Obama would win 253 Electoral College votes, according to RealClearPolitics.com (RCP), if the 2012 election were held next Tuesday. The upcoming Election is Obama's to lose as of today's RCP poll summary, counting "leaning" states as solid. If Obama also wins toss-up Ohio, he wins it all. If not, there are several scenarios in which he wins 4 or 5 states and loses.
Romney seems to have little chance in Ohio, although it's a "toss-up" state on most electoral vote projection maps. Obama has led him by up to nine points for the past five months. That means that Romney has to break at least one relatively high-count "leaning" state out of Obama's column, or two or more smaller states. It's obvious that 253 Electoral College votes is awfully close to the magic 270 that makes a person President, and Romney isn't going to change that in Ohio in the 2012 election.
Essentially, Mitt Romney must run the table from now, and running the table will be a run through a mine field, a field wherein he sowed many of those mines (but forgot to keep the map). Once again, for instance, he spoke in Michigan and was forced to defend his position that two of the three remaining American auto manufacturers should not have been "bailed out."
Obama's job approval rating has improved as the economy improved, despite Republican spin to the contrary. When Romney talks of the "failed policies of the past," people hear "George Bush," not "Bill Clinton." Romney seems confused on exactly whose policies failed... and when. It might be best if he quit using Bill Clinton as his "good" example vis-a-vis President Obama. He's confusing people, since Clinton is the most recent Democratic Presidential example that he can talk about when he talks about policies of the past.
The Romney campaign must find not only votes enough to carry important "toss-up" or "swing" states, but to take at least 20 Obama-leaning Electoral College votes away. And after the Tampa GOP convention is over, they will have less than twelve weeks in which to do it.
Obama will be the Democratic nominee. He's already campaigning for the general election (yes, Virginia, presidents get to campaign for re-election... and they get to do it from Air Force One; in fact, they're required to). Because Romney must stick to the TEA-Party approved script for the remaining primaries and State conventions (and to ward off Ron Paul's delegate-stealing), he must wait until after Tampa. Obama gets a three-month head start.
Obama should win the 2012 election going away. The opposition has been riding three and a half years of shrieking birthers (lost every case), follow-on Muslimists, and yammering conspiracists (the President is a full-blown Communist, conspiring to turn the USA into a Stalinesque American Soviet).
But wait! The New York Times calls the race much closer. They have Obama with only 217 Electoral College votes, and Romney with 206. Both sources have 115 votes as "toss-up" states, including Ohio, but many of the other states are different, and some of the "leaning" states are swapped with each other or with "toss-up" states. One might think these experts weren't sure of their conclusions.
And there's always Dewey vs. Truman to remember. If Democrats pull the 2010 stay-home-and-sulk nonsense again, Dewey-Truman is going to look downright prophetic. No votes, no win! On the other hand, if the NYT is closer the mark than RCP, Dewey-Truman could be totally beside the point. Obama could chose the wrong states to concentrate on and help Romney to an unexpected presidency.
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