Who wins the presidential race and by what margin in Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado? Not surprisingly, partisans on each side predicted their man would sweep these five states. The most interesting reader responses in the hundreds on this one took a bigger picture view of the race and polling in general.
KevinChang cautions: “Nate Silver says Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado all go to Obama. Intrade says Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania go to Obama and Colorado goes to Romney. The rest of us are just checking guts or cherry picking polls, which is among the least reliable methods possible. It’s the rough equivalent of having us predict the weather by asking us to step outside at a time and location of our choice and make our best estimate. The meteorologists will outperform us 19 times out of 20.”
Haunches argued, “It is still too early to tell. Obama was behind in North Carolina and Indiana according to the expert pollsters in 2008, yet won both. That said, Romney will win Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin. If the national polls are right, he will win Ohio, too. Why? Because Obama has been making one mistake after another the last month, and in recent days has looked desperate, such as the ‘lose your virginity to Barack’ ad, Big Bird, binders, bayonets, etc. And do not underestimate how much damage Benghazi has caused the President. Every day brings new revelations, keeping it bubbling and going at the heart of his argument for a second term — competence. As for Pennsylvania, that is a reach for Romney and has the air of “holy grail” around it. Romney is wise not to chase that too much since it is an uphill climb.”
And Blackwell575, although rooting for Mitt Romney, contends: “It is impossible to predict it is really that close. The best analysis I have heard stipulates that it will come down to the candidate’s ground game and get out the vote efforts in the swing states specifically Ohio, and voter turnout from the base of both parties.”
From my vantage point, Colorado is the toughest for President Obama and Pennsylvania the easiest. Aside from that, the most important indicators may be voter enthusiasm and self-reported party affiliation. For Romney the good news is that these five highly contested states were all won by Obama by comfortable margins in 2008; they are all gettable today.