POLITICS

Cascading polls?

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Photo - Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Van Meter, Iowa.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands with supporters during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in Van Meter, Iowa. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

Throughout the year the strategists for Barack Obama’s campaign have told us that whatever the national polls say, Obama still has a strong position in the target states. But after the debates, not so much.

Absorbing the latest polls coming in is like drinking from a firehose. But when you do, the following picture emerges: 

Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama 48.5% to 47.25% in the four national polls conducted wholly or partially since the October 3 Denver debate. That includes the Battleground poll, 85% of whose interviews were conducted before the debate, in which Romney trailed by 1%.

In state polls conducted wholly or partially after the debate, Romney leads in these states which Obama carried in 2008: North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado. He trails narrowly in post-debate polls in Iowa and Wisconsin and is tied in the one post-debate poll in Nevada.

Assuming, as everyone does, that Romney will carry Indiana and the Nebraska 2nd congressional district, both of which went narrowly for Obama last time, and assuming, again as everyone does, that Romney wins all the states that John McCain carried in 2008, that puts Romney ahead in post-debate polling in states with 275 electoral votes, 5 more than the 270-vote majority. It also shows him ahead or even in states with 281 electoral votes and narrowly behind in two more states with 16 electoral votes.

Necessary note of caution. All the post-debate polls in the states cited are within the margin of error, as are the national polls cited. We have a vice presidential debate and two further presidential debates ahead. We don’t know what will happen in the 28 days before the election. These numbers are certainly subject to change. 

But as I noted in my Sunday Examiner column, the Obama campaign’s three-state firewall of Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin seems to be crumbling. And if it crumbles, Obama is in danger of losing several other states which he won by larger margins in 2008 but in which his campaign hasn’t run nearly the volume of anti-Romney ads as in the three firewall states.

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