In 2008, Obama won by 7 points. The electorate was D+7. Obama’s margin among Independents was… what else? 7.
Romney’s strategy is simple:
- Cut into that D+7 advantage.
As you can see from actual votes cast in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, and Pasco, Republicans have cut into Democrats’ partisan advantage by about 5 percent. That should shave about 5 points off Obama’s margin.
- Let Independents do the rest.
If Romney merely runs even with Independents, he’ll knock 2-3 points off Obama’s overall 2008 margin, leaving the candidates neck-and-neck overall.
But Romney isn’t just tied among Independents. He’s leading, by an average of 9.6 points in the polls. Depending on his lead among Independents, he could eke out a 1-3-point margin of victory among all voters, enough to carry him over the threshold in key swing states, including at least one of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Actual vote counts, and poll internals confirm all this. The only reason the poll top lines aren’t reflecting it is that they still haven’t caught on to the fact that Romney’s already changed the party ID of the electorate in his favor by 5 points.
But it’s close, and we’ll see how it turns out.