Obama Likely Will Lose in 2012
We'll begin with the 2008 results adjusted for the post-Census reapportionment. I think we can all agree that this is a baseline -- the chances that Obama will win more electoral votes than he did three years ago is zero. Then we'll begin with what I think are fairly obvious adjustments -- we'll give the Republicans back the electoral vote they lost in Nebraska along with Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia -- traditionally Republican states that he carried last time through a special magic the like of which we are not likely to see again.
Let's work from this base of 219 electoral votes and assume that the following states are potential battlegrounds in 2012: Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Florida. We'll throw in Maine and New Jersey as stretch states as well. This gives the Republican nominee an almost absurd number of paths to the White House:
Perhaps the most obvious one, in that it resembles the 2000 and 2004 battlefields most heavily, is that a Republican could win by taking just Florida, Ohio, and Nevada from that list of states.
Or, even, they could tie it -- and win in a Republican-controlled House -- by taking Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin from the rust belt and Nevada in the West.
Alternatively, they could win without taking a single rust-belt state by winning in Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, and New Hampshire.
Another odd-looking way of doing it would be to take Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, and Oregon.
More simply, working from this base, Obama has to take 2/3 of the electoral votes in battleground states -- a tall order even for ordinary times.
Comment: Cool interactive electoral map (screen shot above): 270towin.com