Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Oh How The World Can Change in 2 Weeks

Days Until the Election: 28 (that's right, just 4 short weeks!)
Projected Popular Vote Total: Romney +1.2% (Romney up 2.8% since 2 weeks ago)
Projected Electoral Vote Total: Obama 281, Romney 257 (Romney up 66 since 2 weeks ago)
Current Betting Odds: Obama 62%, Romney 38% (Romney up 8% since 2 weeks ago)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a horse race. 

On the heels of the one of the most one-sided debate performances of my lifetime, the complexion of the 2012 Presidential race has shifted significantly.

Romney has surged to a narrow lead in the national polls and while he still trails in the electoral total, his paths to 270 suddenly seem numerous.  He could win the states he leads plus Ohio, where he is a mere 0.4% behind.  Alternatively, he could pick up Pennsylvania or Michigan and win it all.

Now, let's be clear - there is good reason why President Obama is still the betting favorite to win re-election despite trailing in the national polls.  The structural advantage he holds in the electoral college make Romney's path tougher even if he wins nationally.  Romney still has to hold all 5 of his close states plus take one of the big 3 others and I'm not candidly sure that Pennsylvania and Michigan are realistic targets unless Romney posts a 5%+ national lead (at which point the electoral map almost becomes irrelevant as he will win in almost any imaginable scenario.)

So Obama can basically play 3-state ball - go after Florida, Virginia and Ohio and all he needs to do is take 1 of the 3.

Plus, there are still 3 more significant events in the political season...the 3 remaining debates.  If we review the 4 that have occurred so far from my list of 7, it has been a mixed bag:
1.  Selection of Republican VP Candidate - minor boost for Romney
2.  Republican National Convention - weak or zero boost for Romney
3.  Democratic National Convention - moderate boost for Obama
4.  First Presidential Debate - moderate-to-large boost for Romney

I find it almost inconceivable that Obama will turn in 2 more performances as flat as the one last week or that Biden vs. Ryan will go as poorly as the first Presidential debate.  Romney doesn't need victories that large, but I think even 3 even debates is probably a big plus for the Obama camp since it takes some of the luster off Romney's first victory.

Obama is still correctly the betting favorite.  But certainly not as big a favorite as he was two weeks ago.  On to the VP debate.

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