Five days ago, O led by seven. Five days before that, Romney led by one. Four days before that, Romney led by five. And two weeks before that, Obama led by four. Either this poll has a lot of static in the signal or swing voters are having some sort of collective nervous breakdown over the terrible, terrible options that lie before them. The day may be coming, my friends, when the Gallup tracker proves too unreliably fidgety to justify devoting an easy-traffic post like this one to covering it. But that day is not today.
If we’re going to obsess over election numbers, let’s obsess over electoral votes instead:
A detailed analysis of Romney’s various paths to the 270 electoral votes he would need to claim the presidency suggests he has a ceiling of somewhere right around 290 electoral votes.
While Romney’s team would absolutely take a 290-electoral-vote victory, that means he has only 20 electoral votes to play with — a paper-thin margin for error…
If Romney was able to duplicate Bush’s 2000 map, he would take 285 electoral votes — thanks to redistricting gains over the past decade.
But to do so, Romney would need not only to win [Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, and Florida] — with the exception of Missouri, all of them are considered tossups (at worst) for the president at the moment — but also hang on to states such as North Carolina and Virginia where Bush cruised 12 years ago. (Obama carried both states in 2008.)
He’s got Rubio to help with Florida, Rob Portman to help with Ohio, and a large base of Mormon voters to hopefully help in Nevada. Not sure about Colorado, though, and most expert analyses I read seem to think it’s very possible that Virginia goes blue again. Maybe he can make up some votes in … Michigan? He’s got the family connection; all he needs to do is, er, erase Obama’s 17-point margin over McCain there four years ago. The math being what it is, I think Romney would feel tremendous pressure to pick a VP from Pennsylvania if there was someone from that state on his shortlist. But there isn’t. Santorum is a nonstarter and Pat Toomey, while appealing, has just two years’ experience and won his Senate seat only very narrowly. Granted, Christie’s right next door in New Jersey, but I’m not sure how his style would play in PA. It’s rural and blue-collar Democrats whom Romney is trying to get to cross over, right? Are they an audience that would respond to Chris Christie, enough so that they might change their vote?
Exit question via James Pethokoukis: Will this election be over on October 26?