(WARNING: Math Ahead! If you are adverse to logic, reason and science please consult a Doctor before reading, you may be a Conservative)
Joe Scarborough mocked Nate Silver's 78% or s so Obama victory likelihood. He stated it was something more like 50/50, a coin flip. I am going to meet Joe half way. I will assume that the battleground states are toss-ups and still show how it is not a coin-flip election.
First of all I start with the following assumptions: 237 EV are in the bag for Obama, and 191 for Romney.
The battleground states are: CO (9 EV), IA (6), FL (29), NC (15), NH (4), NV (9), OH (18), VA (13), WI (10)
So if our assumption is that each of these is a coin flip that means there is 512 permutations.
Obama wins 431 of them...84%.
OK, lets give Romney a better chance, lets throw North Carolina his way, after all 538 has it at an 80% chance for Romney. That leave with 256 possibilities.
Obama wins 193 pf them...75%
OK, let us give Romney Florida, too, as Nate has that 55% for Romney right now. That leaves us with 128 scenarios.
Obama wins 66 of them...51.5%...a Coinflip, more or less!
But wait,l 538 doesn't even have Wisconsin as a battleground any more, it is at 91%. SO lets give that to Obama, seems fair. 64 scenarios.
Obama wins 42 scenarios...or 66%.
Well let's see if we can get Romney over the hump with is next most likely pickup, Colorado, at 65% favorability for Obama. 32 scenarios.
Obama wins 18 time...56%...almost a coin-flip.
Let's give Romney the next most likely, Virginia, at 66% of Obama. We are down to just 16 scenarios.
Obama wins just 6 of them...only 37.5%. Hmmm...
Lets give Obama his next most likely state, Nevada at a healthy 88%. Now we are just down to 8 scenarios.
Obama wins 4 of them!! COIN-FLIP!!!!!!!
What is the determining factor, half the time when Obama wins Ohio and half the time when he does not.
Now let us summarize, for it to be a coin-flip, Romney must win NC (good chance), Florida (50/50), Colorado (65-35 for Obama), and Virginia (66-34 for Obama). while losing Wisconisn (91% for Obama).
But if they do, that makes it a 50/50 chance if Ohio is a coin-flip.
538 has Obama at 80% in Ohio. According to that my friends, is not a coin-flip.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a rigorous statistical analysis of the race, but an attempt to show how this race is simply not a 50/50. It just isn't true.