Colorado (9). Unlike 2008, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats, and more Republicans than Democrats have voted early. The Republican trend in 2010 was squandered by weak candidates for governor and senator. Not this time. Romney.
Iowa (6). The unexpected Romney endorsements by the Des Moines Register and three other newspapers gave voice to buyer's remorse in a state Obama carried by 10 points. Democrats' traditional margin in early voting has declined. Romney.
Minnesota (10). A surprise last-minute media buy for the Romney campaign. But probably a bridge too far. Obama.
New Hampshire (4). Polls are very tight here. I think superior Republican intensity will prevail. Romney.
Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney.
Nevada (6). Democratic early voting turnout is down from 2008 in Las Vegas' Clark County, 70 percent of the state. But the casino unions' turnout machine on Election Day re-elected an unpopular Harry Reid in 2010, and I think they'll get enough Latinos and Filipinos out this time. Obama.
Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don't see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney.
Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), New Jersey (14). Uncontested. Obama.
Michigan (16). Romney chose Pennsylvania, where there's no auto bailout issue. Obama.
Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.
Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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