Here are links to three electoral maps for this year's presidential election: at NBC, Real Clear Politics, and 538 To Win. NBC and RCP make predictions for 2012, while 538ToWin’s map is interactive and allows you to allocate states to Democrats, Republicans, and the “toss-up” category.
Both NBC and Real Clear Politics presently give Obama 227 electoral votes, leaving him with the task of finding 43 more to win the presidential race. Their lists of who is expected to win each state are similar but not identical.
The following analysis is based upon the NBC electoral college predictions. The list below omits the states that are leaning towards Obama, but include the toss-up states as well as the four states NBC identifies as “leaning” towards the GOP and two other states that NBC identifies as “likely GOP.” I have also included in the list which candidate won the state in 2008, the percentage of the margin of victory, and how many electoral votes each state of those states will have in 2012.
State 2008 Candidate Electoral Votes
Victory Margin in 2012
NBC Toss-up States:
Colorado Obama by 8.6% 9
Florida Obama by 2.5% 29
Nevada Obama by 13.4% 6
New Hampshire Obama by 9.5% 4
New Mexico Obama by 14.7% 5
North Carolina Obama by 0.4% 15
Ohio Obama by 3.9% 18
Pennsylvania Obama by 10.4% 20
Virginia Obama by 6.3% 13
NBC Lean GOP
Arizona McCain by 8.8% 11
Georgia McCain by 5.2% 16
Iowa Obama by 7.3% 6
Missouri McCain by 0.1% 10
NBC Likely GOP
Indiana Obama by 0.9% 11
Montana McCain by 2.5% 3
The first thing to notice is that all of the states identified as “toss-ups” were won by Obama in 2008, as well as two of the states now leaning towards the GOP.
Second, the GOP has a lot of ground to make up. From the foregoing it appears that the Republican candidate would have to make up a gap of more than 8% in in the swing states in order to overtake Obama. The President could win a second term simply by retaining New Mexico (5), Nevada (6), Pennsylvania (20), New Hampshire (4), and Colorado (9), each of which he won by a margin of at least 8.6 percentage points. Republicans could sweep the rest of the states listed above and it would not be enough.
The Republicans’ goal of denying Obama 270 electoral votes is made even more difficult by the fact that Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Legislature have severely damaged the Republican brand in that state with their war on public employees. From my perch in Ohio, it seems that will be quite awhile before any significant percentage of the 780,000 state and local employees in Ohio will vote Republican.
But we hold elections for a reason. Who knows what the map may look like next week, let alone eight months from now?