30 September 2012

Bonncaruso's electoral landscape no. 4 - Sept. 29, 2012

Bonncaruso's Electoral Landscape:

Obama vs. Romney

September 29, 2012:

Obama 332 / Romney 191 / Tossups 15

This is my fourth major electoral landscape prediction-output for the 2012 election.

Electoral Landscape no. 1 was on July 15, 2012, which you can see HERE or HERE.
Electoral Landscape no. 2 was on August 28, 2012, which you can see HERE or HERE.
Electoral Landscape no. 3 was on September 15, 2012, which you can see HERE or HERE.

For those who know my analyses, they know that while I am a Democrat, my electoral analyses are non-partisan and brutally fair. I simply let the numbers speak for themselves.

There were a good number of polls in 2010-2011, you can see them all HERE (national), HERE (Alabama through New Hampshire) and HERE (New Jersey through Wyoming). As of 2012, I changed the format for recording polling data and moved to EXCEL. All of the polls from 2012 are in one EXCEL DOCUMENT: Presidential Polls 2012 (through 30 September 2012).

Here the new state polls, per day, between September 15 and September 30 (138 state polls, some specialty polls as well):

09/16: KY, VA – 2 total

09/17: WI, IN, MA, OR – 4 total
09/18: FL, MI, PA, MA (2), NH, VA, CO – 8 total

09/19: CO, VA (3), WI (2), MO, CA, „Swing States“, MA (2), ME (2), MI, NH, OH, FL, GA – 18 total

09/20: CA, CO (2), CT, FL (3), IA (3), MI (2), NV (3), NH, NC (2), OH (2), PA (3), VA, WI (4), „Swing States“, – 29 total, including 11 YouGov polls.

09/21: (lots of YouGov polls to come today) AZ (2), CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, MD, MA, MN, MO, NM, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA,, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, Purple Poll 12 swing states combined – 25 total

09/22: no state polls

09/23: CO, FL (2), OH, NE – 5 state polls

09/24: FL, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NC, PA (2), WI – 10 state polls

09/25: AR, FL (2), NV (2), NJ, OH (2) – 8 state polls

09/26: FL, IA, MD, MA, MO, OH, PA (2) – 8 state polls

09/27: AZ, CT, IN, NV, NH (2), NC, VA, WA – 9 state polls

09/28: ME, MI (2), NH, NM (2), ND, OH, PA (2), VA (2) – 12 state polls

09/29: no state polls

Here the raw stats on polls, per state:

State Polls through
Polls through
Polls through
Polls through
Polls through
Polls through
Polls through
Polls through 2012-11-005
Alabama 1 1 1 1

Alaska 0 0 0 0

Arizona 10 11 12 15

Arkansas 1 1 1 2

California 11 14 16 19

Colorado 9 15 19 26

Connecticut 3 6 7 10

Delaware 0 0 0 0

District of Columbia 0 1 1 1

Florida 25 36 43 55

Georgia 5 6 6 8

Hawaii 0 0 0 0

Idaho 0 0 0 0

Illinois 1 2 5 6

Indiana 2 3 3 6

Iowa 5 7 8 14

Kansas 0 0 0 0

Kentucky 0 0 0 1

Louisiana 0 0 0 0

Maine 5 6 6 9

Maryland 1 1 1 3

Massachusetts 11 13 14 21

Michigan 13 21 25 33

Minnesota 4 5 7 9

Mississippi 0 0 0 0

Missouri 6 15 18 21

Montana 4 6 7 8

Nebraska 4 4 4 5

Nevada 6 10 11 18

New Hampshire 8 12 14 20

New Jersey 9 12 16 18

New Mexico 6 8 10 13

New York 11 14 15 16

North Carolina 17 22 28 33

North Dakota 2 3 3 4

Ohio 20 31 35 44

Oklahoma 1 2 2 2

Oregon 3 3 3 4

Pennsylvania 17 24 25 36

Rhode Island 0 0 0 0

South Carolina 1 1 1 1

South Dakota 1 2 2 3

Tennessee 3 3 3 4

Texas 4 4 5 6

Utah 1 1 1 1

Vermont 2 3 3 3

Virginia 22 29 32 42

Washington (State) 7 11 14 16

West Virginia 1 1 2 2

Wisconsin 19 30 30 38

Wyoming 0 0 0 0

Total STATE POLLS 282 400 459 597

National 277 400 457 512

National – specialty polls 14 19 20 25

Total – without specialty polls 558 799 912 1109

Total – with specialty polls 572 818 934 1134

There were 597 state polls since the beginning of 2012 up through September 15. All 1134 polls (including the national matchups) are in the EXCEL DOCUMENT: Presidential Polls 2012 (through 30 September 2012) that is also hyperlinked above.

