Romney’s Path to 270 Electoral Votes

October 13th, 2012 by Lee Eldridge

It’s interesting to watch the political winds change. A year ago, experts discussed that the election would come down to 12 swing states. For months, the mainstream media and liberal pundits have talked about Obama’s path to victory, and that there was little chance of Romney making the electoral math work in his favor. Two months ago I wrote a post titled “Can Obama Win?” where I discussed the headwinds President Obama would face in the upcoming election. From studying past elections and current factors, I predicted that Romney would win the popular vote 52-47. I wasn’t overly concerned about the electoral math. It would be nearly impossible to win 52% of the vote and not win the electoral college.

Real Clear Politics is one of my favorite sites. They list the top political stories of the day, but they also track all of the major polls and provide an average of the polls. This week they show 12 states in the “toss up” column between the two candidates. The same 12 states that the experts had said would be the swing states that would decide the election. So despite the ebb and flow of the campaigns, we are exactly where we thought we’d be.

Real Clear Politics - Electoral College

As of today, with leaners, Real Clear Politics has Obama winning 201 electoral votes, and Romney winning 181 electoral votes. I don’t see any of these states changing sides. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the election, and there are 156 up for grabs in the 12 swing states. This is the closest I’ve seen the electoral map since the election began — typically they’ve shown the President with a fairly commanding lead.

The 12 states that make up the swing states are (with their number of electoral votes): Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Michigan (16), Missouri (10), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10).

I’m going to chop off two states for each side. All along the numbers have looked good for Obama in Pennsylvania and Michigan. And Missouri and North Carolina have been widely considered states that would end up in the Romney column. That puts Obama ahead 237-206.

This week, David Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said that they were going to stop polling Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. “In places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red. We’re not polling any of those states again,” he said. “We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

So let’s add the electoral votes from Virginia and Florida to the Romney side of the ledger. That puts Romney ahead 248-237.

The polls show Ohio as very close. RCP shows Obama with a slight lead, though that’s largely because of one outlier — the NBC/WSJ poll has Obama up by 6. It will be close, but I’m predicting a Romney win in Ohio. That puts Romney up 266-237 with Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin still undecided. Romney only has to win one of these states to hit 270 and win the election. In other words, if Romney wins Ohio, Obama must sweep the remaining five states. We’ve discussed before that the undecided voters break heavily for the challenger. Here’s the current breakdown of these five states according to RCP:

Colorado: Romney up 47.7 to 47.0
Iowa: Obama up 48.6 to 45.4
Nevada: Obama up 48.2 to 46.6
New Hampshire: Obama up 48 to 47.3
Wisconsin: Obama up 50 to 47.7

Romney will win at least one of these, and win the election.

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10 Responses to “Romney’s Path to 270 Electoral Votes”

  1. Greg DiVilbiss Says:

    This has been a fun one to watch. Interesting analysis…only a few more weeks and we will see if you are correct.

  2. John 313 Says:

    Nice except for your leap of hope and faith on the Ohio thing and Flova. Giving Romney states he is barely ahead of in the polls if not behind, and who is also consistently behind in Ohio. I know you’re deeply convinced deep down that most Americans are fearful tea party white loving GOP leaning voters ( i do agree we have a lot of low info ignorant scared people in the US) and this blog post supports that trend in your writings. It’s interesting how you have now shifted to an electoral college model of thinking vs national poll thinking. I give you credit for that since that IS the model.

  3. John 313 Says:

    If Obama wins both Iowa and Wisconsin, he could reach or surpass 270 electoral votes by either winning: 1) just Ohio; 2) a combination of Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire; or 3) a combination New Hampshire and Virginia.
    As you may be aware of Obama is fairly ahead in Wic, Iowa and Ohio.

  4. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Good morning John. Not shifting anything. I mentioned to you in a previous post that if Romney wins by 5 (my prediction) that the EC would work itself out. And I think we’re seeing it work itself out earlier than I expected. Given history from past elections, any state that Romney is within 2-3 points he has a very good chance of winning. Undecided voters predominantly swing to the challenger in large numbers. GOP has more enthusiasm than the dems. And Romney is up big with independents in virtually every poll, nationally and swing states — even the ones oversampling dems. And some still are oversampling dems. The last ABC national poll oversampled dems by 9 and still only had Obama up by 3.

