Political Animal


October 27, 2012 10:36 AM Romney’s Narrow Path to Victory

By Simon van Zuylen-Wood

Forget momentum. Forget polling averages. Heck, forget Nate Silver for a minute of your lives. (I’m asking you to do a lot of forgetting today.) Just think about odds for a minute. All things equal, says Gabriel Snyder at the Atlantic Wire, Obama has an 82.4% chance of winning the presidency.

Conceding that there are only 9 states up for grabs, Snyder found that there are 512 different ways the two candidates could split them. In 431 scenarios, Obama wins. In 76, Romney does. In 5, the two tie and the House of Representatives decides our sorry fate. Because Obama holds a marked advantage among states already decided, Romney has less to work with. As Snyder concedes, the system is imperfect. A scenario in which Obama wins nothing but Iowa is weighted the same as a more plausible outcome. Still, this latest bout of number-crunching should remind us of Romney’s problem: Only eleven of Romney’s 76 paths to victory concede Ohio to Obama, the major swing state in which the President appears strongest.

Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.


  • c u n d gulag on October 27, 2012 10:46 AM:

    There's still plenty of reason for concern:
    First, there's still the issue of voter suppression, whether it's ID, or people from "True the Vote" intimidating them as they approach their polling place.

    Then, there's nothing Electronic Voting Machines (EVM's) can't overcome.

    Have too little of them, and/or manual ones, in Blue areas, make voting long and tedious, and may encourage people to go home without casting their ballot.

    And nothing like a few flips of the EVM's in key districts to turn your Blue state, Red.

    And, VOILA! Mitt wins!!!

  • stormskies on October 27, 2012 11:37 AM:

    It seems to me the corporate interests will be doing all that they can to ensure that the automaton called Romney is INSTALLED at all costs as the next president.

  • Rip on October 27, 2012 12:02 PM:

    But all things are not equal, and the toss up states won't be decided by a series of coin flips. In this case, the number of paths to a given outcome has no relationship to the odds of that outcome being realized.

    Snyder should leave the stats to guys like Silver.

  • John Mallinckrodt on October 27, 2012 12:25 PM:

    This analysis is, simply put, absurd. Let's stick with defensible math, okay?

  • Hue and Cry on October 28, 2012 12:59 AM:

    Lots of variables. It has been making my heart hurt.
    One empty suit lacking immost substance as opposed to one important and dynamic man, a stunningly muddleheaded citizenry, relentlessly opportunistic cable news spin, the right wing echo chamber, hurricane force winds to the east coast, a tea partier running mate pretending to wash pots and pans or give speeches as if caring for the poor, the overfamiliarity of a too-long campaign, the unseemliness of it all, including the nightmare of a disasterous supreme court decision entitled citizens united....