For Mitt Romney's campaign, the outlook in the battleground states is even worse than the national polls.
According to a GOP source with access to private polling being done by independent Republican groups (who are spending a lot of money tracking public opinion in the battleground states), Romney is in trouble in two must-win states:
Ohio: Romney down 5 percent.
Virginia: Romney down 4 percent.
Most troubling for Romney: the Ohio trend has been consistent for several weeks and is not a "sugar high" resulting from the Democratic convention.
These internal state-by-state tracking polls show some positive signs for Romney, but nowhere near enough to compensate for Ohio and Virginia. The good news:
- In Wisconsin, which Obama won by 14 points, Romney is only down 2 percent, putting the state within reach.
- In Nevada, which Obama won by almost 13 points, the race is tied. It is also essentially tied in Colorado and Iowa.
Could Romney win without Ohio and Virginia? It's mathematically possible, but so is winning the lottery. Consider this scenario:
If Romney loses Ohio and Virginia, he must run the table in all the battleground states won by Obama in 2008 where the Romney is now running ads: Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Hampshire.
Result, assuming Obama wins the one electoral vote awarded independently by Omaha, Nebraska: An electoral tie: 269 to 269 (over to you Speaker Boehner).
In case of an 269-269 tie in the electoral college, according to the 12 th Amendment, the House of Representatives decides the presidential election. Each state gets one vote.
Romney would seem to have the edge in that scenario.
Of the 50 state delegations in the House, just 14 are Democratically-controlled House delegations and 33 are controlled by Republicans. Three states are split evenly. Right now the whole number of the House is 430; there are five vacancies in the House that won't be filled until after the election.
These numbers are driving decisions on spending hundreds of millions of dollars, but are also contributing to the sense of gloom among top Republicans about the direction of the campaign.