based on what has been discussed already, I would like to make a few points:
1. nothing, no gear idea or decision is universal. Gear decision varies person to person, region, season, fitness and physical condition of the user, pack weight, etc. etc........So, most of these Fleece VS Synthetic fill or down......or Boots vs. trail runners are kind of pointless.
2. Fleece has become a rather complicated fabric item anymore. There are weight differences like 100wt, 200wt, 300 wt.....Construction differences like Thermal Pro, wind Pro, wind block etc........also, Power Stretch and Power dry.....
3. fit and design is as important, if not more, as the fabric (material choice). So, a fleece made with great material (thermal pro) but designed for urban street usage (like the TNF Denali, with unnecessary pockets, patches and zippers) would not function as effectively in many outdoor situation and specially when you are on the move (during hiking/backpacking).
Fit and design also dicatates how a fleece would work as a part of a layering system. I find that many fleece that are made for mass market feels very bulky and are poor choices for a mid layer. Fit also influences the moisture management capabilities of a fleece jacket.
4. What I understood from the OPs discussion that he/she was talking about usage of fleece when you are on the move, as opposed to when you are at the camp or a rest stop. This is a significant point and influences the decision (fleece VS .......) substantially.
5. fleece not only cheaper and more widely available they are also easier to maintain.
my personal experience and what works for me (I am from northeast myself).
I have tried a few different options over the years. I started off with a 200wt fleece, moved on to thermal Pro (Patagonia R2 and Monkey Man, Lowe Alpine Thermal Pro jackets etc.). at this point my goal was to use something that works both during the hike and in the camp. these 200wt level fleece were too warm during hiking (except from really really cold and windy days) and not adequate during rest stops or at the camp.
I changed my layering system after this experience. I moved to either a 100wt fleece zip t (mountain hardwear micro chill, fits close to body and manages moisture very well), Polartec Power Stretch or Power Dry (Cloudveil Run Dont walk) and Patagonia R1 Flass pull over. I have been using these pieces during hiking for about 4/5 years now. I find them extremely effective in keeping me warm and relatively dry. I have purchased a hooded Primaloft One Jacket with water resistant shell for rest stops and for the camp. This way I am covered.
I dont take a full-on fleece jacket to my backpacking/hiking trips any more (they are great for car camping or walking the dog though). But, I rely heavily on newer fleece material for my outdoors needs. I also pay a lot of attention to what fits me right.