The specialty polls (ACA, latino vote, swing state votes) are not per-se directly involved in the state calculations, but worth a look nonetheless.

As of September 29, 2012, the following „states“ have not been polled at all in 2012:

Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Wyoming. (9 states), as was the case with the last electoral landscape on September 15th - no change since then. The other 42 „states“ have been polled. It is pretty safe to assume that these 9 states will vote in 2012 in the same direction as they did in 2008. None of them are likely to be competitive.

Most of the states that have been polled the most are logically those considered the most competitive in the GE:

Florida (55, was 43)
Ohio (44, was 35)
Virginia (42 was 32)
Wisconsin (38 was 30)
Pennsylvania (36, was 25)
North Carolina (33, was 28)
Michigan (33, was 25)
Colorado (26, was 19)
Missouri (21, was 18)
Massachusetts (21, was 14)
New Hampshire (20, was 14)
California (19, was 16)
New Jersey (18, was 16)
Nevada (18, was 11)
New York (16, was 15)
Arizona (15, was 12)
Washington State (14, was 11)
Iowa (14, was 8)

Alone from these 18 states in the Union we have received data on 486 of those 597 state polls, or 80.90% of all state polls.

Based on the polling results, which, as mentioned above, you can find all in this one EXCEL table, I come up with the following electoral landscape:

Obama 332
Romney 191
Tossups 15

Margin: Obama +141 EV.

This is EXACTLY the same EC predictions as the polling trackers from TPM and Huffington Post, which currently shows the following:

To-date, there are no special predictions for the congressional districts in either ME or NE, both of which do elector-splitting.

My methodology is similar to TMP's, but not identical. I take the average of all the last polls within two weeks time, and with no repeater pollsters. Closer to election day, this time-frame will be reduced to one week, at least for the battleground states. Any average at +2% or less is pure tossup. Otherwise, I designate a prediction.

So, what is NEW in this electoral landscape:

This is the EVERYTHING TABLE for polling comparison purposes to 2008.

Because it is so detailed, I will do a legend before the table itself.

The entire table is color coded: blue = DEM, red = GOP.

Column 1: "Rank '08" is a listing of the partisan rankings for that state based on the results of the 2008 GE and is not a predictor of that state's performance in 2012. The Obama states go from 1-29 in bolded blue, the McCain states go from 22-1 in bolded red. Think of it as an hourglass, with the narrowest of margins in the middle.

Column 2 is self-explanatory.

Column 3: lists the current EV total for each state. If that total is underlined with another number in parentheses next to it, then this state has undergone a change in EV total since the 2010 Census. Those states are: NY, MA, MD, IL, WA, MI, NJ, NV, PA, IA, OH, FL, MO, GA, AZ, TX, LA and UT (18 states).

Column 4: the exact winning percentage margin from 2008, with a link in the title to Dave Leip's uselectionatlas.org website, as proof. Here the same LINK. His site is the DEFINITIVE repository of electoral data.

Column 5: the final polling average for each state going into election day 2008. The title in this column is linked to the entire polling data I put out 11/04/08, with simple averages. Here the same LINK.

Column 6: "Diff. 1" is the difference between the actual winning margin from 2008 and the predicted margin average, based on the end polling in 2008. The closer this value comes to "0", then the closer the polling average was to reality in that year. Of the 29 states that Obama carried in 2008, he actually won with a margin ABOVE the final average in 22 of those states, and with a margin BELOW the final average in 7 states. Of the 22 states that John McCain won, he won with a margin ABOVE his average in 17 of those states and he won with a margin below the final average in 5 of those states. Therefore, we could say that the final polling averages in 2008 were "conservative" in their estimates, but there is a caveat here: anything in columns 5, 7 or 8 that is in italics indicates one single poll and NOT an average, for in that case only one poll was available. This data is important in looking at current polling data for 2012 - to compare.

