The campaigns would have you believe that lots of states are still in play, but only five really matter at this point, writes Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com. They are Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio. Silver emphasizes that "by far the most likely scenario" is that Barack Obama will cruise to victory with somewhere between 300 and 400 electoral votes. But if the national polls tighten—and he doesn't think they will—some combination of these five states will decide the day.
If that's case, Obama again has the big edge. For victory, he must:
- Win Pennsylvania and any one of the other four.
- Win Ohio and either Colorado or Virginia.
- Win Colorado, Virginia and Nevada.
Silver notes that Obama has a big edge in early Colorado voting. If you put that state in his corner already, he could secure victory by winning Pennsylvania or winning Ohio, or by winning both Virginia and Nevada.