Nate Silver at 538 Blog says that Obama has 91.6% probability of an electoral win and Romney: has an 8.4 percent probability of an electoral win. Votamatic.org gives the edge to Obama 326/212. What’s most interesting about 538 Blog and Votamatic is that they are the only poll aggregators who factor in economic indicators as well as polling data. This is especially crucial in states like Ohio, where the economy is outperforming the nation as a whole.
Silver’s model still gives Romney long odds at taking Ohio and many of the swing states. Silver’s update as of this morning says that he sees Obama gaining ground in the polls over the past three days. It’s not clear whether this is a Hurricane Sandy bump that has translated into a bump in the polls, or whether as things tighten in the last few days, Obama is getting the benefit of the doubt with undecideds. Here’s how Silver calls it at this time:
WI: 97.1% Obama
PA: 98.% Obama
NV: 93.8% Obama
OH: 91.4 Obama
NH: 85.8% Obama
IA: 85.7% Obama
CO: 81.0% Obama
VA: 80.7% Obama
FL: 52.2% Obama
NC: 73% Romney
If Obama wins only the swing states where Silver has him at better than a 90% probability of winning, that puts the president’s electoral total over the line at 271, and he would win re-election. Romney simply has to have Ohio.
I still think that Silver’s probabilities are good indicators, but I think the race breaks at Iowa. I think Romney will win North Carolina,Florida,Virginia,Colorado, and possibly Iowa. Obama wins the rest and squeaks out an electoral victory. Ohio is the wildcard. I think the race is closer there than the polls make it.
Intrade puts the race at 70.4% for Obama, 29.5% for Romney
UK Gambling Sites: Obama’s odds are 1/5, Romney 2/7
Ezra Klein: Obama 290 / Romney 248
Huffington Post: Obama 277 / Romney 191 plus toss-ups
What to Watch For Tonight
First of all, watch Virginia returns. Their polls close at 7pm Eastern, and if it goes against Romney, the die is all but cast – Obama will likely win it all. If Romney wins there by a good margin, then it could be evidence that the polls are systematically flawed and Republican turn-out is overcoming Obama’s lead in the polls. Virginia will be earliest indicator of where things stand.
Second, watch for how quickly Pennsylvania gets called. If it is called early, and by a good margin, then the theory that the polls are systematically skewed toward the D’s will look untenable. If Pennsylvania goes to Romney, I think we’re looking at a Romney sweep in most of the swing states. Ohio seems sure to be going down to the final precincts, so I expect it to take awhile to get results there.
New Hampshire polls close at 8 Eastern. It’s not a big state in terms of electoral votes, but it could be an early indicator of how things will break later in the night.
Ohio polls close at 7:30. No Republican has won the White House without Ohio. If it goes to Romney, it could be a really long night. If it goes to Obama, you can go to bed – the race is over. I think it’s highly likely that Ohio will be so close that the results trigger a recount. If the winning margin is less than ¼ of 1%, then a recount of the entire state is mandated. If turnout is similar to 2008, this means that the winning margin would need to exceed 15,000 votes.