After being down in the dumps for so long, Mitt Romney’s campaign now clearly has the momentum:
The crowds tell the story. As Election Day nears, Mitt Romney is drawing large and excited throngs.
Look to dusty Iowa cornfields, rain-soaked Virginia parks, the muddy fields of the Shelby County Fairgrounds, where a crowd of 9,500 — almost half of this western Ohio town — gathered among the barns and stables on a frigid October evening this week to glimpse the Republican presidential contender.
“Where else would we want to be?” said one of the shivering faithful, Judy Cartwright, a 71-year-old nurse from Sidney. “I want to see the next president of the United States.”
Romney’s debate performance against President Barack Obama last week — and his energetic appearances following it up — have fueled a rise in enthusiasm on the campaign trail. Whether or not it will translate into votes, polls do suggest that Republicans are fired up. It’s a welcome development for the Republican businessman, who is hardly a natural politician and has long struggled to match Obama’s ability to inspire excitement.
In Virginia, for example, Republican leaning counties appear to be getting the fastest start on absentee voting ahead of Election Day. State Board of Elections data analyzed by the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit and nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics, shows that of the 25 localities where absentee voting is busiest, 21 voted Republican in the 2008 presidential race. And of the 25 localities where absentee balloting is the slowest so far, 16 supported Obama.
RealClearPolitics has Romney down by only ten votes in the electoral college. Assuming that he gets Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, Romney will have 248 electoral votes by RCP’s count, and can win the presidency if he is able to get a mere 22 more. Of course, getting Ohio’s 18 electoral votes will help him mightily towards that goal, but if Romney is able to get Wisconsin, along with some combination of Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada, he will prevail.
All of which ought to make Team Obama very nervous indeed.