Hint: Florida Doesn't

11.03.12

The States That Matter

Needless to say there are some new polls out this morning. I'm sure more of them than I've seen, but the ones I've seen have Obama up comfortably in Ohio and two points in Florida (that's by one outfit), while another has Romney up six in Florida. I'm not providing links, as you people should not obsess over these things.

Conservatives seem to be excited about that last Florida poll. But hasn't anyone told them that Florida doesn't matter? Sure, Obama would like to win it. But it's not part of the formula. The four states that matter right now are Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa.

Let's assume for the moment that Obama wins Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. I know some of you will dispute that scenario, but most polls, nearly all of them that I've seen, have Obama ahead in those states, and many of these polls are outside the margin of error. So if he wins those and all the presumed Democratic states, that takes him to 247.

Then I put Nevada and New Hampshire in sort of their own category. Nevada is actually looking about baked for Obama--five to seven points. But there is a large LDS population, so who knows. New Hampshire is closer. They combine to 10 electoral votes, six and four respectively, with the six leaning strongly toward Obama.

If he gets all those, he's at 253—just 17 short. So Ohio alone would put him at 271. Or, if he loses Nevada, he is still at 247, needing just 23 EVs. In that case, Ohio plus any one of the other three gets him past 270.

Now let's look at Romney. Give him all the presumed Republican states and throw in North Carolina, and he's at 206. In other words, if you stack up each candidate's automatic and leaner states, Obama has an electoral vote advantage of at least 31 votes—and, counting Nevada as a blue state, 37 votes. Plus, Obama is just 23 or 17 votes away from Valhalla, while Romney is 64.

That means Obama can easily afford to lose Florida's 29 votes, while Romney surely cannot. The only states really worth paying close attention to at this point are the four I named above. Romney needs to run the table on all of them, or something very close to that. But Florida isn't one Obama supporters even need to sweat very much.

Today, I'll be sweating my drives and my short game, and later, whether the West Virginia University pass defense can stop looking like Pop Warner players, and not pay attention to any of this.