In final two weeks, advantage Obama

So all year, we’ve been talking about the Democratic Party’s “big blue wall” in presidential elections.

I thought I’d dig through the data and see how likely it is, now that we’re almost at the finish line, that Barack Obama’s systemic advantage in the Electoral College will help him win a second term.

The short answer is:  there is (still) a very real chance that it will.

Mitt Romney has done a masterful job pushing the overall mood of the country to a tie, perhaps even a lean toward his campaign.  In the Real Clear Politics average, he leads all national surveys by .7%.

But despite his surge and talk of Republican momentum on the campaign trail, Barack Obama still holds a clear advantage in the race to 270 electoral college votes.  Here’s the break-down.


Obama currently has strong support from states that give him 221 electoral college votes.

By “strong” I mean that these are states where he leads by 5 points or more in the Real Clear Politics average, and where Democrats have strong infrastructure for their ground game and tend to perform well.  I include Pennsylvania in this column.

Using the same yardstick, Mitt Romney has 206 electoral college votes in his column.  Here I include North Carolina.  Advantage:  Obama.


Romney’s trouble comes in the “lean” category.  Add in states where he leads by 2 or more points, in the RCP average, and he jumps to 235 points, bringing only Florida to his pile of votes.

Obama, meanwhile, leads by at least 2 points in the RCP averages in 5 states, and in one of those states (Michigan) his lead is roughly 4%.  That pool of support, if it holds, gives Obama 277 electoral college votes — seven more than he needs to win a second term.  (This includes Ohio, where RCP’s average has Obama up 2 points.)  Advantage:  Obama.


There are also three states that are, I think, clearly tied up.  In Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia, both candidates are locked in a dead heat in polling, and they also have comparable ground games and levels of cultural support.

Because of their historic identities, I think there is a strong chance of Romney capturing Colorado and Virginia.  New Hampshire is harder to read.  Advantage:  Romney.


There is no clear favorite here.  But Barack Obama clearly holds an advantage.

The Democrat has enough resources to fight hard in the toss-up states, while also defending states that lean his direction.  He also has a very solid ground game in place in key states.

That won’t boost him back to 2008 levels of turnout, but it should prevent the kind of apathy that helped doom Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.  He can slip a bit, and lose in a lot of places, and still win the race.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has a more arduous task.  He has to translate his renewed momentum into a run-the-table series of victories in the toss-up states, and he has to flip a couple of states (particularly the big-prize states of Ohio and Wisconsin) that have persistently leaned toward Obama.

Totally doable, especially given that Romney’s “favorable” ratings have surged dramatically.  But the Republican still faces a measurable disadvantage.  We’ll see in the days ahead whether he can tip one or two additional states into the true toss-up or even “leans-Republican” column.

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51 Comments on “In final two weeks, advantage Obama”

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  1. Newt says:

    Oh, Brian, there you go again, attempting to use mere facts to distort the TRUTH that must be true because people know it in their hearts, where all truth truly resides, at least for conservatives.
    I saw an analyst on Morning Joe today who said that even if Obama loses Ohio, Romney still loses if he fails to also carry Wisconsin AND Iowa. Less and less likely each day, in spite of fantastic spinning by the horserace driven MSM.
    But, as you say, Obama has the advantage, but not a lock by any means. Especially while Karl Rove still walks the earth.

  2. JDM says:

    Fortunately for those who don’t want 4 more years of Obama, he is self-destructing as we speak.

    The White House is officially in cover-up mode over Benghazi.

    “No comment” is not a good strategy.

  3. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I thought Karl Rove slithered.

  4. Peter Hahn says:

    Romney’s gone centrist. If he can do that and keep his right-wing nut job base behind him (e.g. JDM :-), he has a good chance. Obama has to get good turnout which might be tough. It is “well known” (dont know how) that if everyone in the country voted, Obama would win in a landslide. But now, the electoral map looks better for Obama than Romney – fortunately.

  5. Larry says:

    More about Obama’s foreign policy leadership here:

    Either someone lied or someone was asleep at the wheel, or both. Not real leadership, either way.

  6. Pete Klein says:

    The only true and obvious position held by Romney is his desire to be President.
    After the fat lady finally sings, I believe Obama will win both the popular vote and the electoral college vote.
    With that in mind, I am hoping Ryan loses in Wisconsin.
    But, if you believe women should be bare foot and pregnant, and don’t care too much for blacks, gays and people who get paid less than $250,000 a year – and would just love a new war to keep the troops out of this country, by all means vote for Romney.

  7. erb says:

    Larry, I think you are correct – the truth behind the Libya bombing was either suppressed or ignored for too long. However, it is not going to affect the electoral college results.

  8. Larry says:

    erb, I think you’re correct too. For me, the Libya story illustrates Obama’s presidency: bold talk, poor results and a sick feeling that, just maybe, they don’t think the American people need to know as much as they need to listen.

