The Republican Primary is effectively over as first Rick Santorum and then Newt Gingrich finally threw in the towel and suspended their campaigns. The outcome was pretty much as expected with Mitt Romney being the presumptive challenger to President Obama in November. Now as the Obama and Romney camps turn towards their advertising strategies it’s time to armchair quarterback the general election.
Several of the polling firms are already weighing in with forecasts and they don’t look too favourable for Mitt Romney. Romney isn’t doing himself any favours either by committing serial verbal gaffes that illustrate a glaring propensity for being out of touch with regular American values.
Recently the President ‘came out’ (somewhat reluctantly) in favour of marriage between same sex couples; the first President ever to do so. Simultaneously the Washington Post released a damning account of Mitt Romney bullying a gay student in high school.
Polling is just now beginning to reflect these events. Let’s look at a few of the polling organization’s results (Note: it’s a long way to November and these things can pivot on any number of factors).
The Huffington Post’s Election Dashboard lists President Obama with 294 electoral votes and Mitt Romney with 170. That leaves 74 electoral votes as toss-up states. In order for Romney to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the Presidency under this scenario, He would have to win all the toss-up states and a few ‘lean Obama’ states. That seems pretty daunting for a candidate whose negatives keep piling up with each subsequent news cycle.
CNN gives a much more conservative estimate with only 196 Safe/Likely Democratic electoral votes and 159 Republican votes leaving 183 electoral votes up for grabs.
The Associated Press gives Romney an edge with 191 assured votes to President Obama’s 242 votes.
Real Clear Politics echoes the Huffington Post with 243 Obama votes to 170 Romney votes and 125 toss-ups.
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics also shows a favourable outcome for President Obama with 303 electoral votes versus Romney’s 235.
Keep in mind that President Obama won 365 votes to John McCain’s 173 in 2008. And Romney lost to McCain in that go-around.
One thing is certain; the battleground states will determine this election but here is an easy way to back into those results. In 2008 it was a foregone conclusion that the west coast was in President Obama’s wheelhouse. That shouldn’t change for this year either. The election in 2008 was called the second the polls closed on the west coast. So, if one puts those electoral votes into the Obama column, then it will be the contest in the midwest battleground states that will determine the outcome of this election.
Washington, Oregon, California, Hawai’i and probably New Mexico and Nevada will go for Obama. That’s 89 votes that will fall all at once.
Additionally, one can count the majority of New England and the Northeast to remain in the Obama column. One can also count on the south and many of the western states to remain fully in the Romney column but these states (with the exception of Texas) are typically low in electoral votes. This election hinges on the swing states in the midwest and east coast; primarily Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida. Romney must essentially win all of these states to be competitive. If he loses any one of them, it’s over. There just aren’t enough western state electoral votes available to offset the west coast votes.
Can Romney pull it off? At this point there would need to be a perfect storm of events to make that happen. That bodes well for summer storm watchers.
- Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball ” PLAN OF ATTACK: OBAMA, ROMNEY AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE (thebusypost.wordpress.com)
- The Looming Electoral Armageddon (thedailybeast.com)
- Mitt Romney Struggles To Attract Former Rivals’ Donors (huffingtonpost.com)