Column 7 (“2012 Current PA”): is the current polling average in 2012, for which all of the polling to-date been posted as a large, tabbed, EXCEL table HERE. Again, anything in italics indicates one single poll, either because there has only been one poll of the state, or too much time has elapsed between this poll and the one or ones before. In this column, anything that is bolded as well indicates fresh polling data since the last Electoral Landscape!

Also, the current polling average is the decider of predicting how the electoral landscape looks right now. Anything below a +2 margin average means a toss-up, and those values are shaded in light green. Right now, there is only one pure tossup on this map: North Carolina. Anything above +2 will be designated a predicted winner. So, the numbers and only the numbers drive the electoral map presented in this electoral landscape.

Column 8 (“Diff. over 2008 PA”): is the difference between the current polling average right now in 2012, per state, and the final polling average from 2008. Though this is somewhat an "apples to oranges" comparison, it can tell us if there has been massive change in that state. And in the next electoral landscape, I will update these figures and we can see if they get closer to the 2008 averages or not.

Column 9 (“Diff. 2 - '08 Margin”) does what column six did, but this time for the current pollling averages – it pits them against the actual results from 2008.

One more note before citing examples: if the value in "Diff. 1" (Column 6) is a large number, that means that the candidate well outperformed his predicted polling average, something to consider when looking at the values for 2012 as we now go into the "hot phase" of the presidential campaigns.

My recommendation is that you first take a good look at your own state and get used to reading the numbers in this way. Once the eyes get used to this, it is easy to visualize trends in no time!

Rank '08 State EV 2012 Margin - '08 2008 Final PA Diff. 1 2012 Current PA Diff. Over 2008 PA Diff. 2 ('08 Margin)
1 DC 3 85,93 69,00 16,93 72,00 3,00 13,93
2 HI 4 45,26 36,00 9,26 --- ---- ---
3 VT 3 37,01 27,00 10,01 37,00 10,00 0,01
4 RI 4 27,81 18,10 9,71 --- --- ---
5 NY 29 (31) 26,86 29,00 -2,14 26,00 -3,00 0,86
6 MA 11 (12) 25,81 21,33 4,48 22,57 1,24 3,24
7 MD 10 25,44 17,30 8,14 20,55 3,25 4,89
8 IL 20 (21) 25,11 24,90 0,21 18,10 -6,80 7,01
9 DE 3 24,98 20,70 4,28 --- --- ---
10 CA 55 24,03 24,00 0,03 20,00 -4,00 4,03
11 CT 7 22,37 21,33 1,04 16,00 -5,33 6,37
12 ME 4 17,32 17,15 0,17 14,73 -2,42 2,59
13 WA 12 (11) 17,08 14,60 2,48 15,93 1,33 1,15
14 MI 17 (16) 16,44 14,44 2,00 8,74 -5,70 7,70
15 OR 7 16,35 15,57 0,78 9,00 -6,57 7,35
16 NJ 15 (14) 15,53 16,00 -0,47 14,25 -1,75 1,28
17 NM 5 15,13 9,26 5,87 9,33 0,07 5,80
18 WI 10 13,90 11,34 2,56 6,19 -5,15 7,71
19 NV 6 (5) 12,49 6,83 5,66 4,43 -2,40 8,06
20 MN 10 10,24 12,00 -1,76 8,00 -4,00 2,24
21 PA 20 (21) 10,31 7,30 3,01 8,79 1,49 1,52
22 NH 4 9,61 10,43 -0,82 4,60 -5,83 5,01
23 IA 6 (7) 9,53 12,75 -3,22 4,00 -8,75 5,53
24 CO 9 8,95 6,62 2,33 3,08 -3,54 5,87
25 USA 538 7,26 7,54 -0,28 4,74 -2,80 2,52
-- VA 13 6,30 4,93 1,37 4,31 -0,62 1,99
26 OH 18 (20) 4,58 2,30 2,28 5,22 2,92 -0,64
27 FL 29 (27) 2,81 1,79 1,02 2,35 0,56 0,46
11-A NE-02* 1* 1,21 4,00 -2,79 1,00 -3,00 0,21
28 IN 11 1,03 1,18 -0,15 8,00 6,82 -6,97
29 NC 15 0,33 0,62 -0,29 0,83 0,21 -0,50

