Michael Barone –
Back in May, I wrote a column laying out possible scenarios for the 2012 campaign different from the conventional wisdom that it would be a long, hard slog through a fixed list of target states like the race in 2004.
I thought alternatives were possible because partisan preferences in the half-dozen years before 2004 were very stable, while partisan preferences over the last half-dozen years have been anything but.
Now, after Mitt Romney’s big victory in the Oct. 3 debate and his solid performances in the Oct. 16 and 22 debates, there is evidence that two of my alternative scenarios may be unfolding.
The list of target states has certainly not been fixed. Barack Obama’s campaign spent huge sums on anti-Romney ads to create a firewall in three states that the president won narrowly in 2008, Florida, Ohio and Virginia. But post-debate polling shows Romney ahead in Florida and tied in Virginia.