Sorry I didn't catch this thread until now, at the tail end of March.
I used to be a cleated tire fan, and swore by cleats and studs for all my Eastern USA driving (NY with its multi-personality winters, Pennsylvania with it's hard frozen snow, and Connecticut with its ice).
I was talked into two things, that made me go without cleats from now on:
1. DOWNSIZE your Winter tires at least 1-inch radius, and downsize your treadwidth at least 3/8-inch. This makes your tire narrower and taller in the sidewall, compared to your favorite tire size.
2. Select a winter tire from Nokian. They are not well known in the US at all. The company is Finnish, the rubber is from Russia, and they specialize in ice, slushed-water, and snow (Nokian considers snow the EASIEST of the winter dangers for a tire manufacturer to deal with---that's how far ahead of the pack their designs are).
I've just christened a set of their Hakkapellita R3 wither tires this winter. Even with DSC traction control disabled, I couldn't get them to slide ice, I couldn't get them to slide on slush. I couldn't even make them splash up going through standing water at 40 mph---they have these slots and pocket in them called Sipes, and they suck up the water into the sipes before the water can hydroplane or splash to the sides of the car. The features in this design are just amazing, and apparently ALL the tires they make utilize some of the design from this Hakkapellita model.
It will mean getting 19 inch rims just for your 19 inch winter tires. But the advantage is you don't have to keep risking tire-shop scratches on your rims every year, or having to scare up your favorite rims in snow driving.
Nokians are not easily found in retail stores yet around the US. If you decide to purchase, best to order them from a reputable online site that specializes in international tire makers, and won't charge more that $50 to ship a set of tires to you within a week.
Here's a helpful site for finding what's out there, and what tire specs mean: