An under-rated, dispassionate mathematical analysis of the race back on August 14th:
Running the current statewide polling data through our simulation model, there are currently sixteen states – including Pennsylvania – in which Obama has a greater than 95% probability of winning. These sixteen contribute a total of 205 electoral votes to his total. Governor Romney also has sixteen states in his certain win column, but because of population differences they contribute only 141 electoral votes to his total.
A second level includes those states that while not certain wins for each of the candidates a win is considered likely. This level adds three more states to the Obama tally with an additional 58 electoral votes. Romney gains a single state and only three additional electors.
Including this level the President currently has 263 electoral votes requiring only seven additional electors. Governor Romney has 144 electoral votes and still needs 126 more.
To reach 270 it might be possible for Romney to win all four of the states that are leaning in his favor – Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, and South Dakota. This adds thirty-two electors to his total. If he also takes all three of the true tossup states – Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee – he gains an additional thirty electors. But that only brings him to 203 – still 67 short. To make up these additional votes he will need to take all of the states that are polling close, but still leaning Obama.
At this point the probability of an Obama reelection is at 99.8% – as close to a certainty as one might expect. But it might be possible for Romney to change the result by swaying a few of the battlegrounds. But it will take more than a single win. For example Ohio is currently a likely Obama win. But if between now and November Romney can change that outcome and take Ohio his odds barely improve with Obama’s chance of winning dropping to just under 99%.
Instead, Romney will have to sweep all of the battlegrounds.
Electoral Vote — who uses a different modeling process to come to a similar conclusion — has a daily snapshot that shows the math hasn’t changed any better for Romney from nearly a month ago when the tally stood at Obama 317, Romney 212, and 9 contested. Today shows Obama has steadily strengthened across polling in those battleground states, now electorally dwarfing Romney 347 to 191.
Of course, these polls and predictions are all for laughs and giggles when we ask mathematicians to begrudgingly factor in the very real variable of the much abused October Surprise, not to mention two candidates who have failed to charismatically inspire anywhere near the same levels of enthusiasm as the race of just four years ago, instead using division and fear as their primary campaign weapons.