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Electoral College Watch: Are We Down to Four Toss-Up States Now?

Friday, October 12, 2012


On Thursday RealClearPolitics moved a handful of states from “Lean Obama” to “toss-up.” Those states are Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Collectively they represent 43 electoral votes. RCP aggregates and averages polls, so its moves tend to lag what may be happening on the ground. Its average also still includes some pre-presidential debate polls that have yet to cycle out. Based on their electoral history, though, we should expect that Virginia will go to the GOP and Pennsylvania will go to the Democrats. I’m not saying definitely that they will go that way, but it’s the safer way to bet at this point.

Wisconsin, however, is much more difficult to predict. After the election of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and majorities in the legislature, and the failed recall attempts against them that followed, it’s fair to say that Wisconsin is very much a state in transition. This year at the presidential level, it is the very definition of a toss-up state. Wisconsin could just as easily stick to its blue roots as it could continue turning red.

RCP’s move followed another significant move regarding a trio of toss-ups. Suffolk polling announced this week that it was pulling out of three states believed to be toss-ups: Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Reason: They are now lost to Obama in that pollster’s view. Following that announcement, a Tampa Bay Times poll backed up Suffolk’s take in Florida, showing a 7-point lead for Romney. Obama won all three of those states in 2008. Collectively the three Suffolk states represent 57 electoral votes.

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