Mitt Romney's Most Likely Path To 270 Electoral Votes Without Ohio

Romney can win 11 different ways in the Electoral College without Ohio, but...From Reuters' John Whitesides:

Romney's path is tougher without Ohio, but still possible.

The former Massachusetts governor has a slight lead over Obama in Florida and has pulled even with the president in Virginia. If Romney sweeps those two states and adds Colorado, he would still need to win Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin to capture the White House.

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Obama's Independent Problem

From Chris Cillizza At The Washington Post:

President Obama has a problem with independents. And it’s not a small problem.

In the last three releases of the tracking poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Obama has trailed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among independent voters by between 16 and 20 percentage points.

That’s a striking reversal from 2008, when Obama won independent voters, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, by eight points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

And if Romney’s large margin among independents holds, it will be a break not just from 2008 but also from 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush won independents by 47 percent to 45 percent over Vice President Al Gore. Four years later, Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts essentially split unaffiliated voters, according to exit polls — 48 percent for Bush to 49 percent for Kerry. (Independents made up 27 percent of the vote in 2000 and 26 percent in 2004.)

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Iowa's The Des Moines Register Endorses Mitt Romney

From The Des Moines Register:

Both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney are superbly qualified. Both are graduates of the Harvard University Law School who have distinguished themselves in government, in public service and in private life. Both are devoted husbands and fathers.

American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.

Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.

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A Closer Look At The Tight Presidential Race For Ohio

From The Cincinnatti Enquier:

The race for the White House continues to be too close to call in Ohio, according to a new Enquirer/Ohio News Organization Poll that shows President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each with 49 percent support from likely voters.

That’s a slip for the president, who took 51 percent of likely voters in the newspaper group’s September poll.

Romney’s support grew among males, among high school and college graduates and among respondents in every age category except 18 to 29.

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Florida Looking Good For Mitt Romney

From Adam C. Smith at the Tampa Bay Times

It has been a fundamental rule of Florida politics for decades: Statewide campaigns are won and lost on the I-4 corridor.

Today that celebrated swing-voter swath stretching from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach is poised to deliver Florida's 29 electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

An exclusive Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll of likely voters along the Interstate 4 corridor finds Romney leading Obama 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

"Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the poll for the Times and its media partners. "Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney's going to win Florida.''

The formula for Democrats to win Florida has long been simple: win big in the Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, avoid overwhelming losses in conservative North Florida, and stay close to even along the I-4 corridor. Obama and John McCain essentially tied in the battleground four years ago.

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Ohio's Five Swing Counties

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The State Of The Swing States - October 25, 2012

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Study: Political Lies Tend To Work

From Psychology Today:

Lies tend to stick in people's minds, and can sway the outcome of elections, as well as public opinion in many arenas. So, what happens within our minds and emotions that make us receptive to lies, and then resistant to information that exposes the truth? A study led by Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia explains part of what may happen. The researchers found that "Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true -- it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources."

If the subject isn't very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold, according to the researchers. They point out that rejecting false information requires more cognitive effort than just taking it in. That is, weighing how plausible a message is, or assessing the reliability of its source, is more difficult, cognitively, than simply accepting that the message is true. In short, it takes more mental work. And if the topic isn't very important to you or you have other things on your mind, the misinformation is more likely to take hold.

Moreover, when you do take the time to evaluate a claim or allegation, you're likely to pay attention just to a limited number of features, the study found. For example: Does the information fit with other things you already believe? Does it make a coherent story with what you already know? Does it come from a credible source? And do others believe it?

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Mitt Romney's Minnesota Ad Buy

From The New Republic's Nate Cohn:

The Associated Press reports that the Romney campaign is buying television advertisements in Minnesota, a state where neither presidential campaign has purchased TV ads before. So what’s Romney’s move? Is it a bluff? A genuine late play at a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican since 1972? Here are three possible explanations: 

1) Wisconsin.

The western sliver of Wisconsin is in the Minneapolis and Duluth media markets, so airing a limited number of advertisements in Minnesota might just be aimed at covering a wider swath of the Badger State. Obama performed poorly in Wisconsin’s Minnesota media-market counties four years ago, in part because McCain actually outspent Obama on television advertisements in Minnesota. The Romney campaign could really use Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, and they were already out-advertising Obama by greater than a 2-to-1 margin in Wisconsin’s two outlying media markets, so their strategy appears to involve persuading voters in the western half of the state.

2) Momentum.

Perhaps the Romney campaign is spending in Minnesota to make it seem like they’re on offense, expanding the map, or whatever other clichés that might make their way into Politico articles. The Associated Press article suggests as much, and it's not hard to see why the Romney campaign might want to build a better media narrative.

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First Presidential Debate Could Propel Mitt Romney To Victory

From Charlie Cook at The National Journal:

Before the first presidential debate, it was easy to say that the face-offs usually don’t matter that much. One had to go back to 1976, 1980, and 1984 to find examples of a debate having a material effect on a presidential election. But that first debate earlier this month—specifically, Mitt Romney’s strong performance and President Obama’s weak one—had an impact that we are still seeing, even after the incumbent “won” the next two debates, if the instant polls are to be believed.

A strong performance in that first debate would have probably closed the sale for Obama. Instead, his lackluster showing shifted a bunch of voters who had seemed to be drifting gradually in his direction back into neutral, with some reversing course and moving into Romney’s column.

This race is still a challenge for Romney. Although tied nationally in this new NBC/WSJ and most other polling, he still carries a great deal of scar tissue in some of the swing states—most notably, Ohio and Wisconsin, but also Colorado and Iowa. Romney is clearly better situated to win the popular vote than the electoral vote; Obama is much closer than Romney to the magic 270 number in the Electoral College.

But this is a horse race, a very close one that can still go either way, and that was not the case before the first debate. The debates—and I would say all three of them—hit a reset button for Romney and put him back into this contest.

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Analysis & Political Strategy