Less than two weeks until Election Day, all eyes are on Ohio. While no Republican president has ever won the election without winning Ohio, it’s not impossible for 2012 nominee Mitt Romney to win without it.
According to the Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls, Obama currently holds a slim 2 point lead in Ohio at 48%-46%. According to Rasmussen, it’s a dead heat at 48%-48%. No doubt that an Ohio win would make an Electoral College victory for Romney so much simpler.
But what if he doesn’t win Ohio? Is it over? Not at all.
There are a few non-Ohio scenarios that are entirely possible. A win in Pennsylvania would more than make up for Ohio (20 electoral votes vs. 18). But while RCP has officially moved Pennsylvania into the toss up category (having cut Barack Obama’s lead there to within 5 points), I wouldn’t bank on a win there.
Romney could also more than make up for Ohio’s 18 electoral votes if he manages to win New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado are all within 1 point (excluding one goofy NBC poll that has Obama ahead by a mile in Iowa) but Romney is not quite there yet in Nevada.
There’s also a third possibility, and it runs through Wisconsin. The RCP average there has Obama ahead by a razor thin 2 point lead (again, if you exclude the goofy NBC poll that shows Obama ahead by a mile in any given state), just like Ohio. The senate race in Wisconsin between former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) and Representative Tammy Baldwin (D) is also now tied.
Perhaps no other state has made more nationwide political news over the last two years than Wisconsin. Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson defeated incumbent ultra liberal Democrat Russ Feingold for his Senate seat 52%-47% in 2010. Scott Walker was also elected governor by a 52%-47% margin in 2010, and then once again in the infamous recall election in 2012 by a 53%-46% margin. The gains made by the GOP there catapulted state party chairman Reince Priebus to the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 2011.
There is no doubt the Republican votes are definitely there in Wisconsin for Romney. It’s also worth mentioning that his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, lives in and currently holds office there.
While Obama easily carried Wisconsin in 2008 by 14 points, RCP shows that lead has completely evaporated. Also, in 2004, Sen. John Kerry carried Wisconsin by only 0.4%. Romney knows this state is definitely up for grabs which is why he and Ryan are now making campaign stops to the Badger State in the final days.
RCP shows that if the election were held today, Romney would win Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, but not Pennsylvania, Michigan or Nevada. All the other toss ups are statistically within 2 points. If Ohio doesn’t come through, Wisconsin may be his only chance to win the White House.