Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The real movement has been in the battleground states. RCP currently counts 11 such battlegrounds (amounting to 146 electoral votes) as true tossups; Obama leads the electoral vote count in the other states, 201-191.
Those numbers are significant because at this point in the 2008 election, candidate Barack Obama was leading John McCain in every single one of those battlegrounds, including conservative-leaning North Carolina. In many of them, he was ahead by double digits, whereas his biggest battleground-state lead now is just 4.8 percentage points, according to the RCP Average — and that is in the usually reliable Democratic state of Pennsylvania.
Until the first debate in Denver nearly two weeks ago, the president enjoyed modest leads in the RCP Averages of every swing state with the exception of North Carolina. (Obama was ahead there for a short time in September — around his nominating convention in Charlotte — but Romney surpassed him soon after.) The trend lines show that polls in the Tar Heel State are increasingly moving in the Republican nominee’s direction, with Romney now holding an RCP Average lead of 4.7 percentage points.
Post-debate, it’s clear that the tectonic plates of the electoral terrain have shifted, including in Florida and Colorado, which now also favor Romney.