Romney's election odds: 21%

If current election polls are as accurate as historical polls, Mitt Romney has only a 21% chance of winning the presidential election.

Who will win the presidency?

Statistical odds of overall election outcome
Last update on: November 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM PST
Mitt Romney

Why are Romney's chances so low?

  1. Obama has 201 safe electoral votes. Romney has only 181. Only 12 states (156 electoral votes) could go to either candidate.
  2. Therefore, Romney needs at least 89 of those 156 electoral votes to win (57%).
  3. Given current polling in those states & historical polling accuracy, Romney's statistical chance of getting those 89 votes is only 21%.

States in Play

Romney needs 89 of 156 electoral votes up for grabs (57%). Statistical odds of winning each state:

Colorado (9 votes)
Romney
40%
Obama
60%
Florida (29 votes)
Romney
60%
Obama
40%
Iowa (6 votes)
Romney
33%
Obama
67%
Michigan (16 votes)
Romney
24%
Obama
76%
Missouri (10 votes)
Romney
90%
Obama
10%
Nevada (6 votes)
Romney
31%
Obama
69%
New Hampshire (4 votes)
Romney
36%
Obama
64%
North Carolina (15 votes)
Romney
70%
Obama
30%
Ohio (18 votes)
Romney
31%
Obama
69%
Pennsylvania (20 votes)
Romney
25%
Obama
75%
Virginia (13 votes)
Romney
48%
Obama
52%
Wisconsin (10 votes)
Romney
23%
Obama
77%

How accurately do polls predict presidential election results?

Current Days Until Election:
0
95% Confidence Margin of Error:*
5.5%

* Actual results differ from polling results by less than this amount 95% of the time.

Past Polling Accuracy

In the past two elections, over 95% of state polls accurately predicted outcomes within 7%.

Accuracy over Time

As polling gets closer to the election date, accuracy increases. Ninety-five percent of polls taken just before the election were accurate within 5.5%.

Applying Historical Polling Accuracy to the Current Election

Presidential Election
Outcome Probabilities
Romney Wins 20.7%
Obama Wins 78.4%
Tie 0.9%
    Current Polling Probability of Romney's Votes
State Electoral Votes Romney Obama Romney Winning Expectation Binary
Colorado 9 47% 49% 40% 3.6 0
Florida 29 50% 48% 60% 17.4 29
Iowa 6 46% 49% 33% 2.0 0
Michigan 16 46% 50% 24% 3.8 0
Missouri 10 51% 43% 90% 9.0 10
Nevada 6 47% 50% 31% 1.9 0
New Hampshire 4 48% 50% 36% 1.4 0
North Carolina 15 49% 46% 70% 10.5 15
Ohio 18 47% 50% 31% 5.6 0
Pennsylvania 20 46% 49% 25% 5.0 0
Virginia 13 48% 48% 48% 6.2 0
Wisconsin 10 46% 50% 23% 2.3 0
Safe Romney 181     100% 181 181
Safe Obama 201     0% 0 0
*Polling data last updated on November 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM PST TOTAL ROMNEY 250 235
  NEEDED TO WIN:      270

How should these results be interpreted?

If current polls are as accurate as historical polls, Mitt Romney has a 21% chance of winning the presidential election.

How did we calculate these numbers?

  • Current Polling: All state presidential election polls of 500 or more likely voters in the two weeks prior to the date of this report.
  • "Safe" States: States where one candidate has such a large polling advantage that losing the state is statistically nearly impossible.
  • Polling Accuracy: Based on polling accuracy of over 1500 polls taken during the previous two presidential elections. Polling accuracy increases as we get closer to the election.
  • Methodology: We combine the current polling results with the corresponding polling accuracy and run 30,000 simulations. The percentage of simulations won by each candidate is reported as their probability of election.

What are the limitations of this analysis? Could the results be incorrect?

  • These numbers are based on two things: historical polling accuracy & current polling data. The accuracy of this analysis depends on the accuracy of these two inputs.
    • If polling accuracy changes substantially from the previous two elections, these numbers could be wrong.
    • If there is fraud or other biased error in the current polls, these numbers could be wrong.

Could Mitt Romney still win the election?

  • Yes:
    1. These numbers could be incorrect if current polls are far less accurate than they have been historically. Dramatic events or substantial new information between now and the election could cause this to be the case.
    2. These numbers could be correct and Mitt Romney could beat the odds since his current chances are low, but not impossible.

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