Obama’s Electoral Edge

Posted October 19th, 2012 at 8:18 pm (UTC+0)

Romney’s Narrow Path to the White House

Now we’re getting to crunch time and the presidential election is all about Electoral votes and which candidate wins which states.  Remember that in America’s presidential election system, you can win the national popular vote and still lose the presidency.  If you don’t believe, that just ask Al Gore the next time you see him in the airport on his way to yet another speech on global warming.

It is a victory in the Electoral College that wins the White House.  Think of it as 50 separate state elections for president, and add in three electoral votes for the District of Columbia.

Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes based on population with the exact number corresponding to the number of senators and House members who represent a given state in Congress.  Each state has two senators and at least one representative, so the range is from three electoral votes for a small state like Wyoming, to 55 electoral votes for the state with the largest population, California.

With two exceptions, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a given state receives all of that state’s electoral votes.  The two exceptions, Maine and Nebraska, divide up their electoral votes according to the percentage of the state’s popular vote total won by each candidate.  There are a total of 538 electoral votes and it takes a majority of 270 to win the presidency.


Most States Already Decided

President Obama is trying to lock up as many so-called “battleground” states as he can before Election Day, Nov. 6. Here, he is greeting supporters Friday, Oct. 19., in Virginia, a state crucial to his hopes for another term in the White House. Photo: AP

Sure it’s a national election on November 6th, but the fact is that most experts believe that 40 or so of the 50 states already lean strongly toward one candidate or the other.  This year, that leaves nine true “swing” or “battleground” or “competitive” states where both campaigns have focused most of their resources. That includes candidate visits, money spent on TV ads and grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts.

So for all intents and purposes, the 2012 presidential election will be decided in these states:  Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

According to the respected web site Real Clear Politics.com, President Obama begins with an electoral vote base of 201, assuming he wins all the states that lean Democratic.  The Obama base includes most of New England and large swaths of the northeast down through Maryland and Washington, DC, plus parts of the upper Midwest and the West Coast from California up to Washington.  Mitt Romney begins with a base of 191 electoral votes, with his strongest support coming from the South, the Great Plains and some of the smaller population states of the West.

That means each candidate must try and cobble together a winning electoral vote combination by adding as many of the nine swing states to their column as possible to get to 270 or more electoral votes.


Ohio First Among Equals

No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning the state of Ohio.  Ohio has also voted for the winner in 27 of the past 29 presidential elections, making it one of the most reliable of state predictors over the past century.  If there is a shadow over this election for the Romney campaign, it is the persistent lead President Obama has established in Ohio.

Without Ohio and its 18 electoral votes, Mr. Romney’s routes to get to 270 electoral votes are much more limited.  He would have to win Florida (29 electoral votes), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), Nevada (6) and New Hampshire (4) if he loses Ohio. The latest opinion polls in those states suggest winning them all would be an uphill battle.

If you add Ohio to President Obama’s electoral vote column, he would only have to win Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire to give him a total of 281 electoral votes — 11 more than he needs.  The kicker is that right now the president has leads in Ohio, Iowa and Nevada that look fairly strong, though by no means certain.  He also has a slight lead in New Hampshire.


Romney’s Debate Bump

Nation-wide public opinion polls are giving the Romney campaign reason for optimism, but the Republican candidate, here at a formal dinner for charity in New York City Oct. 18, is also closely watching state-by-state numbers. Photo: AP

Mitt Romney’s winning performance in the first presidential debate made this a much closer election.  President Obama was vastly improved in the second debate and that probably slowed or stopped the Romney momentum, at least for now.  It looks as though Mr. Romney’s strong showing in the first debate helped him close the gap in some key states like Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.  The Romney camp appears to have an edge in North Carolina now, and a more narrow advantage in Florida and Virginia.    Colorado and Virginia appear to be too close to call at the moment and probably will remain so until Election Day.

So for the moment, the state by state breakdown favors Mr. Obama, though only slightly.  His leads in Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin would seem to give him a Midwest firewall that Mr. Romney will have to find a way to break through.  Mr. Romney can take encouragement from the polling trends in Florida, North Carolina and, to a lesser extent, Virginia that would add to his southern base.  Mr. Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, have been spending a lot of time of late in Ohio trying to close the gap.

