Leading up to the November 6 Presidential election, Weld is tracking 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.
Projected Electoral College result: Obama 294, Romney 244
Mitt Romney makes another move in this week’s projected Electoral College tally, as the former Massachusetts governor gains a paper-thin edge over President Barack Obama in our latest poll average in the Tossup state of Colorado. In the wake of the first Presidential debate two weeks ago, Romney has continued to close the gap on Obama in almost every state where the vote is key to the election’s outcome.
But, perhaps reflecting what generally was acknowledged as a win for Vice President Joe Biden in his meeting with Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan last week, the latest trends in several of those states — including Colorado, as well as Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — has them inching ever so slightly back toward Obama. As will be seen below, however, those trends have not prevented several changes in our current projections.
Locked for Obama (184 votes): California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington
Locked for Romney (128 votes): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
In a bit of good news for the President, New Mexico moves into the Locked for Obama column. Meanwhile, though, the first new numbers in several weeks from Indiana — which Obama carried four years ago, the first Democrat to do so since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 — move it all the way from Leaning to Locked for Romney.
Likely Obama (17 votes): Minnesota, Oregon
Likely Romney (52 votes): Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee
The change here this week sees Montana move from Leaning to Likely Romney. No real surprise, though until two weeks ago, the numbers here had been tightening enough to make the Romney campaign at least a little nervous. Obama’s lead in Locked and Likely states has narrowed to 11 votes (191-180), down from a margin of 61 just prior to the first debate.
Leaning Obama (46 votes): Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Leaning Romney (0 votes)
When we moved New Hampshire to Leaning Obama last week, we did so with the caveat that the latest numbers available there came from before the October 3 debate — and, sure enough, this week it moves right back to Tossup status.
Tossups (100 votes): Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia
Not so long ago, Obama led in every Tossup state. Now, the electoral vote tally in those states is Romney 53, Obama 47, and along with Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia are virtual ties; in fact, while our poll average has Obama still leading in Virginia, Romney is on top in three of the last five polls taken there.
Thumbnail analysis: Two weeks ago, Ohio appeared to be firmly in the Obama camp, and the big mission for the Romney campaign was figuring out how to win without it — something no Republican Presidential candidate has ever done. The Buckeye State not only is back in play, but here’s a prediction: it’s going to decide the election. Very simply, as stated here a couple of weeks ago, no matter what scenarios the GOP brain trust was devising, Romney was never going to win without it.
Put another way, notwithstanding the near free-fall of the past two weeks — or, for that matter, no matter what happens over the last three weeks of the campaign — if Obama holds Ohio, he wins a second term. The second of the three Presidential debates will be in the books by the time this week’s analysis is published, and Obama’s performance at New York’s Hofstra University probably will go a long way toward determining whether he can hold his current lead there.