Each week until the November 6 presidential election, Weld will track the projected outcome in the Electoral College. Based on weekly analysis of polling in each state, electoral votes are awarded in a tiered system that identifies every state as either Locked, Likely, Leaning or a Tossup. In determining the weekly vote totals, tossup states are awarded based on which candidate is leading in that state. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
On the whole, it’s been a good week for Mitt Romney. Though our overall Electoral College projection has not changed, the numbers in several key battlegrounds are moving toward Romney. President Obama did solidify leads in a couple of key states, but overall, the race at this stage is decidedly more competitive than it was shaping up to be as recently as three or four weeks ago.
Projected Electoral College count: Obama 332, Romney 206
Locked for Obama (154 votes): California, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington
Locked for Romney (117 votes): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
As noted last week, any change substantial enough to move a state out of the “Locked” column is highly unlikely and almost certainly would reflect a seismic shift toward one candidate or the other among the electorate as a whole. That didn’t happen this week.
Likely Obama (57 votes): Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania
Likely Romney (48 votes): Arizona, Indiana, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee
Here’s the good news for Obama: In states categorized as Locked or Likely, Obama’s lead over Romney has increased from 191-181 last week to 211-165. How? Pennsylvania has moved from Leaning to Likely Obama and Georgia — identified here last week as potentially problematic for Romney — has slid from Likely to only Leaning Romney.
Leaning Obama (10 votes): Minnesota
Leaning Romney (26 votes): Georgia, Missouri
This is where the Romney camp begins to feel some hope. Pennsylvania moved upward out of this column for Obama, but Michigan and Wisconsin slipped out of his count here and into Tossup status. On the other hand, Romney continues to see the erosion of what had been a considerable lead for him in Missouri. Cumulative score in non-tossup states: 221-191, Obama.
Tossups (126 votes): Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin
Michigan and Wisconsin have moved into the Tossup column, but Obama continues to lead in both. He’s also ahead in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. Even so, Romney has caught a wave of numbers currently trending his way in every tossup state except Colorado. Among the most promising trends: Florida, Iowa and Virginia are now virtual ties. Still, the current score in Tossup states — Obama 111, Romney 15 — keeps the President at the same comfortable margin he held in the Electoral College last week.
Thumbnail analysis: Significant movement toward Romney in so many key states is cause for legitimate concern in the Obama camp. Realistically, though, it remains an uphill battle for the GOP nominee. Too many fronts to cover — or so it would seem.
Mark Kelly is the publisher of Weld. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.