It will be interesting to see if, as we get closer to Election Day November 6th, Ohio looks unwinnable for the Romney team, and whether his campaign shifts its efforts to other states like Colorado, Virginia and New Hampshire to try and find some other way to get to the magic 270 number.


Are all Polls Created Equal?

Obviously not, which is why so many political junkies prefer sites like Real Clear Politics that average out the latest polls or look for a trend in several polls, not just one.  The Gallup daily tracking poll of late has shown Mr. Romney moving into a six or seven point lead nationally, a result that doesn’t seem to jive with so many state polls that show either a very close race or various leads within some of those states for President Obama.  The Gallup poll is one of many national polls that insiders take into account on any given day, but it’s by no means considered the last word.

If you average together the latest nation-wide polls, as Real Clear Politics does, it shows a very close race with perhaps a razor-thin advantage for Mr. Romney at the moment.  Gallup and other national polls did show a basic trend over the past two weeks, though, that shows Mr. Romney cutting into what had been a modest Obama lead before the first debate.

So from now on, feel free to take all the polls into account.  Just don’t put too much stock into any one poll, whether it’s from a national sample or from some of the key contested states.


47 responses to “Obama’s Electoral Edge”

  1. If the money is good enough in the country, the President will be re-elected. If not, Mr. Romney will be elcected. Remember, Harry Truman woke up on electiopn night and heard that Mr. Dewey was beating him. He turned off the radio and went back to sleep. The next day while one paper had a Banner Headline reading “Dewey Beats Truman” In reality the money was much better in 1948 than it was in 1946 and ’47 and my home town paper read” “Truman Wins In A Landslide.” I read the paper and watched Mr. Truman hold the paper up predicting his loss on “Fox Movietone News at the Fox Theatre in Joplin, Missouri. If the American people are satisfied with the money they have in their pockets, Mr. Obama is in..

    • Wyatt says:

      Obama is no fool. He is not incompetent. On the
      contrary, he is brilliant. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is
      purposely overwhelming the U.S. economy to create systemic failure,
      economic crisis and social chaos – thereby dismantaling capitalism and
      our country from within.

  2. patty says:

    My bet is on Obama, hes got our best interests at heart. Willard will ruin this country as we know it.

    • ugesh says:

      I agree! He doesn’t know geography. He said in the debate Monday that Syria was Iran’s way out to sea. Iran has the Persian gulf and the Arabian sea, out to the Indian Ocean. East of Iran is Iraq and Turkey. Romney will do anything to be president. I hope he retires from politics after this election.

  3. […] TODAYParties fear nightmare scenariosBend BulletinForbes -U.S. News & World Report -Voice of America (blog)all 495 news articles » Filed Under: Google News Top Stories Tagged With: Top […]

  4. Matt says:

    Obama / Biden 2012!!!

  5. dec says:

    Vote Obama for the New World Order!

  6. Shane says:

    The proof is in the putting, people vote their pocketbook. When gas prices have almost doubled and food prices have shot up 25%, people look for an alternative. Under Barack Obama we have seen both, just as we saw at the end of George W. Bush term. That aside, America is starting to see through the failed domestic and foreign policies of Obama. Do we feel safer than 4 years ago, the resounding answer is no. Government is not transparent on either side, and this makes people wary. Vote Obama or Romney, the bottom line is, government wins, not the people. Here is the sad reality, vote O and we are on a fast plane down the wrong aisle, vote R we are on a slow train down the wrong aisle. The reality is, these are our only two choices. Government is fat and bloated and if any of you believe they have you best interest in mind you are sadly deceived. Remember this number and reality will slap you in the face: 16,000,000,000,000+

    • Jon says:

      You sound so bitter. That is sad. The American spirt is strong. America’s heart is big. You remind me of the Grinch.

  7. Leoras says:

    I believe that Obama president will continue win. A person who always bring benefits come to everyone, and special the poor.

  8. anita says:

    Obama. He’s a liar.

