Can Romney win without Ohio? Yes.

Here’s a new measuring stick for just how badly Barack Obama blew himself up in that first debate:  It now appears that Mitt Romney could, very plausibly win the White House without claiming Ohio.

It would be an astonishing feat.  A man who was, by some measures, the most unpopular Republican standard bearer in his party’s history could pull off an upset that literally no other Republican presidential candidate has achieved.

Let’s do the math.  Mitt Romney is currently running slightly ahead of Obama in the national horse race poll, with the latest Gallup poll putting Romney up 6 points — his biggest lead ever.

But in Ohio, Romney still trails by roughly 3 points and with early voting now underway, the Obama team is scrambling to lock in that advantage.

Given all the factors, election guru Nate Silver at the New York Times gives Obama a 69% chance of winning Ohio.  Not a lock, but that’s an infinitely more solid advantage than the Democrat now holds nationwide.

So what happens if Obama wins Ohio?  Let’s assume for the moment that the Democrat will also hold Michigan and Pennsylvania, where he now leads in various polls by 5 to 7 points.

That gives Team Obama 255 electoral college votes — 15 shy of a second term.  Sounds like a lock, right?  Not so fast.

Politico’s poll averages now give Romney the edge in Colorado (less than a 1% lead), Florida (2.5% advantage) and North Carolina (4.7%), states that give the Republican an increasingly solid foundation of 244 electoral college votes.  That’s just 25 EC votes shy of a win.

To surge from behind and claim the White House – again, without Ohio – Romney just needs to hold the states where he’s now leading and win Virginia, Wisconsin and either Iowa or Nevada.  That would give him 273 electoral college votes.

A squeaker, with no room for error — but a win nonetheless.

So where do things stand now in those states?

Virginia is a statistical tie, with Obama up by just .8%.  Wisconsin, where Romney trails by 2%, is tougher, but that’s hardly an insurmountable gap and he has favorite son Paul Ryan to campaign for him there down the stretch.

(Nate Silver only gives Romney a 25% chance of winning Wisconsin, but for what it’s worth my gut tells me that his odds there are significantly better than that…)

Polls in Iowa and Nevada also give Obama a 2-3 point lead.

Obviously, Romney is hoping to win it more handily than this, claiming Ohio and perhaps even tipping another blue state or two into his column.  If Obama doesn’t shift the momentum, that may be possible.

But the new map has to have Democrats worried.  Even if they pull off a narrow win in the battle for Ohio, they could lose the bigger political war in dramatic and historic fashion.


58 Comments on “Can Romney win without Ohio? Yes.”

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  1. Peter Hahn says:

    Brian – yes its possible – but how likely? Obama could win the electoral college and lose the popular vote (or the other way around). There are a lot of scenarios that Dems (and the Repubs) are worried about. Its a close election and has been for the last 6 months. Betting line is still Obama 2:1.

  2. JDM says:

    I like how Brian has adopted the new moniker for Mitt Romney, “the most unpopular Republican standard bearer in his party’s history”

    How about Obama, “the worst debater in modern history”.

    I won’t hold my breath.

    Media bias.

  3. Walker says:

    I don’t know, JDM, conventional wisdom is that Obama beat your guy in the last debate, so what’s that say?

  4. Newt says:

    Yes, Peter, but the non-Ohio option runs counter to conventional wisdom, and, unlikely as it may be, is worth discussing for that reason.
    And, thank-you for reminding everyone, especially JDM, that the betting line in the Reality-based Universe (including things like In-Trade, where people actually bet real money), is still 2-1 Obama.

  5. Gary says:

    You failed to take into consideration the current “momentum factor”. Things have changed very rapidly and seem to be be changing more each day in Mitt’s favor. Project that over the next couple of weeks.

