Each week until the November 6 Presidential election, Weld will track the projected outcome in the Electoral College. Based on analysis of rolling monthly polling averages 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.
Last week, with the Republican National Convention underway, the outlook here was mostly good for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. This week, there is little drama to report in the Electoral College race and no change in Weld’s projected result. That amounts to bad news for Romney, who received relatively little of the traditional polling “bounce” from his party’s convention.
To be certain, the former Massachusetts governor pulled into the lead in a couple of national polls, and he continues to tighten the race in three key states — Iowa, Nevada and Ohio — he absolutely must carry to win the election. Romney also shored up his support in another must-win state, Missouri. But the bottom line is, President Obama maintains his lead, however slim, in most of the key battlegrounds.
Projected Electoral College result: Obama 332, Romney 206
Locked for Obama (168 votes): California, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, 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
There is a change here this week, with our latest analysis showing New Jersey now Locked for Obama after teetering at Likely for most of the summer.
Likely Obama (43 votes): Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania
Likely Romney (58 votes): Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee
Missouri moves this week to Likely Romney, reversing a trend that had seen Obama cutting sharply into the GOP nominee’s lead there. Other trends of note: Obama has solidified his leads in Connecticut, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, while Montana is moving farther into the Romney column. With the addition of Missouri, the President’s cumulative advantage in Locked and Likely states is now 211-175.
Leaning Obama (10 votes): Minnesota
Leaning Romney (16 votes): Georgia
With Missouri out of this category at least temporarily, the question here is what polling over the next week or two will bring in Minnesota, which once was firmly in the Obama column, and Georgia, which has gone Republican in six of the past seven Presidential elections — Bill Clinton carried it in 1992 — but is proving surprisingly competitive this year.
Tossups (126 votes): Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin
No changes in the allocation of votes here, but one trend of note: Obama’s lead in Michigan has increased appreciably in the latest round of polling there.
Thumbnail analysis: If Obama gets the bounce from this week’s Democratic convention that Romney did not get from the GOP gathering last week, he’s firmly back in the driver’s seat heading into the last two months. If he doesn’t, it’s anybody’s ball game.