    • patty says:

      Good luck if Willard gets in. Vouchers for health care, No!!” Parents psy for their children to go to college! NO!! WHERE you going to get the money? Only the rich will prosper.The end of America as we know it.
      Check your facts.

    • patty says:

      And Romney is a truth sayer …. LOL.. Go back to sleeep….

      • patty says:

        I never said this last reply, Willard is a liar!! And will yake this country down! Whoever wrote this YOU ARE SLEEPING!!! STOP USING MY NAME, I VOTED EARLY OBAMA!!!

  9. Bill says:

    There are people voting Willard Romney who don’t recognize his first name. Most don’t even know his name.

  10. Wyatt says:

    Remember a Republican signs the front and the Socialist Democrats sign the back.
    This is a political message and clarification to remind us all of the correct facts.
    Remember that on October 9, 2007, 11 months before our “economic crisis” occurred (that was actually created), the Dow hit its highest point ever, closing at 14,164.53 and reaching 14,198.10 intra-day level 2 days later. Unemployment was steady at 4.7%. But things were already being put in place to create the havoc we’ve all been experiencing since then. And it all started, as this email explains, on January 3, 2007. –LFL

    The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009; it was actually January 3rd 2007, which was the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress. The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
    For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault”, think about this: January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress.
    At the time:
    The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77 The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5% The Unemployment rate was 4.6% George Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB GROWTH
    Remember the day…
    January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee. The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy? BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
    Unemployment… to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
    Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie and Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy.
    And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie? OBAMA and the Democrat Congress.
    So when someone tries to blame Bush. REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007….
    Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democrat Party.
    Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011.
    In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.
    For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.
    And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.
    If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
    If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself. In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.

    • patty says:

      SRONGLY DISAGREE!!! HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CLEAN UP BUDCH MESS IN 4 YEARS? The economy is improving, the housing market has turned around, jobs are improving, President OBAMA has done alot considering the Republiecans were out to make him a one time president. I ment earlier Busch yes, a mess maker. It will take years to clean up after him. And Willard will be even worse. WILLARD MITT ROMNEY IS FOR THE RICH AND NOTHING BUT THE RICH SO HELP ME GOD!!!!

      • Jon says:

        I agree with you. My partner and I both have advanced degrees and stand to be hit with higher taxes….which is exactly what is needed! I have never understood why middle and low income people would possibly vote for Romney. Ask yourself: Does his history and policies (as changeable as they are) really spell support for middle income and low income people? Do people not understand what he very clearly stated about the 47% that he has written off? If you are wealthy and well off…and you JUST vote with money in mind….Romney is your man. However, if you are middle income or lower income—you had better vote for Obama!

      • Dontreal says:

        Yes he has done a lot for us and why take away our food stamps when we need them and we as african americans are already strugglen but is finding a lot of job oppertunity an openings so Yes !OBAMA! all the way I want to move Foward an only 19 years old and knowing this stuff…

        • Madd Davey says:

          Obama has had more job loss than any president execpt Carter. … Economic growth isnt done by the government its done by businesses. You start taxing the rich, the rich leave, then who gets stuck paying that tax? the middle class. You see its simple economics and math. I’ll give you another little math lesson lets say Obama taxes Walmart 15 percent more than what they pay now who do you think pays for that 15 percent? The consumers, meaning us the people. … Obama is the modern day Carter and we all know about the 70’s when he was in office. … I want better for my country its time we the people take back our country. Only way to do this is to vote for Romney and in four years when we have had enough of this Democratic/Republican nonsense, we don’t vote for anyone and demand we have a guy who will do what we say not tell us what we have or can do.

  11. Paige says:

    Romney’s main focus in his attempt to win the election is the economy and jobs. He has said that he is going to improve the economy and create jobs but has given no indication of how that would be done. He says he is going to create 12 million jobs in the next four years. However, economist and analysts have said that there will be 12 million jobs created in the next four years no matter who is president. If he is elected the middle class will be screwed and the rich will get richer.

  12. okay says:

    Are you guys kidding? Both Obama and Romney support the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act …At least Romney is way more financially responsible, whereas Obama is a financial mess, and he lies about almost everything!!!

