North Colorado?

Five of Colorado’s 11 counties voted to secede yesterday over gun rights and oil and gas policy.  Now all they have to do is get the Colorado legislature and the U. S. Congress to approve their secession, which I’m sure will be a piece of cake, probably done by the end of the week.  The Dems would love to give these folks two senators and help make the Senate as crazy as the House.

But have they stopped to think how tough it is to arrange 51 stars on the flag?

What Exit Polls Showing

Matt Drudge is reporting that exit polls show Mitt winning North Carolina and Florida; O winning New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada; and toss-ups in Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa.

Remember to keep your eyes on Hillsborough County, Florida and Hamilton and Montgomery Counties in Ohio.

How Tight Is This Race?

Josh Marshall writes at his liberal site Talking Points Memo this morning that by their calculations, Obama has 259 electoral votes and Mitt has 210.

He believes that the only real toss-ups left are Ohio, Colorado, Florida, and Virginia, for a total of 69 remaining electoral votes.  He also says that Mitt could well take all four of them.

O Still Up in Colorado

A new Selzer poll finds that President Obama still leads in Colorado, the scene of his debate disaster, 47 to 43.

I’m expecting Biden to have a good debate on Thursday — to say the obvious stuff that O should have said — and so I think O’s hit in the polls will be temporary.

But the pressure is really on Biden now, he can’t afford a poor or even okay performance.  Two bad Dem debates will really fuel Mitt’s momentum.

O needs Biden to be dazzling and then he himself needs to do the same on the 16th to right this ship.  O gave Mitt this opening, and now he has to grab it back.

Nate Silver Explains It All

From “How to Solve the Swing-State Puzzle,” Nate Silver, NYT:

Using my FiveThirtyEight model, I’ve determined — through about 25,000 simulations that I run each day — which states could put either candidate over the top. Crucially, the model takes into account not only how states poll relative to national trends but also to one another. Demographically similar states can rise and fall together. If Romney makes gains in Wisconsin, for example, he will probably also do so in neighboring Minnesota.

Perhaps more important, the program evaluates the order in which the states might line up. Obama could win North Carolina, where the polls show a competitive race, but he’s unlikely to do so without already having won Ohio, Florida and Virginia, where the demographics are slightly more favorable to him. Some combination of those states would probably get him to 270 electoral votes anyway. By that point, North Carolina would be redundant.

Which states, then, are the most strategically important? The answer exists along a spectrum rather than in absolutes. Ten states could play an important role in the electoral calculus. I have listed them below, in four groups, along with the chance that each state will be the one that determines the next president.

The Big Two: Ohio (32 percent chance of determining the Electoral College winner) and Florida (20 percent).

The auto industry’s recovery has helped drop Ohio’s unemployment rate from 8.6 percent when he took office to 7.2 percent now, making it one state where voters really are better off than they were four years ago.

Florida’s economic recovery has not been as robust, but Obama may be buoyed by long-term demographic factors there. The G.O.P. has long been buffered by Cuban-Americans, a historically right-leaning group, who made up a majority of the state’s Hispanic electorate. Now not only are non-Cuban Hispanics growing in the electorate, but the Cuban population is increasingly divided along generational lines, with younger voters leaning heavily left.

The New Breed: Virginia (9 percent), Colorado (9 percent) and Nevada (5 percent).

In these states, which Obama carried in 2008 but Kerry and Gore lost, swift demographic changes have become manifest. Obama won Nevada — which now resembles a West Coast state to some degree — by an unexpectedly large margin, 12 percentage points, in 2008. And despite a wretched economy there, he has led in every state poll conducted this year.

The polling has been more inconsistent in Colorado and Virginia.

In the end, Obama might simply conclude that Florida or Ohio — and not Colorado and Virginia — represents his path of least resistance. If the president can win either Florida’s 29 electoral votes, or Ohio’s 18 plus Nevada’s 6, then Romney’s shot at 270 will become vanishingly thin, and it won’t matter how Virginia and Colorado turn out.

Primary Purple: Iowa (6 percent) and New Hampshire (3 percent).

The voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are almost entirely white and mostly rural — factors that ordinarily favor Republicans. But they are also highly educated, which gives Democrats a chance. … [I]t’s worth remembering that if Al Gore had won New Hampshire in 2000, he wouldn’t have even needed Florida.

The Blue Wall: Wisconsin (9 percent), Pennsylvania (5 percent), and Michigan (1 percent).

In Michigan, Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout may be too much of an albatross. In Pennsylvania, though, the issue may be that while the polls are close, they are also hard to move; each party has its respective constituencies, and there may be few true undecided voters left.

My calculations suggest that, despite Romney’s deficit, the upside of his winning Pennsylvania is so great that he might want to take a chance. It’s Obama’s closest equivalent to a must-win state, and the combination of losing Pennsylvania and Ohio would essentially ensure his defeat. Unfortunately for Romney, it may be too late to adopt that strategy, as Obama has come close to clinching a majority of the state’s electorate in recent surveys.

Wisconsin, however, is the state that Romney must contest. If Romney can’t overtake him in Wisconsin, considering his problems in Ohio and Florida, he’ll leave Obama with too many paths to 270, and himself with too few.

The most plausible range of outcomes runs from Obama losing the election by about two percentage points, slightly better than John Kerry did, to his winning it by perhaps six or seven, slightly worse than his margin from four years ago. Given where the election is being contested, however, the most likely outcome is that Obama wins enough tipping-point states to eke out a victory.

Heading emphasis in original; text emphasis added.

Eight States Are Having a Presidential Election

The rest of us get to watch.

The eight states (where Mitt is buying ads) are Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Ohio.

I’m hoping that having former congressman Virgil Goode on the ballot for the Constitution Party in Virginia will help President Obama.

I’m also hoping that the federal district court ruling requiring early voting in Ohio the last three days before the election will not be over-turned.  Last time, almost 1000,000 people voted in that time frame, most of them for Obama.

You don’t hear the GOP talking anymore about how Scott Walker’s recall victory made Wisconsin competitive or about how Mitt’s home state of Michigan and Pennsylvania are toss-ups.

Mittens has a very narrow path to 270.



Counter-Intuitive in Colorado

Talking Points Memo has a story up* that seems counter-intuitive at first, arguing that the referendum in Colorado to legalize marijuana might hurt President Obama.  After all, when measures banning gay marriage have appeared on state ballots, it’s helped the GOP.  So the pot measure should bring out younger voters, who will vote both for the measure and for Obama, who won Colorado in 2008 by 9%.

But it looks as if the pot measure might help Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate who supports legalization of marijuana.  Yesterday’s PPP poll (which leans Dem) showed Johnson getting 6% among likely voters in Colorado.  That poll showed Obama over Romney by 6% with just the two of them in the race, but only 4% with Johnson included.

Today’s Quinnipiac/CBS News/NYT Colorado poll, which didn’t include Johnson, shows Mitt up over Obama, 50 to 45%.

It will be a little weird if Colorado votes for both Mitt and pot.

* “Poll:  Colorado Pot Amendment Could Pass — And Hurt Obama,” Tom Kludt

Overseas Trip Hurt Mitt

A new PPP poll shows that 44% of registered voters found Mitt less ready to be president after his goofy, gaffey trip abroad, 18% found him more ready, and 36% said it made no difference.  The numbers among independent voters were close to those for all voters, with 42% finding him less ready, 19% more, and 37% the same.

PPP among likely voters in Colorado finds President Obama up over Mitt 49 to 43%.

PPP among likely voters in North Carolina finds President Obama up over Mitt 49 to 46%.

PPP leans Dem.