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by
Rich Baehr

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August 16, 2012 - 9:36 am

The election will be decided, of course, in the Electoral College and not by the national popular vote, which has incorrectly picked the winner four times. (In 1824, due to a multiple-candidate race with no majority of electors won by any of the candidates, the race was thrown to the U.S. House, where John Quincy Adams prevailed.)

In the last two weeks, at least one poll has shown Romney ahead in Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, and now Wisconsin. Adding the Electoral College votes from these states to the states where Romney is assumed to have locked up the win or to have a safe lead, the Romney total reaches 291. Of course, there have been other polls in some of these states that have been less favorable to Romney. Obama has led in polls in Nevada and New Hampshire by mid-single digits.

A week ago, the RealClearPolitics.com average for Ohio — a state that has been part of every Republican presidential election victory since the party was founded — showed about a five-point lead for Obama, close to the same margin Obama achieved in 2008. This deficit was a reason why many thought Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman would be the logical choice to run with Romney. But in the last two days, we’ve seen three shifting Ohio polls: Rasmussen shows a tie, PPP has a three-point lead for Obama, and Purple Strategies gives a two-point lead to Romney. The state now appears to be a toss-up, or a very small Obama lead. The Purple Strategies poll of the battleground states indicates the race is also very close in Florida, Virginia, and Colorado. Romney leads in all but Colorado in this collection of polls.

Silver’s model today gives Obama a 70% chance of victory. This seems too high, though in fairness, his latest runs were done before the Purple Strategies polls were released. The national tracking polls and the state polls released this week do not provide much evidence of why Obama would be a more than two-to-one favorite.

The Intrade betting line has tightened, with Obama now a four-to-three favorite (a 14% edge), down from almost five-to-three a week ago (a 22% edge).

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