The road to 270 EV's is still 6 months away. One team or the other will get over confident when they see one side or the other closing in on the 270. Most pundits, including me, think we are still a Bush-Gore/ Bush Kerry map of the country. If either of those races were held today with the same map 246-253 would be the total that either Gore or Kerry would have taken home. There has been some "purpling' of some of the traditional Red and Blue states. As we look today at the RCP EV Map we can see that 253 is the number Obama has already reached. 9 States remain "undecided". (First of all there will tightening in these and other states over the next 6 months, but lets just look at it today). 2 States in the "und" column are Iowa and NH, Bush one each of these states once and lost each on once. Even if we grant them both to Obama it's only 263. Yes it is close. But keep in mind both IA and NH have moved dramatically to the GOP/ TEA P over the past 7 years. the next 7 states in the "Und" column are NC, VA, OH, FL, CO, AZ, MO. Of these NC, MO, and AZ are not going to be Blue states this time assuming its a close race. FL and VA are slightly favored at the moment by Romney in polls that mostly "Reg'd Voters" vs. Likely Voters. I have learned over the years "likely" always is more accurate and is usually 3% more tilted towards the GOP. Also FL, VA, are both controlled by the GOP, and there is likely a very close Senate race in each. Sen Nelson is trailing Connie Mack in FL, and Allen and Kaine are neck and neck in VA. NC has a Dem Gov. Bev Perdue who has decided she can not win re-election and thus the open Gov spot is leaning to the GOP, which bodes well for the GOP.
All in that leaves us to look at Ohio for the decision. John Kasich and the GOP control all the seats of State Gov. the GOP is gathering strength in the Congressional delegation as Dennis Kucinich is gone from power. the Ohio Sentate is split Sen Rob Portman is being suggested as a VEEP candidate to run with Romney and Sen. Sherrod Brown is a freshman lefty who has a decent challenger this year in Josh Mandel. Recent polling has Brown 44/ Mandel 41.. an incumbent below 50% at this time in a race is in SERIOUS trouble. While the Ohio voters did smack back at Kasich's big changes a few months back..they are beginning to see the lay-offs were a worse choice, and I suspect some remorse for that retaliatory vote. So if it comes down to OHIO, which it looks like it will, (if the vote was today), Romney would win Ohio even though the polling of Reg'd Voter is slightly tilted toward Obama by a point or 2. (Reg'd voter +2 Obama= Likely voter Romney +1)
I also made the argument a few days ago on how the Upper Mid-west is very much in play. See Here
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