Yes, Romney can win without Ohio

Other than Rasmussen, recent Ohio polls show a narrow lead for President Barack Obama over GOP rival Mitt Romney. Most recently, a D+1 poll (a reasonable sample) showed Obama with a 2-point lead:

The auto bailout is a big issue in the Buckeye State, and it appears to be taking its toll on Romney among Blue Collar automotive workers who evidently prefer corporate welfare to free markets.

Obviously, it is premature to count Romney out, but these poll results are not encouraging.

Romney appears to be making big gains in other swing states such as Florida and Virginia. The relative lack of progress in Ohio has some Twitter users buzzing about whether it might be possible for Romney to win next week’s election without Ohio.

We believe it is possible, albeit difficult. Our reading of the polls is that Romney has excellent prospects in North CarolinaFlorida, Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa.

If Romney sweeps all five of those states — and we believe he has a good shot of doing so — plus all of the “safe” Romney-leaning states, he will have 263 electoral votes.

President Obama needs 270 electoral votes to win. By contrast, Romney needs only 269. That’s because in the event of a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College, the winner is selected by the U.S. House of Representatives. Each state gets one vote, and the House currently has more state congressional delegations with a majority of Republicans than a majority of Democrats.

Assuming Romney prevails in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa (the five swing states mentioned above), he can get to 269 or more electoral votes by winning Nevada (6 electoral votes), Wisconsin (10 electoral votes),  Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and/or Michigan (16 electoral votes). He also has a good shot in New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) and in Maine’s 2nd congressional district (1 electoral vote), but those won’t get him to 269.

If Romney loses Ohio, we think his best path to victory lies in Nevada. True, the polls show a narrow lead there for Obama, but some of these polls have samples that are slanted to a ridiculous extent toward Democrats. For example, a recent poll by Gravis Marketing showing a 1-point lead for Obama had a D+9 sample. By comparison, exit polls showed a D+8 tilt in 2008, when Obama-mania was at its peak. Does anyone really believe that more Democrats will show up next week than in 2008?

The same Gravis poll showed an enormous 35-point lead(!) for Romney among Independents:

Polls like this one are encouraging. If Romney is carrying Nevada’s Independent voters by even half the margin seen in the Gravis poll, he will almost certainly carry the state. Which means he can get to 269 electoral votes with or without Ohio.

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