Romney’s Narrow Path to Victory

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

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