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Thursday, June In in India, a group of British soldiers was imprisoned in a suffocating cell that gained notoriety as the "Black Hole of Calcutta"; most died. In West Virginia became the 35th state. In race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.
It ran every Sunday evening until June 6, In the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a "hot line" between the two superpowers. In boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. Ali's conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court in Just to remind readers who may have missed the previous column in this series, the vertical lines in these charts represent the dates these columns have previously appeared upon.
This provides an easy reference point for my analysis of the intervening period from the last Electoral Math column. Let's take a look at Mitt Romney's position. Romney went overseas during this period, and was ridiculed by the American media for dissing the London Olympics -- as well as a few other gaffes from the rest of his trip to Israel and Poland.
Harry Reid tossed one heck of a gauntlet down in front of Romney, daring Mitt to release further tax returns. Romney has so far resisted doing so, in an effort to turn the whole thing around on Harry Reid. It remains to be seen how this will play out with the undecided American voter, it bears pointing out. As for the actual state-by-state numbers, Mitt Romney has stayed remarkably stable -- much more stable than John McCain in In fact, Romney's support is reminiscent of nothing more than Barack Obama's job approval numbers, which haven't appreciably changed in the last four or five months.
Perhaps the American public has simply made up its mind on the entire election, and any further speculation on the part of pundits is completely and utterly unnecessary? Well, of course, this column must reject this logic, because if accepted it would argue strongly for just wrapping the whole column series up altogether and going into the back yard to take a nap or something.
Back to solid data, Mitt Romney lost Florida early on in this particular cycle although, as I said, this should be considered as a large number of EV which could flip back at the drop of a hat. This brought his total EV numbers down. Later on, Romney firmed up two states in significant ways. Mitt got good news in a poll out of North Carolina at the beginning of August, which moved the state from Barely Romney to Weak Romney. Unfortunately for Mitt, while this did increase his base vote in the states he can probably count on in November, this totally erased the Barely category for him. To put it another way, Romney is firming up his support in certain states, but he has yet to convince any of the swing states to swing in his direction.
At the very end, there was further movement which all but cancelled out this bump for Romney, as North Carolina moved back to Barely, and, somewhat surprisingly, Georgia moved from Strong to Weak for Romney.
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So, even with this good news for Romney's camp, there is a fairly ugly lining to that silver cloud. Romney started this period with an overall total of EV, but ended up due to the Florida flip , with only EV. Romney's Strong numbers jumped from to EV -- a level John McCain would struggle to achieve throughout his entire campaign -- but then fell back even further to end at EV.
Like Mitt Romney's chart, the overall "if the election were held today" picture for President Obama has only changed with the Florida flop. But within these numbers, Obama showed much more movement than his opponent, some of which was good news for Obama fans and some of which was not. Wisconsin and Virginia weakened even further, moving from Weak to Barely Obama. Three states showed weakness, but then recovered, as Washington and New Jersey both moved from Strong to Weak, but then moved back to Strong.
Pennsylvania moved from Weak to Barely, but then right back to Weak. This was partially offset by two states which firmed up, as both Michigan and Ohio moved from Barely Obama to Weak Obama. But the biggest piece of good news for Obama's chart was the movement of Florida from Barely Romney to Weak Obama, although it fell back into Barely Obama to finish up. On the chart, this all translated into a falling off of Obama's Strong numbers, with a limited recovery after the dip.
At the same time, however, his Weak numbers improved and his Barely numbers filled in to leave the top line steady, after the addition of Florida. Obama's overall total went up from to EV, as a result of the Florida move. The crucial "Strong Plus Weak" number moved upward for Obama from until -- for the second time this cycle -- they topped the magic EV needed to win, hitting a high of EV before falling back to finish up at EV.
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Which is still pretty close to EV. If every poll is accurate and the election were held today, Obama would gain EV in states where he's running five points or better ahead of Romney. This would mean he would only need to win a single state from his Barely column -- even New Hampshire would do -- to gain a second term in the White House.
So while the drop off in Strong states is a little concerning, Obama's overall Electoral Math picture is still quite rosy. Since this column uses data only from Electoral-Vote. Also, because his charts are cooler than mine. Here is his current chart, which combines all three of my above charts into one:. The purple line shows where the total stands, if it is above the green midpoint then the advantage is Obama's and if below, then the advantage is with Romney. Clicking on the chart above will take you to a page with a bigger image, or you can read Minter's most recent comments for a much more in-depth analysis than I manage to do.
As I mentioned, Minter gathers data from multiple sources, and takes a much closer look at the numbers, state-by-state.
pefawuqa.cf » Electoral Math -- Ups And Downs
To finish up, here is how I divide the states up at the moment. These picks take into account other factors than just raw poll numbers, which is a fancy way of saying sometimes my gut just overrules the numbers. Full lists of the states in each category and their EV totals are at the bottom, and we've added to the data section this time around a list of states which have not been polled at all this election cycle, as well as the states which have not been polled since the first of June.
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Most of these are extremely safe states for one side or the other, but the older the polling data the less it can be relied upon. The three categories here are "Likely" for each candidate broken down into "Safe" and "Probable" as well as a "Tossup" category with "Leaning" for each candidate and a "Too Close To Call". Got all that? Then let's get on with it, shall we?
This reduces Obama's total Safe number by 22, leaving him with EV here for now see below for full list. Probable Obama 7 states, 71 EV This category gains the three states which moved down from Safe, for a total of seven states. All of these seem to be holding firm for Obama, though, meaning none have moved any further down the list. Safe Romney 18 states, EV Arizona is now looking so strong for Romney that it has to be considered one of his Safe states. Offsetting this good news for Romney fans, however, we've got to move both South Dakota and Georgia down a notch, for now.
These three moves mean Romney winds up losing one state and 8 EV in this category. Probable Romney 5 states, 43 EV Like Obama, however, all this movement merely reshuffles the deck between these two categories. Romney now has five probable states, for a total of 43 EV. Lean Obama 5 states, 47 EV Relying mostly on gut feeling for the final groups, there now seem to be five states leaning towards Obama, but not comfortably in his column quite yet. Colorado, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin all didn't move this time around. Virginia seems weaker than before, so it has moved into the Too Close to Call group.
At the same time, Iowa seems to be consistently leaning Obama, so it moves up to take Virginia's place. Because Virginia is bigger, this results in a net loss for Obama here of 7 EV.
Lean Romney 1 state, 15 EV No change here. North Carolina firmed up for Romney, but then right at the end fell back. Rather than moving it up to Probable, it has to still be seen as just a "leaner" for Romney. Iowa, as mentioned, seems to be holding in the Obama column, so it moves up to Lean Obama for now this could change with further polling, of course.
Virginia, however, seems like it could be very close indeed, so it has moved into the "anybody's guess" group. Florida remains here as well, and will likely do so right up to Election Day. In general, as state-level polling gets more frequent, we're going to see more movement between all the categories.
An Evaluation of 2016 Election Polls in the U.S.
Much of the movement we see this time around is likely due to polls being taken in states which have been mostly ignored up until this point, in fact. Call it setting a true baseline, before the national conventions kick off and election season really kicks off. Mitt Romney is doing a remarkable job -- when compared to John McCain in , at least -- of firming up his early support. Almost every state in his column is virtually a lock for him in November, now shown by the disappearance of the light pink section of his chart.