  9. JDM says:

    Peter Hahn:

    ” If he can do that and keep his right-wing nut job base behind him (e.g. JDM :-)”

    I appreciate the smiley.

  10. hermit thrush says:

    can someone please explain to me what exactly the “scandal” in benghazi is supposed to be? obviously it’s a tragic event, just as it’s been tragic that our troops in iraq and afghanistan have been exposed to attacks, and just as it was tragic that our marine barracks in beirut were attacked under reagan. kevin drum, in response to the recently reported emails that have got jdm in a lather (his italics):

    And this proves….what? Both Obama and Hillary Clinton talked from the start about the attacks being the work of extremist elements. Susan Rice and Jay Carney later suggested that there had been protests outside the consulate and that a YouTube video had played a role in instigating the attack, but that’s because this is what the CIA was telling them at the time. What’s more, to this day there’s still evidence that the video played a role. (An opportunistic one, probably, but a role nonetheless.) As for the charge that Obama was trying to downplay al-Qaeda involvement, that’s not because he was trying to hold onto his reputation as the guy who killed bin Laden. It’s because Ansar al-Sharia was a homegrown group with virtually no connection to al-Qaeda central. There really was no al-Qaeda involvement.

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

    Let’s wait until after President Obama is re-elected to talk more about Libya.

  12. Larry says:

    Before you start laughing at Karl Rove, remember that Senior Obama Puppet-master David Axlerod counts among his former clients Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, John Edwards and Hilary Clinton. Quite a line-up!

  13. TomL says:

    Brian (NCPR), Nate Silver (who we probably agree is about the best at tracking the horse race) places Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado in the lean Obama category. The latest (today) PPP poll has O 51 R 46 in Virginia (and up from last week). Florida & North Carolina do seem to be slipping toward Romney.

    Overall, t think the advantage to Obama is greater than you paint it. Still it’s close, and ‘get out the vote’ is critical everywhere.

  14. Newt says:

    Let’s not forget this double standard as compared to 9/11, where the President at that time ignored his national security adviser’s request for meetings about potential terrorist attacks from when he took office to the day of 9/11, then fought like crazy to prevent an independent fact-finding commission from being established, and only did so with the proviso that said commission could not make a finding of responsibility.

    Of course, much of this was already covered by Democrats who began finger-pointing right after the 9/11 attacks, right? Oh, I forgot, only Republicans get to to this. Democrats just got behind the President to show national unity. How cute.

  15. Newt says:

    I know that pointing this out makes me a “Bush-hater”. To avoid this tag, one must only praise him, or at least remain silent when W. is discussed. Facts be damned.

  16. Larry says:

    Do you think it is helpful to alwaysinclude in your remarks a laundry list of what you deem to be past Republican failures? That doesn’t disguise the fact that it’s about Obama now and what he did or did not do relative to Benghazi.

    The scandal is this: the story about the attack in Benghazi being motivated by outrage over a video was not true. Additionally, we were not told until much later that requests for additional security had been denied. It looks like the government was warned of a potential attack, ignored the warning and then tried to cover up their failure to act by creating the story about the video. I repeat: that’s what it looks like, but even now, we still don’t know the truth. What we do know is that four Americans died and the government either didn’t know what was happening or knew and covered it up. There’s no third choice. Either way, the President (as he admitted) must bear the responsibility for what happened.

  17. Paul says:

    In most of these polls it looks like Independents are leaning hard toward the challenger. That bodes well for him on election night, when it really counts. Those folks make the call not partisans like us.

  18. Larry says:

    If the blog was about history, you might have something, but it’s not, it’s about the 2012 election. Every negative comment about Obama does not need to be answered with a comparison to Bush or Reagan. It’s pointless, annoying and ultimately, distracting. Oh, OK, now I get it!

  19. JDM says:

    hermit thrush:

    Benghazi is a big deal because our president knew that it was a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9-11 and tried to bury that fact because it would hurt him politically.

    This is bad. Very bad. Four men died. Very very bad.

    The president chose political expediency over the lives of four Americans.

    There is no superlative to describe how heinous and distasteful to Americans that is.

    It’s really really bad.

  20. hermit thrush says:

    ok, jdm, that’s what i thought it was. the whole “scandal” is nothing but right-wing ignorance or lies, take your pick (my emphasis):

    Fourteen hours after the attack, President Obama sat down with Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” for a previously scheduled interview and said he did not believe it was simply due to mob violence.

    “You’re right that this is not a situation that was — exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start,” Mr. Obama said.

    the president didn’t bury anything. you’re either lying or ignorant. which is it?

