the math: live free or die

This is getting trickier, as polls are becoming more frequent in some heavily contested states. Case in point: three polls in VA alone in the last 24 hours, putting Obama up by 8, 4, and 3 points. (I've averaged that to 5 which qualifies as "likely" but only just. If you go one poll back, the advantage was also 5.)

The biggest mover is NH, where Rasmussen has Mitt Romney up by 3 and ARG has Obama by 1. I'm calling this a tie rather than +1 for Romney, because I'm handicapping Rasmussen polls by 2 points. Simply put, they are literally the only polling outfit that consistently shows Romney with an advantage in national polls, and often the only one that shows him with an advantage in certain states. I'm not the only one to notice this. You may chalk this up to bias on my part if you like. I don't really care to parse their methodology, but the simple fact is this: either they are wrong, or they are the only ones who are right.

Anyway, whether we call NH a tie or +1 for Romney, it's a big shift from likely for Mr. Obama. And who knows...4 electoral votes might actually mean something this time around.

Most of the movement, however, seems to be in how much of an advantage Obama has in states that are leaning his way. Romney's not losing ground in GA, NC, or TN, and certainly not in any of his safe states (as predicted), but he's not picking anything up, either. That doesn't rule out precipitous movement in the weeks ahead, but I think Obama on cruise control is a much safer bet than Romney digging out of a hole. Also, if this distribution holds, note that Obama could lose FL, CO, and MI...and still win.

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