  6. dbw says:

    Who knows at this point? It has gotten closer, but the underlying dynamic is unchanged. For every poll showing Romney leading, there are others showing Obama leading. The Rand poll shows a 5-point Obama lead this morning. The Gallup poll from yesterday showed a 6 point Romney lead, but the cross tabs showed Romney ahead by 22 in the South and Obama leading in the rest of the country by an average of 5 points. One Arizona poll shows Obama trailing by just 2 pts. Could he eke out a victory there? There are still 19 days left and a lot can happen.

  7. Larry says:

    Come on, Brian, you can’t even insult Romney effectively! “…the most unpopular Republican standard bearer in his party’s history” Have you not heard of Goldwater or Hoover or Taft? Must be some more responsible journalism at work here.

  8. Verplanck says:

    Wow, all romney needs to do is to rally from a 1.5 pt deficit (IA), 3.5 pt deficit (NV), a 4.6 pt deficit (WI), and hold onto a current 2.5 pt lead (VA).

    Considering each of these states is very different in culture and demographics, I don’t see how easy this unless tere’s some sort of broad, gamechanging event. So far, the debate bump has held, but Romney will need to do the same thing again in the last debate. Considering Obama is back on his game, i find that unlikely.

  9. Newt says:

    Larry, the three gentlemen you mention were all popular within the Republican Party, however disliked among the voting public (In Hoover’s case, in 1932). That was clearly Brian’s meaning. Of course, Republican who were salivating over Cain, Bachman, Gingrich, and other clown car passengers in their dislike of Romney, now return to the fold, even as Romney abandons their pet principals, dog-loyal as ever.

  10. Pete Klein says:

    If you want someone to insult Romney, I will.
    Looking at how Romney debated in the primaries and now in the debates with Obama, what I see is a classic bully.
    The man is devoid of any class.
    It worries me to think of how he would behave as President. Many people, both friends and enemies, see this country as a bully already. If we elect a bully as our president, just imagine how the entire world will view us.
    If you know anything about bullies, you know they are weak people.
    It would be tons of fun if we were ever to get the chance to watch Romney debate Samuel L. Jackson.

  11. Paul says:

    The only thing that is certain, and clearly shown in these pools (and in the comments), is that on November 7th we will still be the divided nation that we were on the 6th.

  12. Paul says:

    Pete, what makes you think that he is a “bully”? Something from the debates?

  13. JDM says:

    Walker: “I don’t know, JDM, conventional wisdom is that Obama beat your guy in the last debate, so what’s that say?”

    He beat Romney?

    Ask Ohio if they agree with you.
    Ask Pennsylvania if they agree with you.
    Ask Colorado if they agree with you.
    Ask Florida if they agree with you.
    Ask Virginia if they agree with you.
    Ask Nevada if they agree with you.
    Ask Iowa if they agree with you.
    Ask Wisconsin if they agree with you.

  14. Pete Klein says:

    Paul, yes from the debates. Now thinking about, I could add the time at Bain Capital, which basically bullied companies and the workers.

  15. Peter Hahn says:

    grasping at straws

  16. Larry says:

    Wrong again, Newt. None of the three was very popular within their own party. In 1912 and 1964 the Republican conventions both featured bitter division between the liberal (progressive, in 1912) and conservative wings of the party. In 1932 Hoover controlled the party mechanism but many Republicans (including members of Congress) deserted at election time. Interestingly, each of the three candidates I mentioned controlled the conservative wing of the Republican party.

    Your grasp of the current situation is no better than your grasp of history. Clown car passenegrs? How about Edwards, Biden and Dodd?

    My overall point? Spewing out hate and disinformation does nothing to enhance an understanding of the issues, candidates or the electoral process

  17. PNElba says:

    A man who was, by some measures, the most unpopular Republican standard bearer in his party’s history…

    Yes. Even the republics didn’t like Romney. Go back and look at the republic primary. Clearly republics wanted anyone but Romney to be their candidate. Republics don’t like Romney, they hate Obama.

