Presidential election minus two months

With the Democratic convention under way, and two months minus one day to go until the big day, matters American are looming sufficiently large that I’m starting up a dedicated thread to accommodate them. At this stage of the race, all indications are that Barack Obama has a clear but not insurmountable lead. Premier US psephoblogger Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight calculates a 74.8% chance of an Obama victory, which has widened over the past week owing to a sub-par convention bounce for Mitt Romney (Clint Eastwood, we salute you). With 270 Electoral College votes required for victory, averaged poll results give Obama leads of over 5% in states accounting for 221 votes, and Romney leads accounting for 182. Piggies in the middle:

New Hampshire 4 49.1 44.7
Nevada 6 48.7 45.0
Wisconsin 10 48.7 45.4
Michigan 16 47.4 44.6
Virginia 13 47.4 44.8
Ohio 18 46.7 44.4
Iowa 6 46.2 44.6
Colorado 9 46.9 45.6
South Carolina 9 43.2 43.4
Florida 29 46.6 46.9
North Carolina 15 45.4 46.8

It should be noted that these figures capture Romney in his convention bounce, and conventional wisdom (no pun intended) tells us they should now be set to bounce the other way.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

178 comments on “Presidential election minus two months”

  1. It’s very doubtful the Dems will win the 25+ seats they need to take back the House. Even one of California’s safest Dem seats will be electing a Repug because of a primary stuff-up. Under Californian rules, the two who poll highest in the primary contest the congressional election. The two Repug candidates both polled better than any of the four Dems who contested the primary.

  2. The other good news is that early voting is starting just at the right time (after the Democrat convention which blew away the opposite one).

  3. It appears that Romney got no bump from the GOP convention and Obama got a reasonable one from the Dem one. Really, Romney has to do something to gain some momentum. Regardless of the economic situation, if the Romney campaign is stagnant, it won’t win.

    I suppose one thing that could save Romney is a good performance in the debates. FYI, the schedule for the 3 presidential and 1 vice presidential debates are:

    [First presidential debate:
    Wednesday, October 3
    University of Denver, Denver, CO
    Moderator: Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor of the PBS NewsHour

    Vice presidential debate:
    Thursday, October 11
    Centre College, Danville, KY
    Moderator: Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, ABC News

    Second presidential debate (town meeting format):
    Tuesday, October 16
    Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    Moderator: Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent, CNN and Anchor, CNN’s State of the Union

    Third presidential debate:
    Monday, October22
    Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
    Moderator: Bob Schieffer, Chief Washington Correspondent, CBS News and Moderator, Face the Nation]


    [National Police Union Refuses to Endorse Romney, First Such Refusal in 98 Years

    For the first time in 98 years, the 330,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) will not endorse a candidate for president this year. The FOP supported the Republican candidate for President in 2008, 2004, and 2000, and its non-endorsement is seen as a refutation of Mitt Romney.

    Why the change? One big reason was Mitt Romney’s support of Senate Bill 5 in Ohio, which stripped collective bargaining rights from police officers.


    The Republican Party’s rabid attack on collective bargaining rights in 2011, particularly in Ohio and Wisconsin, is taking a political toll in 2012. Turns out that many traditionally Republican voters believe that their fire departments should be able to negotiate for adequate safety equipment or that the police officers who risk their lives on the streets should have a seat at the bargaining table.

    In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 would have infringed on those rights – and lifelong Republican voters in law enforcement are responding in kind.]

  5. [PPP has Obama 5 points ahead in Ohio.]

    The GOP need Ohio. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know whether it’s a perfect bellwether but I do know the Republicans do not win without Ohio. Yes, it’s possible for Romney to get the 270+ EVs without it but it’s extremely difficult, realistically speaking.

  6. Okay, just did some research.

    Post-civil war, Ohio has only gone with the loser 4 times (1884, 1892, 1944 & 1960) and each of those times it went Republican, while the winning candidate was Democratic.

  7. is a great site for polling enthusiasts like yours truly.
    According to their latest polling, Obama has 347 electoral college votes, and Romney has 191 electoral college votes.

  8. A thought occured to me tonight that Romney/Ryan may be a ticket that, win or lose, fails to win the home states of either its presidential or vice presidential candidates.

    Trivia quiz time:

    1. When was the last time a (Dem or GOP) ticket failed to win the presidential candidate’s home state?
    2. When was the last time a (Dem or GOP) ticket failed to win the VP candidate’s home state?
    3. When was the last time a (Dem or GOP) ticket failed to win both home states?

  9. BTW, TLM, I agree, is a great site for some insight on the elections and poll tracking. Do be warned though that the guy who runs the site is a Democrat (he confessed as much back in 2004) and, while that doesn’t change the poll numbers, it is important to consider with his qualitative analysis. (I think he also predicted a Kerry win back on election eve in 04.)

