Some interesting things to look at this week. In the above chart from the Washington Post, you can see how the Republican results in the Electoral College have declined significantly since 1988, which indicates - according to the Post - that Romney’s margin of error is fairly small, but that could have been determined just by looking at the 2012 electoral map.

Which is where some analysis from Mark Blumenthal comes in. A recent poll of 3 swing states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania (personally I don’t consider this a swing state, since a Republican hasn’t won it since 1988) - by Quinnipiac University shows a tight race in these states. Recent polls also show the President ahead in Virginia. However, as Blumenthal points out, Obama’s numbers in these states are better than they were in both May and June 2008. Obama is also performing well in Arizona, which may end up being icing on the electoral cake if he can flip the state (and presuming he wins).

And the race is just beginning in earnest. The Romney supporting super-PAC - Restore Our Future - has made a $3.7 million ad buy in nine states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and New Hampshire. So, get ready for a slugfest.

A few notes:

  1. Despite what some earlier (dare I say unreliable) polls may have suggested, Republican voters are lining up with Romney.
  2. Do not pay attention to the national polls.

Is 2012 The Nastiest Campaign Ever?

So says the man who didn’t exactly run a clean campaign himself in 2008. McCain doesn’t really offer anything up bolster that claim, and if one compares this campaign to previous ones, I think you’d have to say McCain is exaggerating at the least, although more likely he’s just full of shit.

McCain calls this the nastiest campaign ever because he needs to try to tap into some feeling against negative campaigning (a misplaced feeling in my opinion, but that’s another topic for another time), since he needs to drum up antipathy towards super PACs by claiming they’re the cause of the nastiness by running negative ads and driving up the candidates negatives.

However, the candidates unfavourables have remained fairly consistent throughout this race according to Gallup’s tracking of the race, and indeed, Santorum’s positive intensity score has increased. But there are other polls looking at favourable and unfavourable numbers, such as the NBC/Wall Street poll [pdf]. Asked to describe their feelings about Romney, the number describing their feelings as “very negative” has been climbing since June 2011 (suggesting something other than super PAC money at work here). Among Republican primary voters, his numbers have been more consistent.

Sen. McCain may be disposed to oppose super PACs, but there is a better way to make this argument than pretending 2012 is a nasty campaign year and laying the blame at negative ads produced by super PACs. Furthermore, a negative ad is not necessarily a “nasty” ad.