  18. Larry says:

    Any conservative liberals dislike (which is virtually all of them) is eventually called a classless bully. They said the same of of T. Roosevelt in his day and more recently, Reagan. I guess they both worked out OK.

  19. PNElba says:

    Spewing out hate and disinformation does nothing to enhance an understanding of the issues, candidates or the electoral process

    Clown car passenegrs? That is an example of hate? Then what is calling Obama a communist, fascist, a pal of terrorist, anti-American, not a citizen?

    Disinformation? Remember John Kerry the flip-flopper and how Republics used that against him? It seems to me that Romney has flip flopped on a few more issues than John Kerry ever did. Actually, I wonder if there is a single issue in this campaign that Romney has not held two or more positions on.

  20. Larry says:

    It’s not enough that you liberals hate Romney but now you have to accuse his own supporters of hating him. What’s next? A poll that says a majority of his sons dislike him? The shrillness and bitterness (to say nothing of the disinformation) of the rhetoric is increasing in inverse proportion to Obama’s declining fortunes.

  21. Larry says:

    Saying that Romney is “the most unpopular Republican standard bearer in his party’s history” is damaging and just not true, as I pointed out. That’s disinformation all right! Calling earlier Republican candidates “clown car passengers” is mildly amusing in a mean spirited sort of way. We could always go there if you want to.

  22. Newt says:

    Maybe somebody can find a Republican 20th Century unpopularity poll to settle this, but clearly, Romney was greatly disliked among Republicans. As PNELBA says, they just hate Obama more.

    As for dem clown car, there was never any such comparison. Dodd and Biden whatever there problems, believe in science, and the Honolulu Recorder of Births, and, like 75% of Americans, taxing the wealthy. Edwards,! Note that he as soon as exposed as a complete scoundrel, like Gingrich, in his personal life, was thoroughly disgraced and essentially thrown out of the Democratic Party. Compare Gingrich, who remained a respected contender in the primaries until Romney and Romney’s money, destroyed him, in spite of Newt’s disgusting betrayal of his earlier wives. Oh, I forgot, he found Jesus, and was forgiven. Ah, those virtuous, moral.
    Larry, please parse out the lies here, we all love it so when you fact check us.

  23. JDM says:

    PNElba: ” It seems to me that Romney has flip flopped ”

    This is where one has to do their own reading, and their own thinking.

    If we simply listen to what we’re told to think, the media calls Romney’s changes in position a “flip flop” and we all store that term in our memory.

    When Obama changes his position on gay marriage, the media says, “the president’s view are “evolving”, and we store that term in our head.

    So, if one thinks about it for themselves, they realize, Obama flip flops, Kerry flip flops, and Romney flip flops.

    Then, the discussion turns to what issues were flip-flopped, not on who flip-flops more. The latter seems a little childish, don’t you think.

  24. Newt says:

    Larry made a good point about the Republican split in 1912, where conservatives supporting Taft through out the (probably more popular) T.R. and the progressive Republicans. It was here that the real modern Republican Party was born, dominated by worship of Free Enterprise and corporate well-being (except in the case of government subsidies and tariffs to protect the above from competition ), and the faction that favored government intervention to protect the citizenry was thrown out. And without the progressives Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover led us merrily along to October of 1929, and it’s consequences. As did Bush 80 years later.

  25. Peter Hahn says:

    what comes around comes around again (and again?). We’ll probably have another gilded age/crash in another 80 to 100 years.

  26. Kathy says:

    This pretty well sums it up. Not sure whether to laugh or cry!

  27. PNElba says:

    JDM – Call me childish, but I encourage children to ask questions and try not to berate them for doing so. So again I ask, why did republics make such a big deal (and it was effective) about Kerry flip-flopping his position on the war but it seems ok for Romney to go from being moderate Mitt to severely conservative Mitt back to moderate Mitt again. As a TEA party supporter I would think you would be livid over that.

  28. Paul says:

    PNElba, I see your point that many republicans don’t like the guy, but he did get the nod. And now it looks like about half the country like him. Probably mostly republicans.

