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Sabato’s latest Electoral College forecast: Obama 261, Romney 235, toss-up 42

Posted Nov 1, 2012 by William March

Updated Nov 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

University of Virginia political prognosticator Larry Sabato has put out his next-to-last Electoral College forecast—the last will be Monday—and it shows a race within reach for either candidate: President Barack Obama with 261 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 235.

If Sabato’s predictions are accurate, the race will be decided in five toss-up states with a total of 42 votes, which could easily give either candidate a 270-vote majority.

Overall, Sabato says it’s “too close to call,” but if his forecasts are correct, Obama appears to have more paths to victory. Any two of those five states would get him to 270 electoral votes, and three of them—Colorado, Wisconsin or Virginia—could do it single-handedly. Romney must win at least three of the states, or more likely four.

Sabato lists Florida, with 29 electoral votes, as leaning Republican. Romney currently has a lead of less than 2 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics polling average and is campaigning intensely here in the closing days.

Sabato identifies eight “true battleground states”: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Among them, he parcels out Florida as leaning Romney and Ohio and Nevada as leaning Obama.

The five toss-ups are Colorado with 9 votes, Iowa with 6 and New Hampshire with 4, where Obama has razor-thin margins in recent polling; Wisconsin with 10 votes, where Obama has a more significant lead; and Virginia with 13, where Romney has a thin margin.

You can check it out at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, while keeping in mind Sabato’s motto: “He who lives by the crystal ball is destined to eat ground glass.” 

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