This blog is about Battlegrounds States and only Battleground States. It is quite interesting that Barack Obama is below 50% in California and honestly it is a definite sign of weakness in the President’s re-elect chances. However, the 2012 election battle will not be fought in California and even if through some miracle of tidal wave results Mitt Romney were to carry California, the 270 threshold necessary to win the Presidency will have long since been breached by carrying one of the identified Battleground states.
Which brings us to North Carolina.
The argument to call it a Battleground state is straight forward and not without merit. Barack Obama won the state in 2008. The DNC convention is in Charlotte, NC in late August/early September affording the Obama campaign almost limitless free media in the state during the run-up and through the convention. This should create plenty of momentum for Obama in the North Carolina. And most importantly for a Battleground state, BOTH campaigns are currently in the state battling it out with TV, radio and internet ads — quite possibly the very definition of a Battleground!
All of this is true and I would expect nothing less of either campaign at this juncture — a full five months from the election.
But it is the mere fact that both campaigns are in North Carolina today but likely will not be there one month from now that gives me comfort that North Carolina is truly NOT a Battleground State. The reasoning behind each campaign’s presence are completely opposite — Obama wants to see if he has a chance, Romney wants to put it to bed. Each campaign is also approaching these spends from dramatically different positions of strength — Obama is overcoming a state party circular firing squad, Romney is outpacing a McCain campaign that never showed up in 2008.
Unlike the vast majority of Battleground polling you see showing Obama with a 2 – 5 point lead, the Real Clear Politics average in North Carolina is Romney +2.5. Critical analysis of the Battleground polls showing Obama leading reveals those races are more likely a dead heats or Romney is leading as in the case of Nevada. Critical analysis of polling in North Carolina reveals Romney with a likely 6 – 8 point lead. It’s like the old saying about mainstream media polling: “If the poll shows the Democrat with a slight lead, it’s tied. If the poll shows the race tied, the Republican is winning. And if the poll shows the Republican winning? well then the race is over.” For example the Civitas poll showing Romney up 2 versus Obama last week had a party ID breakdown of Democrat 45, Republican 33 and Independent 22 or D +12 — a completely unheard of oversampling of Democrats. I fully expect polls in the coming days to confirm these increased margins.