Rare is the day that the sidewinding King of the Ifs, Charlie Cook, is so declaratory: "Obama is clearly ahead in 21 states ... with a total of 253 electoral votes, 17 short of the 270 needed to win" (emphasis mine).
From there the math, the numbers, the percentages and the probabilities of a Romney victory become inconceivably obscure: "Romney is ahead in 23 states with a total of 191 electoral votes, 79 shy of 270." No doubt the King of the Actual Sidewinders, Eric Ferhnstrom, is pestering Cook this morning for the same adverbially blessed "ahead" that Obama got--the Romney campaign should be awarded at least one honorary electoral vote for superior whining--but, whatever. Perception over reality can't save the Romney camp now, especially after the wind-swept, misty water-colored memories of a FEMA-subdued Sandy.
In short, Romney needs 84 percent of the 94 electoral votes remaining among Cook's "seven jump ball states": Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), and Virginia (13). Obama requires only about the same percentage (18) as he does electoral votes (17) from these states. And, as anyone can clearly see, Ohio alone would do it.
Cook's wrap-up point is the now-hemorrhaging conventional wisdom that "the chances of a split popular vote/Electoral College vote are real," with of course Romney taking the former and Obama the latter. Pundits have taken to gloomily forecasting such an outcome as they would a nor'easting hurricane. Me? I think it'd be wonderful. What better way to demonstrate that though we're a majority electorate of imbeciles, we nonetheless found a way to save ourselves. It's just so ... American.