American Thinker's political correspondent Rich Baehr has a good article that is featured this morning on the PJ Media site. It examines the general election race between Romney and Obama, concentrating on the battleground states.
Recent polls suggest that President Obama holds about a 7 point lead over Romney in Ohio, Florida and Virginia, and a 3 point lead over Romney in Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The Pennsylvania poll is an oddity, since it showed Romney doing better than Santorum versus Obama in Santorum's state, as well as for the fact that Romney ran better against Obama in Pennsylvania than in Florida or Ohio, states that in recent Presidential elections have been at least 5% more friendly to Republican candidates than Pennsylvania.
A new Rasmussen poll for four battleground states -- North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Florida -- gave Obama a three point lead this week, two points closer than in a prior survey.
It will be very difficult for Mitt Romney to win if he does not carry Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Most analysts think the Republican ticket will win both Indiana and North Carolina this time around , given how narrowly Obama won these traditional GOP leaning states in 2008. If Romney were to lose Ohio, he would need to win Pennsylvania, a state where Obama's approval ratings have been weak, and the GOP had a very good year in 2010. Of the three western states, Colorado is considered more of a tossup than Nevada or New Mexico .
The outcome in the battleground states will to a large extent reflect the national popular vote outcome. If either candidate wins by 3% or more, he will likely win most of the competitive battleground states. Where Obama may have an edge is that his superior ground effort may give him a point or two boost in some of these states. The Romney campaign and its Super Pac supporters have very effectively used negative advertising to tar first Newt Gingrich, and then Rick Santorum during the primary season. Unlike 2008, the Republicans will not be badly outspent this time around, and there seems much less reluctance to make Barack Obama, as well as his record, an issue.
The Obama ground game - awesome as it will be -- could be negated somewhat by Super Pac spending by the GOP candidate. Karl Rove's group American Crossroads plans to raise $300 million alone. Several other Super Pac's might bring total spending to over $500 million - still short of Obama's total but in the ballpark.
Romney won't have direct control over this money but rest assured, it will help him. Meanwhile, the longer Santorum stays in the race, the more cash Romney has to spend to win primaries. That means less cash to spend next fall when he will need it the most.
Perhaps, as Rich suggests, Santorum will drop out of the race after Tuesday's primaries. Newt Gingirch is already irrelevant, and Ron Paul has never been a factor. With a clear road to the nomination, Romney could begin his pivot to the general election and begin the face off with Obama -- one on one.