Rank '08 State EV 2012 Margin - '08 2008 Final PA Diff. 1 2012 Current PA Diff. Over 2008 PA Diff. 2 ('08 Margin)
22 MO 10 (11) 0,13 0,46 -0,33 9,12 8,66 -8,99
21 MT 3 2,38 1,64 0,74 7,00 5,36 -4,62
20 GA 16 (15) 5,20 3,85 1,35 13,50 9,65 -8,30
19 SD 3 8,41 7,50 0,91 15,20 7,70 -6,79
18 AZ 11 (10) 8,48 4,43 4,05 7,67 3,24 0,81
17 ND 3 8,65 1,34 7,31 12,00 10,66 -3,35
16 SC 8 8,98 12,55 -3,57 6,00 -6,55 2,98
15 TX 38 (34) 11,76 13,00 -1,24 13,00 0,00 -1,24
14 WV 5 13,09 7,66 5,43 14,00 6,34 -0,91
13 MS 6 13,17 10,50 2,67 --- --- ---
12 KS 6 14,92 17,00 -2,08 --- --- ---
11 NE* 5 14,93 19,00 -4,07 11,00 -8,00 3,93
10 TN 11 15,06 14,00 1,06 7,00 -7,00 8,06
9 KY 8 16,22 12,40 3,82 14,00 1,60 2,22
8 LA 8 (9) 18,63 10,43 8,20 --- --- ---
7 AR 6 19,85 10,75 9,10 21,00 10,25 -1,15
6 AK 3 21,54 14,58 6,96 --- ---- ---
5 AL 9 21,58 19,33 2,25 15,00 -4,33 6,58
4 ID 4 25,30 23,00 2,30 --- --- ---
3 UT 6 (5) 28,02 24,00 4,02 42,00 18,00 -13,98
2 OK 7 31,29 30,15 1,14 30,00 -0,15 1,29
1 WY 3 32,24 23,00 9,24 --- --- ---

Two examples of extreme stability, as interpreted from the table:


McCain won this state by +31.29% in 2008, it was number 2 in the conservative rankings. The polling average for Oklahoma was +30.15%, so McCain did just +1.14 better than the polls. That is a very low difference. This year doesn't look much different. There have only been two polls of Oklahoma, called "The Sooner Poll". The first one showed Romney at +35, the last one shows him with +30. Too much time has elapsed between the two to make an honest average, so all that remains in the one poll value of +30.00, which is in italics, and only 0.15% less than the average from 2008. Oklahoma was the most stabile state of 2008 on the Republican side vis-a-vis the 2004 results and it looks very much like a repeat performance will happen again in this year.

New York:

President Obama won the Empire State by +26.86% in 2008, but the polling there was somewhat inflated: the end average had him at +29.00, so technically, he underperformed there by -2.14 points. However, just as in the case of Oklahoma, a predicted +26.00 is such a crushing margin that two points makes no difference in the outcome. Right now, the current polling average in NY is +26.00, almost identical to the actual margin from 2008. It remains to be seen if the president will continue to improve this average as the election nears, or not.

So, both states, when you measure them against the averages from 2008 at the end, show absolutely no erosion for their respective sides. That is not the case in all states.

What to make of this and the current polling data?

First, at the national level, we are seeing that President Obama got an observable bounce has not faded. In fact, in light of a number of missteps on the part of Governor Romney, Obama has increased his margin average, slowly, steadily, incrementally, to +4.53 nationally. That number is always good to remember when looking at the stats for Ohio, the primary bellwether of the nation.

Now, to the tossups. There were 3 last time, now there is only 1 ( worth 15 EV):

NC (Obama +0.83, was Romney +4.40)

North Carolina has been a bitter battleground all year long and it is staying that way. What a difference two weeks makes! The state had moved demonstrably more toward Governor Romney during the conventions, in spite of the DNC being held in Charlotte. But in the aftermath of „47“, the president has regained a razor-thin lead in the Tarheel State. If he holds onto OH and FL, he doesn't need NC or VA, but surely he would love to have both stay in the Democratic column. Nate Silver at 538 did an outstanding column on North Carolina in the last days and remarked that the state flipped into the Democratic column perhaps a few cycles earlier than the demographics normally would have allowed. His article is recommended reading. North Carolina will doubtless be one of the top 4 marquee state EV races of election night 2012.

