I was just looking at Nate Silver’s (of the NYT/538.com) latest analysis of the polls, and he now has President Obama at an 83.7% chance of winning on Tuesday as compared to Romney’s 16.3%.
It’s interesting to look at Nate’s graph of what the President’s chances were back in May compared to now. And as I’ve written about before, Obama kept doing better and better vis-a-vis Romney until that first debate. Then pow! Obama plummeted, Romney surged, but it just wasn’t enough. Especially in the key swing states, where I wrote before about how Romney momentum post-debate-one was nothing like it was nationally. He just didn’t surge in the states he needed.
Friday’s polling should make it easy to discern why Mr. Obama has the Electoral College advantage. There were 22 polls of swing states published Friday. Of these, Mr. Obama led in 19 polls, and two showed a tie. Mitt Romney led in just one of the surveys, a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida.
Nate says the race isn’t too close to call. The only way that Romney wins now is because the polls were all statistically biased. A possibility, but not likely:
To be exceptionally clear: I do not mean to imply that the polls are biased in Mr. Obama’s favor. But there is the chance that they could be biased in either direction. If they are biased in Mr. Obama’s favor, then Mr. Romney could still win; the race is close enough. If they are biased in Mr. Romney’s favor, then Mr. Obama will win by a wider-than-expected margin, but since Mr. Obama is the favorite anyway, this will not change who sleeps in the White House on Jan. 20.
My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.
Yes, of course: most of the arguments that the polls are necessarily biased against Mr. Romney reflect little more than wishful thinking.
Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the leader in the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t.
Huffington Post/Pollster.com concurs with Nate regarding victory and electoral votes. Nate predicts Obama with 305.3 electoral votes, and Romney with 232.7. HuffPo gives Obama 281 to Romney’s 191. Yes, HuffPo is more optimistic, but still gives Obama a healthy margin of victory.
As HuffPo’s Mark Blumental notes, “Obama’s swing-state margins [are] holding.”
As the presidential campaign enters its final weekend, the polling snapshot remains essentially unchanged. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney remain essentially deadlocked in most national surveys, but polls in battleground states continue to show Obama with just enough of an edge in states whose electoral votes would add up to more than the 270 needed to win.
With just four days remaining until the vote is counted, poll watchers should be on alert for any developing trends that might signal a late shift in voter preferences. As of this writing, there are a few hints, but none that rise to the level of statistical significance.
Now, polls don’t take into account one side trying to steal an election. GOP dirty tricks should be expected, and are already happening. That’s why it’s important that folks not get too cocky about this. We still need to turn out and vote in higher numbers than the other side cheats.