  13. ed says:

    Get a life

  14. Justin says:

    Everybody that is for obama must be the stupidest people in the country. He’s a liar ‘just look at How he handled Sept.11 lybia’. Look at all the trillions we are in debt.

    • patty says:

      Everybody that votes for Willard are the stupidest people in the counrty!Look what he wants to do to the people!!! Obama inherited a debt from GB, that will take years to dig out of!! He got Bin Laden, and a long list Well Done! Republiecans were shocked and surprised at how well he handked foreign affairs!!!!

  15. bdog says:

    We need higher taxes. I own my own HVAC co., and I pay my share of taxes, but we need to keep programs in place that help the less fortunate. I was poor growing up my family struggled. We really could’ve used some help I haven’t been able to look at peanut butter and jelly and mac and cheese for 20 years. We live in America. No kid should go hungry or miss out on a chance for a higher education because he was born to the wrong parents. And that’s why I will vote democratic now and forever. Oh. and gays getting married doesn’t make me love my wife any less.

  16. Wyatt says:

    Obama is following the plan of Cloward & Piven, two
    professors at Columbia University.They outlined a plan to
    socialize America by overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands.

    Add up the clues below. Taken individually they’re alarming. Taken as
    a whole, it is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the
    United States into a Socialist/Marxist state with a permanent
    majority that desperately needs government for survival. They can be
    counted on to always vote for even bigger government. Why? They
    have no responsibility to pay for it.

    Is this the kind of future you want to leave your children?

    • patty says:

      You Mr. are crazy. You might make some believe that …, but not intelligent people. Yes, you belong to Willard!

      • Wyatt says:

        Well ….I would like the see more facts here than opinions.

        I would like to conduct an experiment.

        Take socialist democrats and Conservative Republicans. Place each group on an island for a year. Let’s see what happens.

        I bet some one will complain about this. It would make a great reality show

        • patty says:

          Fact check: look up Willards plan: Look up Obamas plan. You know, there wil never be an island, thats nonsense. And no reply from me anynore. IBAMA! 2012

  17. farah hashim says:

    God bless America and president Obama …

  18. Wyatt says:

    Mitt Romney will WIN the Presidential Election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • patty says:

      Well, Well, looks like what ivr been saying alalong was tight! Look at you lnow!

      • Wyatt says:

