Well, the debates are over (though last night’s will not be reflected to any significant degree in numbers we’ll see today). And it is time for our weekly snapshot. And where are we? Mitt Romney appears ahead, by 0.6 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average as of 10 a.m. today.
That’s three-tenth of a point up from where he was last week. It bodes a little bit better for Romney, though the average has been bouncing around and at one point over the weekend, it showed Obama up by 0.1.
All of those numbers are well within the margin of error (which is around 3 percent, give or take). But to the extent more and more national polls seem to favor one candidate over another, that bodes well for that candidate.
In the last 25 national polls, Obama has been ahead in 13, by a range of 1 to 4 points. Romney has been ahead in 9, by a range of 1 to 6 points. Three of the polls have shown ties. In the 10 most recent polls Obama has been ahead in 5, Romney in 4.
A tie is probably close to where the race is right now in the popular vote. But remember, this is not a national popular vote.
Instead, this is a contest of 50 states, with the states weighted more or less by population. California, where Obama is way ahead, counts way more than the Romney strongholds of Wyoming, Alaska and Mississippi.
And on Electoral College breakdowns, the prognosticators are all over the map.
Real Clear Politics puts it at 206 electoral votes for Romney to 201 for Obama and 131 undecided. That is the most conservative (not politically, but prognosticating-wise) of the major predictions out there.
Talking Points Memo’s PollTracker puts the numbers at 233 Obama and 195 Romney, with 110 tossup electoral votes.
Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight Blog puts Obama at 290.9 electoral votes, and Romney at 247.2. His analysis in the 2008 election was closer than anyone else’s.
All of which means the real measure is what’s going in the swing states, where the election is close: Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
Hang on. It’s going to be a wild last two weeks!