Ohio (18 votes) and Iowa (6 votes) hang in the balancing, intractably tied for weeks now. Romney will win both since Obama is under 50% and the undecided will carry the state for the Republican, but we would do well to look beyond Ohio to other places where we could win the election.
Romney now leads in Florida (29 electoral votes), Virginia (13), Colorado (9), North Carolina (15) Indiana (10) and New Hampshire (4). Add those to the 179 in states McCain carried and you have Romney at 259, 11 shy of victory.
Will Iowa (6) and Ohio (18) provide the margin? Probably yes. But both states are maddingly tied at 48-48. Romney probably wins both because the undecided will break at least 3-1 against Obama, but why worry?
Focus on Pennsylvania (20) , Michigan (15) , and Wisconsin (10), states which were not designated as “swing” in the previous months. In these three states, Obama’s negatives against Romney have not run and the only Mitt they know is the good one they saw in the debates.
Pennsylvania is the ripest of the three states. Pollster John McLaughlin has Romney ahead 48-46. His sample has 46% Dems and 39% Republicans, a +7 Democrat sample. In the 2004 election, Pennsylvania’s actual voters were +3 Democrat and in 2008, they were +7 Democrat. (This is based on exit polling in each election and reflects the party identification given by voters as they left the voting booth). So McLaughlin’s sample may actually understate the Romney vote since it is unlikely that Pennsylvania – or any state – will see a replication of the highly Democratic 2008 turnout.
And, in the Pennsylvania US Senate race, Republican Tom Smith is leading Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Casey by 2 points according to McLaughlin and 1 point according to Rasmussen.
And why shouldn’t Pennsylvania go Republican? In 2010, they elected a Republican governor, US Senator, 5 Congressmen and put GOP majorities in charge of both houses of their legislature.
Focus on Pennsylvania. It’s 20 electoral votes are even better than the 18 found in Ohio.
(The old shibboleth that no Republican can win without Ohio comes from the time when the Buckeye State had 25 electoral votes. Seven of them moved south and now it has only 18).
In Michigan, too, we have a splendid chance of victory. My own polling has Romney one point behind Obama 45-44. With the president so far below 50% of the vote, Romney is very likely to carry the state.
Republicans, after all fared very well in Michigan in 2010 capturing the governorship and both houses of their legislature.
And, in Wisconsin, Rasmussen’s poll, released today, shows the race tied at 48-48 (after Obama led on October 18th by 50-48). With the undecided going against the incumbent, that really could translate to a big Romney win. Superpacs for Romney have invested more than a million dollars in ads. Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes are very much in play and very winnable.
Consider the history of the state. In 2010, it elected a new Republican governor, gave the GOP majorities in both houses, elected two new Republican Congressmen and replaced the extreme liberal Russ Feingold with Tea Party darling Ron Johnson. Now it is set to elect another Republican Senator (former Gov Tommy Thompson is ahead by 2 having surged from behind). And in the recall election, Gov Scott Walker won by 7 points. Wisconsin is going to go Republican.
This is not to say we should slack off in Ohio or Iowa. No! Keep working! But also look beyond at Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.