Iowa, Nevada could be deciding factors in race for White House

By Brandon Reid
Assistant Editor

Although three of four nationwide polls released Oct. 24 show Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney leading President Barack Obama in the race for the White House, an analysis of the Electoral College seems to give Obama the edge.

An Electoral College map at Real Clear Politics currently shows Romney leading Obama in electoral votes, with 206 for Romney and 201 for Obama. However, the map also shows 131 electoral votes up for grabs in Colorado (nine), Florida (29), Iowa (six), Michigan (16), Nevada (six), New Hampshire (four), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10).

Worth noting is that Obama won each of the toss-up states in 2008.

Based on an analysis of polls in the toss-up states and the results of the last three presidential elections, Obama stands to gain 70 electoral votes in Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Romney looks to gain 55 in Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire and Virginia, with six remaining up the air in Iowa. That projection would put Obama at 271 electoral votes and Romney at 261.

Even if Romney were to win Iowa under that scenario, he would still be four electoral votes short of winning the election, 271-267.

On paper, Romney’s best chance for making up those four electoral votes appears to be pulling an upset in Nevada, where George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004.

Obama currently has a steady 2- to 3-point lead in the polls in Nevada, and also won the state 55-43 percent in 2008. He was the first Democrat to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1996.

An Oct. 24 report by Liz Halloran of NPR seemed to show Romney faces a steep uphill battle in Nevada. Her article stated:

Pundits and prognosticators have long opined about President Obama’s built-in advantages in Nevada, where he captured more than 55 percent of the vote in 2008. And with good reason.

Democrats have a commanding voter registration lead, including among Latinos, and Obama’s on-the-ground effort is fueled by the 55,000-member Culinary Union and Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s formidable state party organization.

But despite those hurdles, and polls that continue to give Obama a small but persistent edge, Republican Mitt Romney’s Nevada forces say they are convinced they can fight above their weight class, and that the Silver State — crucial to Romney’s narrow path to the White House — is still in play.

We’ve got a shot,” Chris Carr, Romney’s state manager, said recently at the campaign’s bustling headquarters on the affluent far west side of Las Vegas.

People are trying to write Gov. Romney’s obituary in Nevada,” Carr said, “but there are legitimate pathways to victory for him here.”

Outside of Nevada, Romney’s other best hope among the toss-up states could be Ohio, where he currently trails Obama by 3 to 5 percentage points in most polls. Obama won the state 52-47 percent in 2008. However, Ohio was key to propelling George W. Bush to two consecutive terms in 2000 and 2004, and Romney could hope for similar Republican support from the state in 2012.

As for other toss-up states, Obama is leading in Michigan by around 3 percentage points, in Pennsylvania by 3 to 5 percentage points and in Wisconsin by 2 to 6 percentage points.

The Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election is now 12 days away. Obama and Romney are likely to campaign heavily in the toss-up states as the campaign comes down the homestretch.

As for the four national polls released Oct. 24, Romney leads the Gallup poll 50-47 percent, the Rasmussen Reports poll 50-46 percent and the ABC News/Washington Post poll 49-48 percent. Obama’s lone poll victory Oct. 24 was the IBD/TIPP poll, 47-44 percent.

Posted Oct. 24, 2012

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