    According to RCP, Romney is now basically tied in CO and NH — two states the left thought Obama had in the bag. Romney’s up in FL. Closing in states like WI and PA. And according to Gallup, he’s up by 7 nationally with likely voters — though I expect that to shrink back for 2-4 points before the election. He’s in better shape in the polls than I would ever have predicted. It won’t surprise me if he wins the popular vote by more than 5.

    Saw a comment the other day that I found interesting. When conservatives lose an election, they blame the candidate. When liberals lose an election, they blame the American people. I think you have now repeatedly implied that people who would vote for Romney are ignorant and fearful. I’ve never understood this kind of thinking. Where you demonize and name call those who have different opinions than you. I’m a fiscal conservative, a social liberal, and I don’t hide behind fake names. I use facts and statistics to make my points. I don’t understand at all why you even read this blog when you hold my opinions with such contempt.

  5. John 313 Says:

    If you vote for republicans you’re not liberal in any way because you pay loyalty to a party that seeks to squash all social progressiivity. It makes a nice sound bite to say your socially liberal but to then vote GOP and blog a pro GOP message and sell out, gay rights for instance, shows a certain spinelessness. Nothing is more crucial than civil rights in this country. Or should be. You are loyal to the party pushing illegal and immoral voter ID and voter intimidation tactics.
    If you’re blog was actually balanced and not overwhelmiingly filled with GOP press release speak it would bother me a lot less. If you didn’t try to spin the fact that you are a right winger and this is a right wing conservative blog it would be more honest. The right wing is absolutely killing this country and in fact has lost credibility on financial matters as well. So I speak out. That’s why I come to this blog.

  6. John 313 Says:

    What do think of this effort Lee?

  7. john313 Says:

    I guess you dont have any thoughts on that article. You know, if you ever wrote a blog post, a full post, on the abuses of the GOP, you would look a lot more like you a guy in the middle as you present yourself. Again, silence is complicity, and going further and being an advocate for a party that is committing crimes against the people a la our constitutional rights, is well, advocating for a party that is fighting against our rights. I guess you would argue as my other republican friends do that the economic arguments for supporting the gop (which are laughable considering the trove of evidence that they are incompetent and thieving stewards of the public fiduciary trust), outweigh the facts that they are fighting against civil rights, voting rights, the environment, and a lot of other issues that matter to the gop and dems alike.

  8. Lee Eldridge Says:

    John, I don’t present myself as “a guy in the middle”. I’m a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Obviously that’s difficult for you to digest, and respectfully, that’s not my problem.

    I write because I enjoy it, but I have very limited time to do it. I write about what I know best, and what I’m most passionate about. When it comes to sports, I typically write about the Chiefs. When it comes to news, I typically write about the economy and tax policy, with occasional posts about politics and polls. I have many more ideas for articles than I’ll ever have time to write.

    If you’re asking me for my opinion of voter ID laws, like most Americans, I support them. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to show an ID when you vote. Though I know that’s not really what you’re asking. The GOP in several states have stepped beyond simple voter ID laws, and Ohio is a good example of that. I find it offensive that they are attempting to shape the hours the voting stations are open to discourage Americans that live in certain neighborhoods from voting. But I find it equally offense that somebody is mailing letters to Republicans in Florida to try to discourage their vote.

    Both parties lie, cheat and steal.

  9. John 313 Says:

    Voter ID laws and early voting restrictions are part of a wave of democratic voter suppression – I guess they have you fooled or you apparently think democrats do things on par with that which is very off track. You have confirmed you aren’t in the middle or even socially moderate as your innevitable GOP vote will ensure. You talk moderate but support the modern KKK — the vote suppressing, gay hating, citizen united passing GOP. Who will by the, also destroy the economy again it given the chance that W and Cheney had.

  10. John 313 Says:

    Just saw an article on those Florida letters. Two thoughts. First, those letter were sent by individuals. In the case of the national voter ID and early voting efforts, that’s being pushed by the GOP party, and GOP elected officials at the highest levels. My second thought is, screw the Florida republican GOP because they are among the biggest perpetrators of dem voter suppression and have been for a long time. Think nov 2000. Even the recent previous former state GOP chair said the Florida GOP has conspired to suppress votes.