Regular readers here know that I don't pay much attention to the national polls but have been slightly obsessed (yes, that's a bit like being slightly pregnant) with the state polls and the electoral map. One of the things I've been saying all along is that this race has been strikingly stable. It turns out that nowhere is that more true than Mitt Romney's performance.
Romney began this race with a pretty solid 191 electoral votes. That includes all of the states John McCain won in 2008 plus Indiana. Anyone who's been watching these projections from polling aggregates knows that, with the exception of occasionally adding North Carolina to bring him up to 205 electoral votes, Romney has NEVER LED in any other swing state. The only changes we've seen in them is to go from toss-up to Obama.
Today, it you take a look at any of the projections - from HuffPo to TPM to Real Clear Politics, you'll see Romney is still at 191 electoral votes. In other words, the only real "swing state" (if we're talking swinging between Romney and Obama) is North Carolina. And even that one is trending towards Obama at this point.
After this election is over, narratives about its course will certainly be written. Based on what I'm seeing now, they will likely try to tell the story of a race that was tied until the conventions and Romney's remarks about 47% of Americans. That won't be true. While it may have looked like a close race in national polls at one time, Romney hasn't been able to put a single state in play on the electoral map to rise above his 191-205 base. As a matter of fact, all he's been able to do is lose his small lead in North Carolina. In other words, what started off as his floor actually looks to be his ceiling.
The reason this is important is that, when you combine it with the reality that this is not simply a failure of the candidate, but a rejection of the Republican Party as it has positioned itself today, we can see that they are currently the party of 191 electoral votes - and loosing ground by the minute based on demographics.
Lately BooMan has been covering this story better than just about anyone on the internet. But I have to disagree with how he characterized it today. This election is not some grand scheme for one last shot at the ring that will likely be followed by a more temperate platform in the future. That assumes way more strategy on the part of Republicans than I think they are capable of today.
Nope, this is the beast the Republicans unleashed on us all when their policies failed and they decided to give the megaphone to their extremist base. That beast is not grounded in strategy - but in fear and anger. They will not go quietly into the night of defeat only to emerge ready for compromise. It is true that their end is certain. But the dying beast is sure to continue to lash out at every target on its way down. I say that not because I doubt their demise, but because it is always best to be prepared.