Romney’s Path to 270 Electoral VotesOctober 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.
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.