        I have been quiet since the election.
        I realize that a fundamental change has occurred in the United States of America.
        To All Socialist Democrats:
        I want your socialism to take hold and continue its track. I would like for you to have the majority in the House. You will then have no opposition. I want you to Give Give and Give. Oh and Tax Tax and Tax. You will need more loans so go max that out too. Wait print Money Money and More Money. We are all having fun now. We now have 500+ entitlement programs. Now let’s double it!!! Find as many minority groups you can and start a new entitlement for each. My family is from a 5 square mile island in the Atlantic…..I should qualify for something.
        Oh! Keep supporting this: Phoenix, Arizona. Last week an Arizona Superior Court Judge awarded (and I mean awarded) probation to a Muslim family who admitted to kidnapping, beating and trying to kill their nineteen-year-old daughter. Islamists rejoice! “Honor violence” is now officially sanctioned as part of the American culture.
        According to Maricopa County Prosecutors, in February 2012, Aiya Altameemi, a nineteen-year-old Muslim female was beaten, tied to her bed, burned with a hot spoon, stabbed in the neck and locked in her room by her family for her unwillingness to accept an arranged marriage to a 38-year-old Muslim man and speaking to a male classmate in public.
        Go on and grant amnesty to all illegals, (Let anyone and everyone invade our country.), Bring in Puerto Rico as a state…That’s a great investment, Extend unemployment indefinitely, come up with an “I don’t want to work bill.” That will be a hit! Wait! You need to pay for all the education of everyone …Undergrad. Grad and Doctoral….yes that is the ticket. Oh and pay for the living expenses while in school and after they are out looking for something to do. Stop all oil drilling, shut down the coal fired generators. Power your home with solar power, Go green……shed your sweatshop clothing for leaves, continue to demonize Wall Street and job creating corporations, (According to the latest Economic Freedom of the World report, America’s “Economic Freedom” ranking has tumbled from second place in 2000 to 18th place today.)
        Unionize every Federal, State, Public sector, and trade. Have more occupy Wall Street events, drive electric cars… get SUV’s off the road, eat dirt, Fire up the planet on Global Warming (Hot Topic), and change a full work week from the new thirty to let’s say twenty hours. Oh and lets double the amount of regulations. Since the election you only came up with over 6000 new ones. Let’s have 6000 more. Now we have government healthcare. The Government still owns a chunk of GM. Soon oil? Government needs to control-regulate-monitor…..Everything…….well it creates jobs!!! Oh and that money issue keeps coming up….you need to TAX the RICH!!! (President Barack Obama is lobbying business and labor groups to support $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue to avoid an impending fiscal cliff.)-BARROW (At last tally, the US had piled up a debt load totaling more than 100% of GDP…and this debt-load is increasing.) -PRINT….you need a new way…….OH …JUST TAKE IT……We got to share……Whatever it is..”You didn’t create that!” ….It always belonged to the Government. To businesses…..” You didn’t create that ether.”
        When you have taxed us all out and can’t barrow a dime from Peter to pay Paul and demonized all nonparty loyalist as racists, your World will come crashing down around you. YOU WILL REJOICE…….AMERICA IS DONE. What will you do?
        For the first time in your life you will be faced with the fact that you must take care of yourself. Government is not the answer. And for those that really need the help won’t be able to get it because you squandered all the resources having a good time giving it all away. The military will be so decimated that an invasion from another foreign power could be closer to the truth than you think. Especially when you default on all that barrowed money. You will call on God for his help.
        Here’s a basic dictionary definition of “socialism,” from Webster’s New World College Dictionary: Any of various theories or systems of the ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of the society or the community sharing in the work and the products.
        Webster identifies a liberal as: generous.
        In truth……I want nothing to do with the above……I want to help steer America in the right direction.
        We are on a course that is unsustainable. It will come crashing down. 47% of us receive some form of welfare from the government. As this number increases, so will taxes, debt, and the devaluation of the dollar. History doesn’t lie but the story teller does. History is reality. Few of you will listen.
        We have a choice: Let the socialist democrats have it all and let it fall or drag this out for years to come and pass this on for our children to endure.
        What say you??

  19. victor says:

    This election is life or death for our country. We need romney. We need to drill in alaska. We need to take away food stamps from people that abuse it. I’m tired of paying for someone who wants to do nothing. Just look on YouTube, there so many people who just doesn’t want to work. We should also not give a date when we are going to get out of afhganistan. All they’re going to do is wait and the attack us again. There’s so much more why we need Romney……….. Romney 2012

  20. victor says:

    Oh yeah. I just for got people chant Obama’s name. That’s basically worshiping him… With Romney, people are say USA USA USA. Republicans don’t worship nor chant someones name. Romney 2012

  21. Jon says:

    Regardless of winner….strong Americans begin working together. Both Romney and Obama are good men.

  22. Agen Bola says:

    Leave it to GOP fantasy to imagine-away thousands of human beings. It makes me even happier to know they lost.

  23. Hopefully no more children will be hurt in Syria.

    • patty says:

      The world is a mess. This is scary and i only hope God be with the innocent. The Bible says there will always be wars. This is an old article. Just thought i’d reply. Pray for this world and our leaders. Hopefully this is the right decision. I feel so bad for all the innocent people. _

Jim Malone

Jim Malone

After a stint in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Jim joined VOA in 1983 as a reporter and anchor on English broadcasts to Africa.  He served as East Africa correspondent, then covered Congress in the early 1990’s.   Since 1995, Jim has served as VOA national correspondent responsible for coverage of U.S. politics, elections, the Supreme Court and Justice Department.  Jim has been involved in VOA’s election coverage since the 1984 presidential campaign and has co-anchored live VOA broadcasts of numerous national political conventions, candidate debates and election night coverage.


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