  21. Rancid Crabtree says:

    What the facts are is that someone very high up the chain of command watched the attack unfold via drone camera in real time, chose not to attempt to save a US AMBASSADOR and 3 other Americans who were raped and murdered when military assets were less than an hour away, did not label it terrorism until well over a week later and continue to obfuscate and block investigation of the event even now. CNN was on the scene doing an investigation long before the FBI was allowed to start an investigation. This stinks to high heaven of either criminal incompetence or willful neglect at the least. The question of why Ambassador Stevens was even in Benghazi in the first place isn’t even being asked by the media. This is a coverup of Watergate proportion.

    The president didn’t bury anything? Yeah, that shovel he’s hiding behind his back must be a present for Michelle.

  22. JDM says:

    hermit thrush: you’re not getting it. The president knew in less than two hours exactly what was going down.

    There were assets within a certain range that he chose not to employ. The first two deaths may not have been saved. The second two were lost by the president’s choice.

    Fourteen hours later, using your number and your quote, the president began the cover up.

    He will not get away with it. He has blood on his hands.

  23. Newt says:


    I’m sorry you can’t see the importance of history in understanding today’s issues.
    The point is, from history we learn that leaders make mistakes, and it is foolish to hold them to standards of perfecrtion. Reagan’s led to the death fo 241 Marines and our abandonment of an up til then successful mission in Beirut, W’s cluelessness in ignoring f advice from those who knew better made the 9/11 attacks much more likely to succeed as they did (Clinton was not so recumbent when warned of terrorist plans before the millenium, and likely helped prevent them). But, stuff happens, and sometimes you have to go on. Nobody tried to make a huge issue about Reagan’s failure in 1983 , or Bush’s in 2001 that cost 3,000 innocent lives and changed everything for the worse.

    So why do we have to be so hysterical about what might have inadequate actions around an event that cost 4 American lives?

  24. Peter Hahn says:

    JDM – you arent getting it. The president surely had lots of conflicting reports. They still dont know all the details (neither do you).

  25. hermit thrush says:

    right peter. but let’s put it to the test. jdm, what are your sources? give us the links. let us evaluate your evidence. or is this all just the latest transmission through the tinfoil hat?

  26. Paul says:

    “So why do we have to be so hysterical about what might have inadequate actions around an event that cost 4 American lives?”

    Really Larry, these are just “bumps in the road”.

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

    In my opinion, I didn’t care for the “bumps in the road” phrase. I would have been more comfortable with the “Those things will happen” phrase.

    I believe that the issue should be fully investigated AFTER the election. There’s little to be gained in creating more distraction this close to Nov 6th.

  28. JDM says:

    Peter Hahn: “They still dont know all the details (neither do you).”

    If the president of the United States didn’t know who and how killed his ambassador within two hours, he doesn’t deserve to serve in that capacity.

    If he still doesn’t know after all these weeks, he doesn’t qualify to be dog catcher.

  29. Pete Klein says:

    The following applies to both national and regional issues.
    So you would like to see the economy get better and drastically reduce the number of unemployed?
    But when you look at what all levels of government are and aren’t doing to reduce the debt, can you really expect any help?
    The economy is slowly making some progress. Many businesses are hiring but find themselves fighting a rising tide of layoffs coming from all levels of government.
    Every laid off worker drags the economy down, and that includes those laid off at the federal, state, county, town, city and school districts.
    Some like to say you can’t spend your way out of the economic downturn. Neither can you lay off workers and expect them to spend our way out of the economic downturn. Lay offs hurt the economy and it doesn’t matter if those laid off work are from the government or for a private business.
    All levels of government need to stop with the lay offs and start to rehire, and this includes the schools.
    If taxes need to be raised some, so be it.

  30. Peter Hahn says:

    JDM – for example- they are going to “get” whoever did it. But obviously (I hope) they would want to be sure and not “get” the wrong guy(s). And they have to worry that some informants will try to set up their personal enemies to get “gotten”. They probably know who was in the crowd, and maybe who were carrying guns etc.

  31. Dave says:

    Faux outrage in an election season.

    Obama did identify it as an act of terror the day after and then the day after that (irrefutably proven by transcripts) – that there were subsequently some mixed communications and uncertainty as details continued to pour in should not surprise anyone. Uncertainty and confusion about these events is a reality. It was a complex, fast moving situation taking place during a particularly complex and fast moving period of time in the world’s most complex and fast moving region.

    People can continue to raise a stink about this, but it is obvious why they are doing so, and reasonable people are seeing through it.

    And furthermore, while losing 4 lives is always tragic, listening to some of this outrage over “4 lives!!!” from people who supported and defend a war that took more than 1000 times that amount of American lives is, quite frankly, hard to take serious. Again, it all reeks of dishonest, faux outrage in an election year.

  32. Newt says:

    Here is what I think about the Benghazi outrage.

    1. Obviously, it probably could have been handled better by the administration. As others have said, we still don’t have enough information to decide.

