If Mitt Romney loses Ohio and Nevada, then his most viable path to 270 electoral votes goes through Virginia and Colorado. He would still need to peel off several other states — New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin — but those two would close most of the gap.
Earlier this week, I highlighted the fact that Romney can’t count on a win in Virginia. In an average of averages — taken from Pollster, Real Clear Politics, FiveThirtyEight and Talking Points Memo — Obama leads Romney by 0.05 points, 47.42 to 47.37. The state is a dead heat, and can go in either direction depending on turnout.
This wouldn’t be so terrible if Romney could count on Colorado, but the most recent polling from the state shows a race that — as in Virginia — is essentially tied. The latest NBC/WSJ poll of Colorado shows the race at 48-48. As with Virginia, an average of averages in the state shows a slight lead for Obama of just under 1 percent — a near tie.
Indeed, there’s a real chance that Obama holds a lead in the state that is larger than it looks. As Adam Serwer notes in a story for Mother Jones, evidence from the 2010 elections suggest that polls are undercounting the depth and level of Latino support for President Obama. Then, two Democrats thought to be doomed — Harry Reid in Nevada and Michael Bennet in Colorado — won on the strength of their support from Latinos. Bennet, in particular, reversed his fortunes — he went from a three point deficit against his opponent, Ken Buck, to a one point victory on election day.
There is some evidence that Latinos have been undercounted by this year’s public polls. At the Latino Decisions blog, Matt Barreto explains in a detailed post that national polls might be missing as much as 4 points from Obama’s national vote share due to undercounting Latinos.
If this is true, then a state like Colorado might be further out of reach for Mitt Romney than it looks. And if that’s true, then it’s hard to see how Romney builds a path to 270 electoral votes. Indeed, campaign bluster aside, the truth of the matter is that Obama remains positioned for a win. In the nine critical swing states — with the possible exceptions of Florida and North Carolina — Romney is either trailing or tied. With eleven days left before election day, this is not an ideal position.