  29. Larry says:

    Newt, I can’t even discuss history with you until you stop trying to demonize Republicans and make them all out to be responsible for every problem of the last 150 years. This, after all, is the party that preserved the Union, ended slavery, initiated anti-trust legislation, encouraged the conservation movement and won the Cold War.

  30. Walker says:

    “…[it] is the party that preserved the Union, ended slavery, initiated anti-trust legislation, encouraged the conservation movement and won the Cold War.”

    Yeah, but what have they done for us lately?

    That’s kind of a joke, but at the same time, remember, we pretty much agreed that a bunch of people and forces should share credit for ending the Cold War, not to say Reagan doesn’t deserve credit for his role.

    But the rest of your items go back a hundred years, to before the Progressives split off from the party.

  31. JDM says:

    PNElba: I re-read my previous post, and I’m pretty certain I didn’t unintentionally call you childish.

    I merely said that focusing on the content of the issue is a better way to discuss someone’s standing, rather than arbitrarily “counting” the number of perceived changes in position.

    Obama flip-flopped in a big way on gay marriage. That concerns me.

    Romney is exactly who I figured him to be. Not my ideal candidate, but certainly someone I could vote for.

    I never considered him a conservative. He seems to be to the right of McCain, thank goodness.

  32. PNElba says:

    Paul – I think the point I’m trying to make is that while half the country might vote for Romney, I don’t think half the country likes him. A good many of those republicans hate Obama and they would vote for anyone running against him.

  33. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:

    Changing one’s position on issues should not always be considered flip-flopping. Often, it’s merely a situation where a person’s position has evolved over time.

    It’s easy to tell the difference. It comes down to whether it’s “your” guy or the “other” guy.

  34. Paul says:

    PNElba, your point is well taken, and I did think that perhaps “like” was not the right word in my comment. I should have said “support”. But I think what you say is true on the left as well. No matter the republican candidate or their “likeability” many people would never support he or she. Did you hear that the president won the “who do you want baby sitting your kids” poll by a pretty wide margin.

    In the we “hate the guy” catagory it is pretty hard to beat the Bush bashing years (which I guess are not over) . I live in a pretty left leaning area, so we had hundreds of “Bush must go” signs before and after the midterm elections, but these were pretty ubiquitous back then. I wonder why the far right doesn’t dome more of this kind of thing?

  35. Paul says:

    Very true. If you didn’t support same sex marriage but now you do your position has “evolved”. Sometime that evolution might have something to do with getting elected. Like you say both sides do this. But that sounds too cynical, I do think that folks can and should change their minds.

    The most interesting flip-flop is Norma L. McCorvey (Roe) who is now a strong pro-life (anti choice whatever you want to call it) supporter.

  36. PNElba says:

    If you support Romneycare then no longer support it and then start supporting it again – is that an evolving position? Again I ask, tell me a couple of positions that Romney has not “evolved” on. Romney has had to ‘evolve’ on most of his positions to get the support of the TEA party. So which Romney will show up in the White House? Moderate Romney or severely conservative Romney. I guess it doesn’t matter if you hate Obama enough. How happy are conservatives going to be if it’s moderate Romney that shows up?

  37. Will Doolittle says:

    You’d put your gut against Nate Silver’s brain? Good luck.

  38. JDM says:

    new numbers on realclearpolitics
    O 201 – R 206


  39. erb says:

    Been watching Nate Sliver’s graphs for weeks. They have never crossed. Even when Obama shot himself in the foot (mouth?) the blue line stayed above the red line. Romney got a lucky break, but it doesn’t change the overall look of things.

  40. Paul says:

    “How happy are conservatives going to be if it’s moderate Romney that shows up?”

    I would be pleased.

  41. Walker says:

    Right you are JDM, though if you look at the No Toss Up States map, it’s Romney 244, Obama 294, which means more of the toss up states are likely Obama than they are Romney. Still, it’s clear that Romney has gained a lot of ground over Obama over the last two weeks. And then there are those odds-makers.

