As November 6 approaches, the Obama “firewall” has remained strong. While 27 new polls released on Wednesday show a significant bounce in Romney’s numbers since the Denver debate and a Florida that is undeniably red, Obama still holds a steady lead in most other swing states furnishing him with a clear advantage in the Electoral College vote. Based on the new data, Nate Silver’s FiveThiryEight Blog at the New York Times analysis gives Obama a 79% probability of taking the College’s absolute majority.
At this point, for Romney to challenge Obama’s lead, Ohio, the “tipping point state,” remains the key battleground. The new polling data suggests that Obama still retains a strong 2-3 point lead in the state, which translates into an 80% probability of winning. That being said, dissenting voices, such as the Washington Post, have moved Ohio into “tossup” territory. But this move appears statistically unjustified, due to the fact that the corresponding argument rests largely on the assumption that Romney’s Denver momentum will carry him through to Election Day. Romney could still win without Ohio, but as John Cassidy at the New Yorker points out, this would require a turnaround of several swing states that are currently leaning blue, a highly unlikely event.
Both Nate Silver and John Cassidy see a Romney victory without Ohio happening only with a win in Wisconsin, a state that carries 10 Electoral votes. The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll shows Romney gaining ground and a Rasmussen poll released today has Romney tied with Obama at 49%. Despite Rasmussen’s findings however, Romney has been polling, on average, 2-3 points lower than Obama. Given that averages tend to be more reliable than single polls, in that they account for statistical noise, Romney’s chances of winning the state remain unlikely.
Polling data aside, Gallup released today a reading of popular sentiment on election outcomes. As the data suggests, the public overwhelmingly sees Obama, over Romney, as the more likely presidential victor, regardless of party affiliation.
The whole electoral picture remains incomplete, since national polling data has been suspended due to Hurricane Sandy, nonetheless public sentiment and state level polling favor Obama. Much can still change from now until November 6, but at present, Obama’s “firewall” persists.