Of the four most recent Ohio polls, two have the race tied, one has O up by a single point, and the other you already know about. An interesting tidbit from the new Suffolk poll: They’ve got Romney up three points among people who haven’t voted yet and Obama up 13 points among those who already have. That’s not surprising given how hard O’s been pushing people to vote early, replete with the specter of overflowing toilets on election day. He wants those ballots locked in just in case the country receives some new bit of terrible news down the stretch (e.g., another miserable jobs report on November 2) and/or he has another dial-tone debate tonight. If Obama had held his own in Denver, I bet a chunk of his early votes right now would be coming from persuadables who had concluded that the race was over and they might as well send their vote for O in ASAP. As it is, those persuadables are most likely now holding off in order to take a longer look at Romney, which means virtually all of O’s early votes are coming from people he would have had on election day anyway. Essentially, he’s helping himself now on turnout by prodding lazy voters to act early, but he’s not taking votes away from Mitt.
For the time being, I’m really only watching four polls: Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. The national polls like Gallup and Reuters are useful for trendspotting, to capture broad momentum shifts in the electorate or the lack thereof (for example, Obama’s gotten no bounce from his alleged second debate “win”), and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan are worth peeking in on since they’re still in play, but there’s a good chance that those four states I named will determine the election. My working assumption is that Florida, Colorado, and Virginia will stay close but all ultimately tilt red, which, if true, would give Romney another 51 electoral votes on top of the 206 that are already leaning his way in RCP. Speaking of which, more good news from CO via Rasmussen:
Mitt Romney has now reached the 50% mark for the first time in Colorado and leads President Obama by four in the critical swing state.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Colorado Voters finds Romney with 50% support to Obama’s 46%. Two percent (2%) like some other candidate, and one percent (1%) remains undecided…
Romney now leads among all Colorado voters when they are asked whom they trust more in two key policy areas. He’s ahead 51% to 44% when it comes to the economy and 51% to 45% in the area of national security.
Obama led in Colorado by a point as recently as two weeks ago. Once Romney’s at 257 EVs, he wins the election by taking either (a) Ohio or (b) the other three states I named, all of which are currently led — narrowly — by Obama in RCP’s poll average. Here’s my question for poll junkies, though: Realistically, is there any scenario where Mitt wins Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire but doesn’t win Ohio? Ohio is where he’s spending time and money right now; I can see all of that attention paying off in a win there while the other three states, comparatively neglected, fall to O. If those states end up turning red, though, then it almost certainly means that there’s a national surge breaking for Romney among late-deciders which means all sorts of other states would be turning red too — including Ohio. Essentially, I can see him winning narrowly with Ohio or winning big as voters nationally turn on The One, but it’s hard to see a narrow win without Ohio. Unless something magical starts to happen…
Via Newsbusters, here’s Chuck Todd sounding bullish on Romney, and not for the first time today either.