    Remains to be seen.

  42. Paul says:

    BTW, I don’t hate Obama. One guy I don’t like is Axelrod. The big spin doctors are usually kind of annoying. Yiu got him, Rove, what is the name of that bald headed guy from New Orleans that worked for Clinton? Is Romney’s guy or gal a nut?

  43. Gary says:

    What is interesting to me is the fact that many of Obama base are jumping ship while Mitt is expanding his base. To all you liberals maybe many in your base see something you don’t. The latest pole this afternoon shows NJ still in Obama’s binder but not by much! Another pole I just saw shows Mitt with a slight lead in the electoral college. Must be that “momentum factor”.

  44. Dave says:

    “This, after all, is the party that preserved the Union, ended slavery, initiated anti-trust legislation, encouraged the conservation movement and won the Cold War.”

    The link between Ideology and Party has not remained constant in our history. This is why it is much better to speak in terms of ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ when talking about political history.

    The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln were the liberals of the day. The people who now associate with the modern Democratic party, would have been Republicans in the 1850’s. And vice versa.

    So while it is true to say that the Republican Party preserved the union, ended slavery, etc etc… it is NOT true to suggest that conservatives had anything to do with that. They were then, as they still are today, more closely aligned with southern political ideologies. That included slavery in the 1800’s, segregation in the early and mid 1900’s, and the anti-progress/”return to traditional values” stuff we see today.

    In other words, yes, Larry, your party did some great stuff in the past… your political ideology, however, hasn’t.

  45. Newt says:

    Larry-As Walker and I demonstrated, the Republican party pre-1912 were by today’s standards, RINOs. Gosh, they even fought for equal rights for the coloreds! And the Democratic Party only came into existence , in 1918 (?), when Al Smith was elected Governor and initiated “liberal” programs to aid the poor and downtrodden. Before then it was mostly the party of angry ex-Confederates and big city bosses and their supporters

    But, FYI, IMHO Eisenhower and the first Bush were very good Presidents, Reagan talked like a conservative and often governed like a moderate and was not awful though I would never vote for him. Nixon..well he did some good things, ending the Vietnam War and opening up to China (thereby decreasing chances of nuclear war) and creating the EPA, among them. All of them, even Nixon, better than W., and probably Romney might be. Both of the latter strike me as perfect examples of heroic Greatest Generation fathers producing classic Republican Baby Boomer (spoiled, entitled, and narrow) sons. (Yes, talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation.)

  46. Newt says:

    Dave also weighed in on the Republican ideological switcheroo of 1912 while I was pontificating. I think we got it covered.

  47. dbw says:

    More electoral college tallies:

    Rasmussen: Obama 237 Romney 195 Tossup 105
    Nate Silver Obama 281 Romney 257
    Huffington Obama 267 Romney 206
    Politico Obama 294 Romney 244

  48. Larry says:

    OK, you got me! If I read any more of this bullshit revisionist history I’m gonna puke. It’s not worth my time to respond.

  49. Newt says:

    Good idea, Larry. That might really be bad for the old keyboard.

  50. TomL says:

    Arguing about polls is a muggs game. But what the hay!

    Todays released NBC/WSJ polls have Iowa LV Obama 51 – Romney 45. Wisconsin LV Obama 51 – Romney 43. Despite Brian Mann’s gut. Both are up slighly in Obama’s favor since last polled.

    Everyone seems to cherrypick polls and see what they want (check out this delusional ‘pundit ‘ ), but overall its not looking too good for Romney, as you can see at Nate Silver’s 538 blog . I don’t think Romney has ‘the big mo’ anymore, and unless the next ‘foreign policy’ debate on Monday somehow makes Romney look a lot better than Obama to the small remaining number of undecided / persuadible voters, Obama will win. No landslide, but he will win.

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