That neither Obama or Romney had managed to open a solid advantage over the other in the final hours of the campaign only raised the stakes for the final series of events on Sunday and Monday. Both Obama and Romney — along with Vice President Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan — were set to hit the road for another robust schedule tomorrow. Obama was set to travel to Colorado, Florida, and New Hampshire; Romney's schedule would take him to Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania.Why would Obama be in Florida, which seems out of reach for him? Why would Romney go to Pennsylvania when that has been out of reach, seemingly, for most of the campaign. I think that Obama knows there is a chance that Romney could be the first Republican to win the White House without Ohio, maybe not likely, but a chance. Romney could lose Ohio, but pick up either Pennsylvania or Iowa and Wisconsin to offset Ohio's loss. All of those states have become tight enough that this might be the right play for Romney. For their part, I think the Romney campaign is frustrated by their inability to move the dial in Ohio. They might even judge themselves ahead, but not by enough to feel comfortable, and have decided to map another path to victory.
Everyone is focused on Ohio, and I have been as well, but look at these two maps. This is a plausible Romney wins Ohio, but loses the election scenario.
And here are two plausible, Romney loses Ohio, but wins the election scenarios. First, trade the win in Ohio for wins in PA and NH.
Alternatively, put trade the win Ohio for wins in more western states.
I will admit that this last scenario would make for a long night, as results from Colorado would be the deciding factor. Given the remarkable fluidity of states polls towards the end of the race and the fact that Obama can't seem to consistently poll above 48% in any swing state, I think this is a very close race. The CW seems to have Obama winning the electoral vote, but I see multiple paths to victory that depend on the nuance of turnout and enthusiasm, which is harder to predict than just reporting preferences.
The behavior of both campaigns indicates a tight race. Obama seems to be counting on holding to slim leads in CO and NH, and is campaigning in FL because . . . ? Romney seems to think he has as good a shot of a game changing victory outside of Ohio as in.