Drudge links to Rasmussen Reports’ latest daily presidential tracking poll, which shows Mitt Romney and Barack Obama each earning 46% of the national electorate’s support. Romney actually has a 48-46 edge when undecided voters who are leaning one direction or another are included, and the president’s overall job approval continues to hover just below the critical 50% mark.
What counts, of course, is the Electoral College. There, Rasmussen credits the president with 237 votes versus the challenger’s 196, with 9 states totaling 105 votes up for grabs. Obama would only need 33 of those votes from toss-up states to reach 270 and seal the deal. That means Florida and only one other state, or a combination of several smaller states on the list including Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Barack Obama won these battleground states in 2008, with one exception: Missouri delivered a narrow victory to John McCain that night, bucking its trend of picking – or at least predicting – the winner of every presidential contest since 1904 with only one exception (we went with Adlai Stevenson over Ike in ’56). So the Show-Me state is the only state Republicans carried last time around that is now in toss-up territory. Although, Rasmussen’s last polling here does indicate that Romney maintains a small advantage (48-45).
Senate hopeful Todd Akin has been blamed for jeopardizing the GOP’s presidential chances here, and no doubt that has played a role. Yet it shouldn’t be overlooked that that Democrats entered this season with strong top-of-the-ticket incumbent candidates in Governor Jay Nixon and Senator Claire McCaskill. At some point you also have to analyze how much impact the establishment’s abandonment of Akin is dragging on the ballot from top to bottom.
There’s little rallying behind the Senate candidate; gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence has a lot of dollars but entered the race without his own political resumé and team behind him to take on a strong governor; and the Romney campaign probably strategized early on that while some resources would be necessary to secure Missouri, it would substantially be able to count on the energy and organization generated by Missouri Republicans, for Missouri Republicans, to help carry the day here.
Judging from what’s played out publicly the last several weeks, the energy necessary to secure a Romney victory may largely rest with the enthusiasm to do just that. Is the establishment bet that that by helping Romney take Missouri, you also have a decent chance at maybe still picking up the Senate seat without actually having to tie one’s self to Akin? More on that to come…