Wait. What? We're four weeks out, and a major pollster is going on national television to declare the race in three major battleground states over? First, here's the clip from O'Reilly via Gateway Pundit -- we'll discuss below:
So Suffolk University's respected polling outfit is publicly announcing it's pulling out of this trio of states to focus on other tight battlegrounds (pollsters do this?) because their data and trendlines have them convinced that Romney's going to carry all three. Let's see if I can follow the logic here: According to their data, Obama's most recent published re-elect number in each state was below 47 percent -- granted, a very precarious position for an incumbent. Then came the debate. Since that potential watershed event, Mr. Paleologos says the polling shift toward Romney in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia has been "overwhelming." Okay, I can sort of buy that. But are they going to release any polling data that shows Romney up comfortably, to back up this assertion? And how are they so convinced that the dynamics of the race won't change over the next 27 days? If one debate proved extremely decisive in their numbers, it would follow that the upcoming head-to-heads could alter the picture again. I mean, it's one thing to say that your information and history strongly suggest that Romney is golden in these states (to be clear, I'm not advancing this argument); it's another proposition altogether to essentially call these races so far in advance. Especially while expressing such confidence in the prediction that you won't even bother to keep polling those states for the remainder of the race. Again, what? This isn't Mississippi or Vermont we're talking about. It's Virginia. And Florida. C'mon. A handful of polls put Romney ahead in those two states by very narrow margins. North Carolina may be opening up a bit, but not even Republicans are saying it's in the bag. In short, I'd love to believe this, but color me deeply, deeply skeptical. The one thing I can't quite explain is why they'd take this crazy risk if they weren't totally sold on their probabilities. Suffolk has a solid reputation to uphold; in fact, Democrats often tout Suffolk polls. What's the upside of Paleologos making this bold claim? A one-day media splash? And if he's wrong, egg all over the face of his organization, which he undoubtedly knows. Bizarre.
But, just for kicks, let's say Suffolk's data-driven predictions are on the money. Let's put this trifecta in the R column. Where would that put the race? Based on Karl Rove's 3-2-1 model (which the Romney campaign acknowledges, but doesn't exclusively subscribe to), Romney would be 2/3 of the way to victory. The GOP ticket is up in Indiana by double digits, so let's paint it red. If Suffolk is correct about these three (I'm most sold on North Carolina, personally), that would leave Ohio and one more state -- any state -- for Mitt to secure 270 electoral votes. Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin seem most promising at the moment, with a few dark horses like Nevada, Michigan and even Pennsylvania lurking in the wings. Four Ohio polls came out yesterday: Three showed single-point races, and CNN had Obama up four. An outlier, or closer to reality? We'll have to wait and see. Hey, maybe Suffolk can start rigorously polling the Buckeye State. I hear they have some free time these days.