    I know that all electoral analysts try their best to be objective and account for their biases, you still need to be mindful…

  10. [I see fivethirtyeight now has Obama at 77% chance of winning which is amazing given the state of the economy over there]

    Their economy is certainly bad and I saw that first hand last year, particularly in Portland and Honolulu but the reason Obama would be in front is because those sane Americans know what will happen when the Tea Party gets in. It will be axactly what happened here when the loonies took over Queensland and, to a slightly lesser extent, NSW. Cuts everywhere and cuts for the sake of them. They just can’t help themselves.


    [The economy (slightly) favors Obama, not Romney
    Posted by Ezra Klein on September 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

    “It is becoming clear that if President Obama is reelected, it will be despite the economy and because of his campaign,” writes Charlie Cook. “If Mitt Romney wins, it will be because of the economy and despite his campaign.”

    “It’s a paradox,” writes Niall Ferguson. “The economy is in the doldrums. Yet the incumbent is ahead in the polls. According to a huge body of research by political scientists, this is not supposed to happen.”

    This is, I think, a fair summation of the conventional wisdom on this election: The economy is bad enough that Obama should lose. If he doesn’t lose, then we need some way of explaining why he didn’t lose — why this election didn’t turn out, in Ferguson’s formulation, as the political scientists expected. But this view is just wrong. Things are going exactly as the political scientists expected.]
    Highly relevant.

    [Obama’s Winning Because of The Economy, Not Despite It
    By Matthew Yglesias | Posted Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, at 10:47 AM ET

    There’s a meme out there that Barack Obama’s narrow-but-persistent lead is somehow happening despite the state of the economy. I’d say it’s largely the reverse—the economy’s doing pretty meh and Obama’s doing about what you’d expect based on that.

    To set the table here’s a reminder of what it looks like to have an election amidst a bad economic trend. Check out the 18 months of job growth leading up to November 2008: ]
    Check out the graphs

  12. Email my Aussie mate in US got from Beyonce:

    [Jason —

    I usually don’t email you — but I have an amazing invitation I have to share.

    Jay and I will be meeting up with President Obama for an evening in NYC sometime soon. And we want you to be there!

    Until midnight tonight, if you pitch in $25 or whatever you can, you’ll be automatically entered to be flown out to join us.

    I’ve had the honor of meeting President Obama and the First Lady a few times — and believe me — it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

    Don’t worry about the airfare and hotel, it’s taken care of. And you can bring a guest.

    But the countdown is on — this opportunity ends at midnight:

    Can’t wait to meet you!



  13. OK, clearly nobody has guessed the trivia answers, so here they are:

    1) Roy Orbison correctly answered that the Gore/Lieberman ticket (in 2000) was the last ticket to fail to win the presidential candidate’s home state of Tennessee.
    2) Kerry/Edwards (in 2004) failed to win VP candidate John Edwards’ home state of North Carolina.
    3) We go back to the landslide of 1972 against McGovern/Shriver, who failed to win either the presidential/vice presidential candidate home states of South Dakota and Maryland, respectively (Maryland happened to also be Vice President Spiro Agnew’s home state at the election.)

  14. guytaur, we often hear of some electors going faithless. They usually end up either chickening out or being replaced. Most recent memory was of some GOP elector in 2004 saying he won’t vote for Bush. In the end, none of Bush’s electors were faithless. (Although one of Kerry’s went for Edwards instead)

  15. Oh dear Romney has done it again. These were all posted in five minutes of each other.

    @washingtonpost: Romney advisers: Protests sweeping Muslim world would not have happened if he were president
    @BBCBreaking: Demonstrators against anti-Islam film break into German embassy in Sudan’s capital #Khartoum. Details soon
    @BreakingNews: Protesters set KFC restaurant on fire in Lebanon over pope’s visit, anti-Islam film, witnesses say – @Reuters”

  16. The turnaround in the last two weeks has been very significant.

    Nate Silvers graph shows it very clearly.

    The Repugs have a lot of money to spend in the last few weeks.

    This is Obama’s to lose.

    I hate that they have a chance at all. Sadly Obama has been a huge letdown for progressives.

    By being an empty shirt he has taken all the wind out of the passion of the progressive base.

    With the Repugs choosing Romney, they accidently did the right thing politically. They chose someone they really do not like. But who has more genuine appeal to the American middle than the majority of the loons they put up for selection (as much as those of us on the left would hate to admit it).

    The fact that Obama stinks to those in the middle who expected hope and change and has deflated his base, means that Romney now has a real chance.

    Too close to call at the moment, but the momentum is with the bad guys.

    Will not be surprised to see empty shirt Obama become a one term wonder.

  17. Only guessing, but if I could I reckon the biggest impact of taday’s debate will be on the ongoing Libya issue.

    Biden basically threw the intelligence services of the U.S. under the bus tonight which is fresh news.

    How that narrative plays out over the next few days will be interesting.

    Basically Biden is saying the White House was not trying to cover its arse during a presidential campaign,rather it was all the CIA’s fault.

    Not good to piss off the CIA.

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