With only 18 days left in the presidential election, both candidates are down to the wire and are on the road getting their message out. On Thursday night, both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney were at the Al Smith Dinner in New York City. It's a traditional campaign stop that allows each candidate to crack a few jokes and show a more humorous side than what they may show on the campaign trail. It gives them a personal touch that will hopefully help them as we enter the home stretch of this presidential race.
How will either candidate win the race? On Thursday, the Cyclists spoke to Yahoo!'s Chris Moody about the importance of the battleground states. And as we creep closer and closer to election day, it is becoming clear that polls in those states are the ones that matter. Currently, Gallup has Romney leading likely voters nationwide, 51% to Obama's 45%, but looks may be deceiving. The New York Times' polling wizard Nate Silver even said on Wednesday that the national polls are showing a tight race that is statistically tied, while state polling is constantly changing, indicating a narrow 2 point lead for President Obama, which is why the battleground states have become so important.
The top five states where the candidates are now focusing their resources and energy are Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Iowa. These five states total 44 electoral votes. All of those electoral votes are still up for grabs and would be a big boost for either candidate.
So let's take a closer look the electoral map. Real Clear Politics shows that if those five states fall into the president’s column, Obama's hypothetical breakout puts him at 281 electoral votes to Romney’s 257. Remember, you need 270 to win the White House, so in this scenario, the president would win a second term. However, if Romney is able to pull away with two or more of those five states then he could possibly win the election. There are numerous possible scenarios but these are ones we’re looking at today.
It may all come down to the final debate Monday in battleground Florida. The focus is foreign policy.
All we can do for the next 18 days is theorize about what the country will look like come November 7th. Clearly, nothing is definite until the results come in November 6th, but one thing is clear: the magic number is 270.