The remaining battlegrounds in order of Obama current margin:

Florida, the Sunshine State, has moved barely out of the tossups, showing Obama +2.35. This seems lean, and it is, but let's compare: in this same corresponding time frame in 2008, September 26, 2008, John McCain was at +1.30 in Florida. Please also notice that right before the election in 2008, Obama was at +1.79 in Florida (column 5, Everything Table), more than one point under the actual result of Obama +2.81. In other words, Obama outperformed his end-polling then and is already in a better position now that he was four years ago.

Colorado is currently showing +3.08 for the President. These are not very good numbers in relation to 2008 in any way, but certainly better than 2 weeks ago. Of the 11 polls of Colorado in September, the President has won 10. But in spite of the lean numbers, there is an added factor of difficulty for Romney in Colorado in that Gary Johnson, former Republican presidential candidate and now Libertarian nominee for President, is on the ballot in Colorado, which is a neighboring state to his home state of New Mexico. In the sparse polling of Colorado that includes Johnson, he does better than in many other states. So, the factors to watch here, in the next two weeks, will be: how much Romney invests in airtime in Colorado, how often the President visits key counties like Arahapoe County and how visible Gary Johnson becomes in this state. There are only maybe two or three states where a minor candidate could really play spoiler in this election, for instance, Virgil Goode in Virginia, but there is no doubt that the Gary Johnson factor should not be ignored in Colorado.

The polling coming out of Iowa can only be good news for Obama, as the state looked very tied for quite a while. At Obama +4.00, it is definitely out of the tossups and just out of the margin of error. However, he has a long way to go to get to the leads he had in the Jayhawk state in 2008. What the good Lord giveth, he can also take away. In the case of a major Romney surge, I am sure that Iowa would be one of the first states where the president could end up under water. Also, the +5% Democratic Voter Registration edge from 2008 is gone. The two parties are essentially tied in VR in Iowa, D 32 / R 32 / I 36. This can somewhat explain the depressed numbers for the Democratic Party this time around.

Virginia shows an increased margin since the last Electoral Landscape analysis, Obama +4.31, far better than his +0.22 margin average on 09/15. Virginia is a „must-win“ state for the GOP if Romney wants to capture the White House, a state which Obama won by +6.30% in 2008.
Obama has won all 12 of the last 12 polls in the Old Dominion. At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, Obama had just taken the lead in VA for the first time. On the day before, it was McCain +1.30 and on September 26, 2008, it became Obama +0.40. The New York Times is reporting that Romney's ad buys for this coming week are in 8 battleground states, but not in Ohio. And half of the money for the ad buy, 2.5 million, is going into Virginia. So, it appears to me that Romney wants to use this week to try his best to bring Virginia into his column.

In a very large analysis of Virginia from January 2009 (which you can read in full starting HERE), I wrote the following conclusion:

However, in VIRGINIA, there was real resistance to Obama, but in counties that are „emptying out“, so to speak. We see a large poli-demographic shift in VA, with the north and the SE gaining greatly in political strength for the Democratic party. Here there were obviously far fewer GOP defections, if at all (McCain scored more raw votes in VA than Bush from 2004), but far more newly registered and democratic dedicated voters. This poses a far larger problem for the GOP than either Indiana or Ohio, for Obama's 1.03% margin in Indiana can be overcome and Ohio is expected to be a battleground state is virtually every cycle, but the addition of more than 500,000 voters to the democratic rolls in just one cycle is much harder for the opposition to overcome. The best case scenario for the GOP is that Virginia becomes a bitter battleground state. However, +6.30% is hardly a battleground margin. It is a better margin that Obama scored in OHIO, FLORIDA, INDIANA and NORTH CAROLINA. It is a lean winning margin, but a comfortable one and will require a minimum 12.60% shift back in order for the GOP to regain the state, and I doubt that this shift will come from those 500,000 new voters. The worst case scenario for the GOP is that Obama cements Virginia into the Democratic column in his first term, adding the state to core Democratic territory and thus making the electoral math for the GOP more difficult.

