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Battleground States Revisited: The Maps They Are A-Changin'

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Two-thirds of battleground state maps have changed over the past month, yielding 10 different maps across 12 different media outlets

coloradoseal10.jpgWith events on the campaign trail and on the debate stage seemingly changing the temperature of the 2012 presidential race every day, media outlets are subsequently adjusting which states satisfy the definitional requirements of being called a 'battleground' this cycle.

The problem for the interested reader, however, is to decide which map to read.

Smart Politics has previously issued reports detailing the differences between the maps of a dozen prominent media outlets in early August and September.

However, whereas only three of these outlets changed their battleground state maps from August to September, a lot has changed over the last month.

And there is still very little agreement on which or how many states are up for grabs.

A Smart Politics analysis of the horse race coverage of a dozen major media outlets finds that eight have changed their battleground state maps from a month ago - removing 11 states collectively and adding six more back in - with only three states appearing on all 12 maps: Colorado, Florida, and Virginia.

(The 12 news outlets under analysis are ABC, CNN, Huffington Post, MSNBC, National Journal, New York Times, PBS, POLITICO, Real Clear Politics, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post).

Overall, an average of nine states and 116.5 Electoral College votes populate the dozen battleground state maps - down slightly from an average of 119.6 votes one month ago.

Three states currently appear as toss-ups on the maps of all 12 news outlets under analysis: Colorado, Florida, and Virginia.

A month ago five states were universally considered battlegrounds: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia.

In early August, Florida and Virginia were the only battlegrounds states on each of the dozen maps.

Currently, Nevada and Ohio appear on 11 maps, with Iowa and New Hampshire on 10, North Carolina and Wisconsin on nine, Pennsylvania on four, Michigan and Missouri on three, New Mexico on two, and Arizona and Minnesota on one.

Eight of the 12 outlets have changed their maps since Smart Politics' last survey of maps on September 9th:

· ABC News added Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to their battleground map for a total of 11 states and 146 Electoral College votes.

· Huffington Post dropped three states from their last map: Iowa and Wisconsin changed to "lean Obama" with North Carolina moving to "lean Romney." The outlet now lists just four toss-up states (CO, FL, OH, VA) and 69 Electoral College votes - the lowest of all 12 outlets.

· MSNBC dropped Iowa from its battleground state ranks (now "leaning Obama") leaving a list with eight battleground states and 104 Electoral College votes.

· Real Clear Politics moved Michigan to 'lean Obama' but upgraded Missouri and Pennsylvania to "toss up" status - for a total of 11 states and 140 Electoral College votes.

· Washington Post removed Ohio from its toss-up list, leaving just seven states (CO, FL, IA, NH, NV, VA, WI) and 77 Electoral College votes up for grabs - the second lowest tally among the dozen outlets.

· The Wall Street Journal shifted Arizona to 'lean Romney' and Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin to 'lean Obama' for a total of eight remaining battleground states and 106 Electoral College votes still on the table.

· The New York Times added North Carolina to its "toss up" state list, with the publication now tallying nine states and 110 Electoral College votes.

· POLITICO, meanwhile, dropped Michigan from its "swing state" list (now in the "leaning/likely Obama" column), leaving nine states and 110 Electoral College votes.

The New York Times, POLITICO, and CNN (unchanged from September) all now share the same battleground state maps.

None of the other nine outlets share identical maps at this stage of the cycle.

All told, that means there are 10 different battleground state maps among the 12 media outlets.

Battleground States by Media Outlet in 2012 Presidential Electoral Projection Maps

State
ABC
CNN
HP
MSNBC
NJ
NYT
PBS
Politico
RCP
USA Today
WP
WSJ
Total
AZ
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
CO
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
12
FL
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
12
IA
x
x
 
 
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
10
IN
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
MI
x
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
3
MN
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
MO
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
x
 
 
x
3
NC
x
x
 
x
x
x
 
x
x
x
 
x
9
NH
x
x
 
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
 
10
NM
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
 
x
 
 
2
NV
x
x
 
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
11
OH
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
 
x
11
PA
x
 
 
 
x
 
 
 
x
x
 
 
4
VA
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
12
WI
x
x
 
x
x
x
 
x
x
x
x
 
9
El. Votes
146
110
69
104
193
110
85
110
140
148
77
106
116.5
# States
11
9
4
8
16
9
7
9
11
12
7
8
111
Maps coded on October 10, 2012. Media outlets under analysis are ABC News, CNN, Huffington Post, MSNBC, National Journal, New York Times, PBS, POLITICO, Real Clear Politics, USA Today, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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