Based on current polling data and past election results, The Washington Dispatch does not project North Carolina or Indiana to be swing states in the upcoming election, and projects Mr. Romney to win these states comfortably despite the fact that they were carried by the President 4 years ago.
The most important swing states, based on their number of electoral votes, are Florida (29), Ohio (18), and Virginia (13). There is no plausible path to victory for Romney without winning Florida. Conversely, there is no plausible scenario under which President Obama loses the election if he wins Florida. Without Ohio, Romney would have to win almost every other swing state up for grabs. Without Virginia, there are a few paths to a Romney victory, but a defeat is more likely without winning the Old Dominion.
Mr. Romney has now surpassed the 50% support threshold in Florida, and is only 0.5% away from that mark in Virginia:
Mr. Romney has increased upon last week's small lead in Ohio as well:
In addition, Romney maintains his lead in Nevada, and in the lone change from last week's projection now leads in Colorado once again:
President Obama holds onto his lead in the remaining swing-states:
Rather than simply averaging the overall result of major swing-state polls pitting President Obama against Mitt Romney (as is done on sites like Real Clear Politics), The Washington Dispatch digs into the cross-tabs of data behind major national polls (those that freely publish the necessary data breaking down responses by party identification), and averages each candidates' share of the vote among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Then, these shares are applied to the actual turnout by party identification in each state (as measured by CNN's comprehensive exit polling in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010) for the past four national elections. To calculate poll numbers for The Washington Dispatch's official head-to-head match-up between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, each candidates' average share of the vote by party affiliation is applied to the average turnout by party affiliation in each state over the past four national elections.