And I believe this is exactly what the Obama team has been doing: working to „cement“ Virginia into the Democratic column as a new blue state. The fact that, in spite of a bad economy, Obama has been able to maintain the upper hand until now - and I expect he will visit the Old Dominion quite often. Look what Virginia does for the electoral math.

STRATEGEMA: If Obama retains all the western states and cements Virginia into the Democratic column, then were we to consider OH, MI, FL, NC and IA as pure tossups, Obama would have 263, Romney would still still at 191. Obama would only need to win one of the five to get over 270.

In Nevada, Obama has gone from a +2.5 average on 09/15 to a +4.43 average now, he was at +2 in August. But Obama has won 18 of the 19 polls conducted in NV this year, so his lead in the Silver State is more resilient than it currently looks on paper. It looks astonishingly like George W. Bush Jr.'s small but resilient lead that he held in the Silver State all through 2004. At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, McCain was leading in Nevada by +1.70. So, Obama is about 6 points farther along than he was at this point in time four years ago. We should also note that Obama vastly outperformed his end-pollling average and I am convinced that this was so in NV and MN because the Hispanic demographic in the 2008 polls was not correctly calculated. Nor was it in the 2010 mid-term elections, which begs the question as to whether the pollls have been adjusted for a higher Hispanic demographic in Nevada, or not. There is also a large Mormon population in Nevada, which could make the race competitive all the way to the end.

For most of 2011, New Hampshire was looking like a very solid GOP pick-up in 2012, but since then, President Obama has retaken a lead in the Granite State (average: +4.60, it was +4.50 on 09/15 and +5.00 end of August but was +2.67% in July). More importantly, in NH polling, the President is now hitting 50%, an important mark. Of the 20 New Hampshire polls thus far in 2012, Obama has won 17, Romney has won 2 and there was one absolute tie. In the case of a very close election, however, it is very conceivable that Governor Romney can overtake the lead in New Hampshire once again.

New Hampshire was the last state to officially be within the battlegrounds (+5 or less)

Ohio has been reliably Obama leaning and is actually continuing to do this. Obama's average has jumped from +3.62 on 09/15 to +5.22 right now. His average in the Buckeye State has shown much reslience throughout the year - Obama has been at around +4 more often enough, which is critical as it is just outside of the MoE. John Kerry never polled this well in Ohio, ever, in 2004. Most critically, at +5.22, Ohio is not really technically in the battleground zone any more, but it could slip back into the battlegrounds quite easily. Of the 15 polls of Ohio in September, Obama has won the last 14. Flashback in time: At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, McCain was leading in Ohio by +1.70. This means that Obama is doing about 7 points better overall in Ohio than he was doing exactly four years ago. Does that sound familiar? Go take a look at Nevada again. Fascinating, eh? Yes, the two best bellwethers of the nation are showing similar motion for the President over his standing in 2008.

Two weeks ago, in a move that I described as „bizarre“, Mitt Romney pulled his advertising OUT of Ohio during the DEM convention, especially in the NE Ohio market where he would need to pick up as many votes in heavy DEM territory as possible. If you go to the link, you will see my argument that no matter what his logic was for this, Romney just lost one critical thing he can never get back: TIME. 3 weeks later, meaning, this coming week, Romney will also not be putting money into Ohio. The New York Times is reporting that Romney's ad buys for this coming week are in 8 battleground states, but not in Ohio. No Republican have ever captured the White House without Ohio in his electoral column. So, the current Romney strategy is hard for people versed in Ohio's politics to understand.

And much more critically, right now, Obama is polling HIGHER than he did just on the day before the election of 2008: his polling average on November 3rd was +2.30, but he won the Buckeye State with a +4.58% margin when all was said and done. He outperformed the polling in Ohio in 2008 and is without a doubt in a stronger position now than he was four years ago. This is the most ominous warning sign for the Romney campaign, above all other states.

Since Ohio and Nevada are the two most reliable bellwethers in the nation at this time, impending Obama wins in both of those states would pretty much assure a national victory for him. Likewise for Governor Romney: if end polling shows him ahead in BOTH states, then most likely Governor Romney would be the next President of these United States.

