Our monthly look at the Obama-Romney numbers: Obama still leads
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Last month, we started a monthly snapshot of the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney race for the presidency.
Now that it’s the start of August — three months until Election Day — we revisit the numbers compiled from a number of polling groups by Real Clear Politics and this is what we see:
Despite having a rough July (more sluggish economic numbers and his “you didn’t build that” comments), President Obama has improved over the Real Clear Politics map from July – going from 221 Electoral College votes to 247 after having Michigan and Wisconsin moving from toss-up states to “lean Obama” while Romney went from 181 Electoral College votes to 191 after Missouri moved from toss-up to “lean Romney” in the past month.
There are now eight states in the RCP “toss-up” category:
Colorado (9 Electoral College votes) Obama +3.0
Florida (29) Obama +1.4
Iowa (6) Obama +1.3
Nevada (6) Obama +5.3
New Hampshire (4) Obama +3.0
North Carolina (15) Romney +0.8
Ohio (18) Obama +4.8
Virginia (13) Obama +2.8
If all the above “toss up” states break this way in November, Obama would win in the Electoral College 332-196. It takes 270 to win.
Here in New Mexico, only one major polling organization surveyed the state in July. The Democratic Party-affiliated group Public Policy Polling had Obama leading in New Mexico by 5 points, down from earlier PPP polls showing Obama up by 14 and 15 points.
This weekend, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan brought up an interesting point:
The oldest cliché in presidential politics is that no normal person cares about the election until after Labor Day, when the kids are back in school. It’s a cliché because it’s always been true. I’ve seen it. But I don’t think it’s true anymore …
It’s showing in the polls. A NYT/CBS swing-state survey that came out this week reflects the dynamic: In the three states they polled, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, when respondents were asked who they were voting for, only 4% of them said they didn’t know. The number who said they might change their mind was in the low double digits.
In May through July, the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project did a big national poll of 10,000 likely voters, and only 5% of the properly weighted sample said they weren’t sure who they wanted to vote for.
Hmmm. So perhaps instead of fighting over, say, 20 percent of voters who are undecided will Romney and Obama now fight over just 5 percent? If the slice is that small, the intensity will probably increase in an inverse proportion. Buckle up.
Come the start of September, we’ll post our next electoral snapshot.