Not that I’m writing off Ohio by any stretch since it’s anybody’s guess which way that state will go, there is a very plausible path to victory for Mitt Romney without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.
While still snug, it looks safer than ever to call Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire and Virginia for Governor Romney, and I do not see Michigan or Pennsylvania swinging away from Obama even though recent polling has shown some tightening.
With those six states assigned respectively we have an electoral map that looks like this:
Now assume for argument’s sake that Obama carries Ohio putting him at 255 electoral votes, and leaving Iowa, Nevada and Wisconsin in play.
The RCP Average in all three states is within the margin of error, and my numbers actually have all three under one point for Obama as of today. Polling shows there are 3% to 4% of persuadables in each of those states so there is enough room for Romney to outsprint Obama to the finish in any or all of them.
Averaging the last dozen national poll results Romney is +18% with white voters, -27% with Hispanics and +13% with seniors. Leveraging these current leads and looking at the demographics of the individual states it is very possible that Iowa and Wisconsin could fall to Romney.
Iowa has 93% white, 5% Hispanic and 15% senior voters which are +15%, -11% and +2% when compared to national averages. Romney is also +4% on who’d better handle the economy.
Nevada has 78% white, 26% Hispanic and 12% senior voters which are +0%, +10% and +1% when compared to national averages. This is the least demographically favorable state to Romney.
Wisconsin has 88% white, 6% Hispanic and 14% senior voters which are +10%, -10% and +1% when compared to national averages. Romney holds a +1% on who’d better handle the economy.
Clearly Iowa and Wisconsin are demographically favorable to Romney so a strong white and senior voter turnout could seal the deal in both states.
The other factor to look at is how poorly Obama is doing in all three states relative to his victories in 2008 when he took Iowa by 9.5%, Nevada by 12.5% and Wisconsin by 13.9%. His leads, whether using the RCP Average or my numbers are a mere fraction of those margins and that may speak volumes about former, but now disillusioned, Obama supporters.
Certainly Ohio is important and the outcome there will most assuredly have an effect on the race but Mitt Romney has a viable path to victory without it, and with it a potential 50 plus electoral vote win.