With its very turbulent recall elections, Wisconsin has become a hotbed of partisan activity, President Obama's lead here has improved decidedly from +2.71% on 09/15 to +6.19 over Governor Romney in the Badger State, in spite of Romney's selection of Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Obama has won the last 10 polls in a row in Wisconsin, and a very Republican leaning pollster, WE ASK AMERICA, now shows the President leading by +11.50, which would be close to his +13.90% winning margin in 2008. Now doubt, the average right now is well under Obama's end polling average from 2008, but amazingly, it is BETTER than his standing from four years ago! At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, it was: Obama +4.10. That is food for thought. Also, Wisconsin is a 6-for-6 Democratic state with enough of a solid Democratic base to pretty much insure an incumbent Democratic win in 2012, even if just a narrow win. The only Democratic incumbent to not win WI in the last 64 years is Jimmy Carter, who lost the Badger State to Ronald Reagan by 4.72% in 1980, far under Reagan's +9.72% national average. This means that most likely, if Romney is winning in WI, then he is winning by close to a landslide nationally, which the national numbers are currently not predicting.

Minnesota shows an average of +8.00 for the President. At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, in Minnesota, it was: Obama +4.00. Minnesota has the longest continuous Democratic voting record of any state in the Union, next to DC: it is a 9-for-9 DEM state (1976-present) and the only one (outside of DC) to resist the Reagan 1984 landslide and award it's electors to Walter Mondale. This was one of the 4 states that Jimmy Carter retained in his losing coalition of 1980. Every Democratic incumbent since FDR has retained MN in an incumbent election (1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1964, 1980, 1996). If Romney were to be ahead in Minnesota during a Democratic incumbent election, then that would probably mean a 49 or 50 state sweep for him.

The only reason I even wrote a short summary of Minnesota is because Obama's margins in both Michigan and Pennsylvania are larger than +8.00. It is currently Obama +8.74 in MI and +8.79 in PA. Both of these states are truly slipping away from Romney. It is that simple. Flashback: At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, it was Obama +5.60 in MI and +4.30 in PA. In both cases, the President is ahead of his standings in the Wolverine and the Keystone states, respectively. He went on to win both states in double digit landslides in 2008. In fact, his +16.44% landslide in MI is to this day one of the most ignored and „unsung“ landsllides of that election, but it has, as we can now see, given him a good deal of „padding“ to retain the state even in spite of this being Mitt Romney's state of birth. Romney has not been advertising in either state.

At Obama +9.33 and holding for a while now, New Mexico is not even considered a battleground state this time around. The RNC is not putting any money into the state for the Presidential race. Flashback: At this juncture in 2008, September 26, 2008, it was Obama +5.80 in NM. And as was the case in NV, President Obama vastly outperformed his end-polling for NM, probably for the same reasons I listed for Nevada. New Mexico is SAFE DEM.

What about some other battlegrounds from 2008?

Missouri was the closest race of the night in 2008 and it took 15 days to finally declare a winner: John McCain, by +0.13%. For months on end, I complained about the sparse polling coming out of Missouri. No more, however. In the last 10 weeks, 15 polls have been taken in Missouri, in no small part due to the „legitimate rape“ statements of GOP senatorial candidate Todd Akin, which has really caused a shake-up in the numbers in MO. That being said, the state is trending more and more conservative from year to year and is likely not going to be a battleground unless Obama is nationally around 8 points ahead of Romney, which is not the case right now. Currently, it is Romney +9.12, tendency rising. Missouri is SAFE GOP.

Likewise, Indiana, which Obama won by +1.03%, had been polling in upper single-digits for Romney. Currently it is Romney +8.00, which is about half of the margin average for the Hoosier State over the last 20 years, but enough to insure an easy Romney win. I did a massive analysis of Indiana in 2009 (which cuts through a lot of propaganda), which you can read starting HERE.

How about the rock solid states?

Well, one would think that there should not be much ado about the rock-solid core states for both parties, but they would be wrong. The margins coming from polling of those states can indeed tell us a lot about the direction of the race. New York was already covered under the EVERYTHING TABLE.

In California, where Obama won by +24.03% in 2008, the current average shows Obama at a whalloping +20.00, up from the +16.95 at the end of August, but down from the +22.50 from two weeks ago. Obama is now on track to match or get very close to his 2008 margin, which has measurable ramifications in the national popular vote.

