Not enough pundits mention this but Barack Obama narrowly won Indiana and North Carolina and almost won Missouri in 2008. I'm not suggesting that this time around Obama will easily win Indiana or Missouri although he appears to be able to pull off a larger margin of victory in North Carolina as it's more of a swing state in 2010 than it was in 2008.
The point being, at least from judging the collective of polling data by Huffpost Politics Election Dashboard, is that anything can happen in this election cycle. States that were deemed too red for Obama in 2008 may not be reliably red as they were years ago.
Right now, it would be safe to say that the red states in the U.S. that are not going to change in Obama's favor are Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Utah.
However, there are other states that are pulling away from being Safe Romney and are now in Lean Romney territory. Arguably, some of these states may have gone back to Safe Romney territory in previous days but others have gone into the Lean Romney territory as of yesterday.
The Lean Romney states are as follows:
Georgia: 49% Romney, 45% Obama (upgraded to Lean Romney category by Huffington Post yesterday)
South Carolina: 51% Romney, 42% Obama
South Dakota: 50% Romney, 42% Obama
Tennessee: 50% Romney, 42% Obama
Even Huffington Post reports similar polling numbers for Strong Romney states, which it hasn't as of yesterday classified into Lean Romney states:
Indiana: 51% Romney, 42% Obama
Montana: 51% Romney, 42% Obama
Missouri: 50% Romney, 43% Obama
Now if we want to judge by Huffington Post's election polling data analysis, the conclusion for this fluctuation of red state data may indicate any of the following:
1) Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention persuaded more centrist, moderate and even some conservative voters than expected.
2) Mitt Romney is becoming a really lousy candidate who is dragging his whole party down like George W. Bush (perhaps even worse than Dubya). Conservatives are starting to move away from supporting Romney.
3) President Barack Obama's campaign and supporters are fired up from Obama's DNC speech and are pumped for this election.
Anyway, I'm not an expert on polls and data but I find this polling information interesting.
Any thoughts? Does President Obama have any chances in the Lean Romney states? Does this polling data provide an insight into what the election season might look like in 2014 and even 2016? Are any of these "red states" going to become swing states in 2016?
Keep in mind, polling data is subject to change and even the Lean Romney States I've mentioned could go back down to Safe Romney states.
Then again, anything can happen. Three presidential debates and the vice-presidential debate have yet to begin. In addition, there's roughly seven weeks until the election.
11:38 PM PT: It appears there's quite a discussion going on here with regards to the polling data and modeling that's being cited in Huffington Post's analysis. A few things I want to point out:
1) My diary is not about new polls that have just been announced. It's about the real data analysis into these polls.
2) I now argue that Obama can still win North Carolina this season and it may be possible for him to win the state by a larger margin than in 2008. However, I can not be definitive in saying that Obama will definitely win NC. Both Huffpost and Nate Silver report that there's a high likelihood that things in NC will go to Romney's favor.
3) Data is data is data. No matter how you interpret it, data can't lie. Only how you interpret it is what matters.
4) Not every red state is the same. As one person who commented had pointed out, Georgia has a number of liberal areas (Atlanta and Athens).