This is not, not, not a prediction, but rather an analysis of where I think the presidential race stands right now. In other words, if the election were held today, this is how I see it.
Right now, I have Obama/Biden getting 237 electoral votes, and Romney/Ryan getting 235, with 66 electoral votes in states I consider true toss-ups. Wow. Could not be closer.
Now, some may fault me for this part of it, but I have Florida leaning Romney rather than toss-up. I’ve always thought Romney would win Florida. On the flip side, I still have Pennsylvania and Michigan leaning Obama, even though I really do think Romney has a shot at nabbing one of them. But his shot at them is no better than Obama’s shot at Florida. Still, in the states where I do have debatable leaners, Romney’s chances for surprises in his favor have 36 electoral votes, vs. Obama’s chances at just 29. So in the iffy leaners, Romney’s chances for growth are greater.
Now, among other leaners, I still think Romney has outside chances of surprising in Oregon, New Mexico, and Connecticut, all of which I place now in Obama’s hands. On the other side, the pro-Romney leaners that are at least long-shot options for Obama are just two: Missouri and Montana. Romney’s pick-up chances in this category are 18 electoral votes, Obama’s just 13. Again, slight advantage Romney.
Now, of the 66 EV toss-up states, here is the breakdown:
Virginia, 13 EV: All along I have thought Obama would pull out Virginia, but things are looking far better for Romney there than I had anticipated. I continue to make this a true, dead-even toss-up. Not even a tiny advantage to either side.
Ohio, 18 EV: If somebody had me in a head-lock and forced me to say how this would go, I’d say Obama, by the slimmest of margins.
New Hampshire, 4 EV: Same headlock, different result. My gut says Romney takes it.
Wisconsin, 10 EV: My head says absolute toss-up, my gut says Romney.
Colorado, 9 EV: I really think Romney will take this one, but I had it as toss-up just to be on the safe side.
Nevada 6 EV: I think Obama will take this one, but the “safe side” analysis applies.
Iowa, 6 EV: Head says true toss-up; stubborn polls say probably Obama; gut strongly says Romney. Put it with VA in the true toss-up category.
Result, of the ones I have labeled toss-ups, if I were to go on a limb, I’d give 24 EV to Obama (Ohio and Nevada), 23 EV to Romney (Colorado, New Hampshire, Wisconsin), and 19 still absolutely unsure (Iowa and Virgina).
So, to do all the math and allocate all the leaners and even the leaners-rated-tossups the way I have done (noting that Romney has slightly more “surprise” chances among leaners than Obama does), we come out to 261 Obama, 258 Romney, with Iowa and Virginia outstanding. Iowa alone would put neither over the top. Virginia would win it for either one. So, if the election were held today, I’d say that whoever wins Virginia will win it all.
But it’s tighter than two peas in a pod inside one of those freezer bags where the air has been completely siphoned out.