On the Republican side, in Utah, the only poll thus far for 2012 shows Governor Romney ahead by a whalloping +42 over the President. This is not a big surprise, as UTAH has the largest Mormon population in the Union and before 2008 for 8 cycles in a row, it was the most conservative state in the Union. John McCain won UT by „only“ +28.08% (still a massive margin, ala Obama in New York), but Bush 43 won UT by +45.45% in 2004. The chances are very strong that Governor Romney will smash all records in UTAH in 2012. To date, there has been no polling from either Wyoming or Idaho (both states with sizeable Mormon population),but as Utah goes, also goes Wyoming and Idaho, to be sure.

In Arkansas, a state the Bill Clinton won easily in both 1992 and 1996, the newest poll for 2012 shows Governor Romney up on President Obama by +21 (it was +24). This is important as data, for Arkansas was one of the five bible belt states in the Union to buck the Democratic trend in 2008 – and of the five, Arkansas bucked the trend the hardest. McCain won AR by +19.85%, and a +24 for Romney shows that the state is moving even more to the Right.

For many of the rock solid RED STATES, I have published a recent RED STATE REPORT, which you can read HERE or HERE. It will be updated on 10/20/2012.

There has been individual motion in polling in other solid states worth noting:

In Vermont, the latest Castleton poll has the President at +37 over Romney. Obama won VT with +37.01%, identical to this polling average. This is a massive improvement for the President in Vermont since the first Castleton in February, which showed him at „only“ +25 over Romney.

Conversely, in Connecticut, the President is still ahead and still over the 50% mark, but his margin average is +16.00 (it was +9.33 on 09/15 and +7.67 in August) in a state that he won by +22.37% in 2008. There is lsome measurable erosion for the President here – not enough to cause him to lose the state, but interesting to note.

Likewise, in neighboring Massachusetts, Obama's current margin average is +22.57 (it was +16 on 09/15 and was +13.5 in August) over Romney, again, in a state that he won by +25.81% in '08.

Also, in New Jersey, where the polling margin has Obama at +14.25 (it was +12.25 on 09/15) in a state that he won by +15.53% in 2008. And in Maine, the President is holding at between +14 and +15 in a state he won by +17.32% in '08.

I once wrote that Romney was having an effect on East Coast states, but all indications are now that Obama is moving more and more toward his large 2008 margins in most of those SAFE DEM states.

So, on both sides, in the so-called „safe“ states, less and less erosion and more movement toward the base in those states.

What would this mean in the case of an impending landslide win for either Obama or Romney?

It would surely mean that the margins for the losing side would be DRASTICALLY reduced, and that is simply not happening right now. Most of the Obama double-digit states from 2008 are still double-digit states in 2012. Most of the McCain double-digit states from 2008 are still double-digit states for Romney in 2012. And the subtle changes we are seeing in many polling values is more evidence of the theory of slow electoral shift than of an impending change in 2012.

FACIT: a lot of things can happen until election day, but in the Electoral College in September, it is decidedly advantage Obama, for four specific reasons:

1.) as in 2004, there are really very few true "undecideds" left to sway and Obama's growing and very resilient leads in critical states will make it harder and harder for Governor Romney to change the electoral math as it now stands.

2.) The bulk of battleground territory consists of states that had been traditionally much more Republican leaning: NC, VA, CO, FL being the four best examples. Of the traditionally DEM leaning states that Romney would love to make a real play, he cannot do so much if he is still scrambling to get FL and VA on board. States like MI, PA and WI all look like delicious targets, but the ads game and the travel schedules of the two major teams tell me that no one really thinks that these states are going to switch sides. The perpetual battleground states of OH and NV are in the mix no matter what. But IA, which looked like Romney could pick it up, is slipping away from him. Conversely, no one is talking about NM in this cycle, which says something critical about the Republican Party and its obvious problems with minority voters, most notably Hispanic and Black voters.

3.) Time is running out. September has now come and gone and Octobers debates are about to begin. This is shaping up to be a GOTV and a "base" election, ala 2004. Because of the hardened fronts and diametrically opposing stands on a number of issues, swaying new voters will be less critical than holding onto established voters, which means that voter registration becomes critical. In fact, the current numbers on many fronts right now remind me very eerily of 2004, just in reverse-colors.

4.) Obama is without a doubt over the magic number 270 . Romney is going to need a major game-changer to flip the current electoral map in his favor.

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