumer Confidence
65.0
64.9
62.0
62.0
60.6
70.3
70.3
70.3
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
3.79
3.41
3.51
3.84
3.89
3.87
3.89
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
  12,722
  12,625
  12,796
  13,085
  13,471
  13,535
  13,412
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38.0
45.2
42.8
43.1
43.6
45.7
47.0
49.2
"Events"
0
0
5
5
0
10
-5
-5









Unemployment Rate
8.7
6
5.0
5
4
6
9
9
Consumer Confidence
65
0
-3.0
-3
-4
5
5
5
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
-5
-0.9
-2
-5
-6
-6
-6
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
6
5.5
7
10
14
15
13
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38
-7
-4.8
-5
-6
-8
-9
-11
"Events"
0
0
5.0
5
0
10
-5
-5









OBAMETER
0.0
0.5
6.8
7.2
-1.1
21.9
9.4
5.8
Obama versus Romney
1.1
1.5
3.2
1.3
0.3
4.5
1.5
1.1


The Charisma Factor.   Romney’s popularity surged after the debate, not quite to the 50% level but finally into a net positive zone.  Oddly, for all the hue and cry, Obama’s did not change much at all.  But the net of the net, the “Charisma Factor”, now barely favors Obama.


Fav
Unfav
Net
Obama
50.8
45.4
5.4
Romney
49.2
44.4
4.8
Net


0.6


Popular Vote Projection.  Obama remains slightly ahead in the popular vote projection, at 65.3 million to Romney’s 62.7 million, and just under 2 points.  It is plausible that one candidate may win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote and the presidency.


Vote
%
Obama
 65,341,846
50.3%
Romney
 62,656,352
48.2%
Other
   1,988,683
1.5%


Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

As always, comments welcome!   

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