    2. Obviously, the Obama & Co. is being held to standards of perfection (assuming they fell short) that can never be achieved by anyone in the real world. Other than the usual right wing frothing, I think this is seen as a way of somehow cancelling out Obama’s cancelling out of you-know-who. They just can’t stand it!!!
    And it won’t work.

  33. Newt says:

    And, the murder of 4 Americans in the line of duty, serving bravely in a risky setting, is very unfortunate.

    The murder of 3,000 Americans trying live their normal lives in buildings, traveling in airplanes, or trying to rescue them, is, to me, something at an altogether different order of magnitude.

    Perhaps not to everyone.

  34. Paul says:

    “And furthermore, while losing 4 lives is always tragic, listening to some of this outrage over “4 lives!!!””

    Yes, Dave just “bumps in the road”.

  35. Dave says:

    Obsessing on that phrase is another good example of this faux outrage.

  36. Larry says:

    I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the intimation that Republicans somehow “supported” the loss of 3,000 lives and should consequently not be worried about four more or that the loss of four lives is no big deal in the first place. It seems there’s no limit to the shameless crap you’ll spew in your craven attempts to discredit anyone who opposes you.

  37. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “It seems there’s no limit to the shameless crap you’ll spew in your craven attempts to discredit anyone who opposes you.”

    Did Larry finally find his mirror?

  38. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “This is a coverup of Watergate proportion.”

    Yes, in fact Hillary was at the scene burying the body of Vince Foster and burning the boxes of documents when our ambassador showed up and had to be eliminated.

  39. mervel says:

    Oh who cares. Really, compared to the 500,000 dead in Iraq this is not that important. Certainly it sounds as if there was some covering up, some screw ups, but that is normal government business. The fact is Libya is a HUGE success. We overthrew a dictator, we lost 4 diplomats, how many did we lose in Iraq, how many so far in Afghanistan?

  40. mervel says:

    I mean this uprising did far more than our invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan, it was hugely successful. People need to have their own civil wars. We can certainly support who we need to support covertly and we did do that to some degree in Libya and are doing that in Syria. This is the way you overthrow totalitarian regimes., not by invading and occupying them.

  41. oa says:

    jdm said: “It’s really really bad.”
    I disagree. I think it’s really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really bad, and history will judge it to be so.
    Other than that, I agree with jdm.

  42. TomL says:

    Today, Pres. Obama received ex Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement.
    Today, Mitt Romney received Meatloaf’s endorsement.

    “The aging rocker, perhaps best known for his 1994 hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” performed a series of power ballads familiar only to the most devoted Meat Loaf fans. In between, he offered a meandering and sometimes slurred endorsement of the GOP nominee, explaining that he’d never before publicly backed a political candidate.”–election.html

  43. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mervel, let’s not forget that Afghanistan was an enormous success for us in the final months of 2001. We sent a limited number of troops who aided the Northern Alliance in driving the Taliban out of power. Then instead of securing the gains and mopping up al Qaeda (our real enemy) the Unmentionable One listened to his Neo Con advisers and promptly invaded Iraq. And where are some of those same Neo Cons? Advising Romney on foreign policy.

    And where is Colin Powell, author of the Powell Doctrine that the NeoCons eschewed? Supporting Obama. Remember that the Powell Doctrine called for overwhelming use of force to be used so that there would be fewer deaths among our forces, civilians and even enemy forces. Like a Surge.

    Do we want guys like Pearle, Wolfowitz, and Bolton back in charge of our foreign policy? I sure don’t.

  44. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    And don’t forget our current standoff with Iran over nuclear enrichment. Iran became alarmed that the Neocons invaded countries on their east and west as well as establishing bases to their north and having US carrier groups to their south. The Neocon policies drove Iran to seek nuclear enrichment.

  45. Larry says:

    More lunacy from the master. Iran’s nuclear weapons R & D pre-dates the Iraq/Afghanistan war. At least then we had them surrounded, a strategic advantage that seems to have been ignored by the Obama administration.

  46. Larry says:

    What really disturbs me is the callous disregard many liberal contributors to this blog demonstrate for the lives lost on Obama’s watch. It may disturb me, but it really doesn’t surprise me as I have suspected for some time that all the posturing about health care for the masses, social programs for the poor and concern for the environment is exactly that: posturing. The reality is that liberals are either soul-dead hypocrits who will do and say anything to advance their agenda and maintain power or well-intentioned but essentially clueless sheep who can’t or won’t look beyond the posturing to uncover the truth. It’s always been this way with socialists.

  47. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It isn’t worth discussing an issue with Larry. Just look at the kind of rhetoric above.

  48. Larry says:

    I look forward to your silence.

  49. Larry says:

    Too bad you only read the headline and didn’t watch the entire video, Walker.

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