Thursday's New York Times reports that Romney's most recent $3.4m outlay for television advertising in eight swing states excludes Ohio entirely:
On Wednesday, the Romney campaign reserved $3.4 million worth of advertising time in eight swing states. Nearly half of that - more than $1.5 million - was for Virginia. The rest was spread across Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. His total ad spending for the week is more than $10 million.Though it remains to be seen how the Romney campaign spent the rest of its ad budget this week, it's hard to believe that it's ignoring Ohio entirely on the air, after spending $2.6m there last week (w/e 9/24/2012). Perhaps Romney believes that his presence in Ohio via his 'bus tour' through the state this week was all that was needed to boost his tanking favorables. (Ha!) Or, perhaps the Ohio bus tour, in addition to any advertising already
A slew of recent Ohio polls have continued to move the Buckeye state further and further out of reach for Romney. Indeed, Nate Silver's model now gives President Obama an 82% chance of winning Ohio on November 6th, and his 'now-cast' estimates "that Mr. Obama would have a 96 percent chance of winning Ohio in an election held today".
Excluding Ohio from its most recent spending may indicate a shift in strategy by the Romney campaign to a "Plan B", also discussed by Nate Silver in his Wednesday blog post; a strategy that no other Republican in history has pulled off: Winning the Presidency without winning Ohio.
The map ... in which Mr. Romney wins Iowa despite losing both Ohio and Wisconsin, would suffice to give him 273 electoral votes. In the simulations where Mr. Romney won the election despite losing Ohio, this was the case that came up most frequently.I'd call this the 'hail mary' strategy, since, as Mr. Silver discusses, it would require that Romney run the table in ALL of the following swing states: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire (in which he trails in just about every one of them, including Nevada, a state in which Romney has "never held a lead in a public poll") . This scenario would concede Wisconsin to Obama and result in a 273-265 win for Romney in the electoral college. (Note that in this scenario, New Hampshire's four electoral votes move Romney over the top, though a New Hampshire loss for Romney in this scenario would drop the race into a 269-269 tie, in which the tie would then be broken by the majority in the House).
Nate Silver's confidence in Romney's ability to pull this off? Fat-chance.
It isn't a great plan. But when you're the Republican candidate and are down outside the margin of error in Ohio with six weeks to go, you don't have any great plans.Evidence of the Romney campaign pulling out of Ohio would almost certainly lead to a 'death spiral' for Romney, in which negative coverage ("Headlines: Romney Surrenders Ohio!") would drown out any other news or advertising for at least another week, and result in further declines for Romney nationally.
My prediction for Romney? I think Mr. T says it best:
(If you haven't read Nate Silver's 538 blog column in the NYT on Romney's chances as Ohio slips away from him, I'd highly recommend it, though I suspect most on this site are already avid readers of his column): Sept. 25: Romney’s Narrow Path Without Ohio