Electoral College Math: Why The Election Is Romney’s To Lose

If the presidential election were held today, all the polls indicate that President Obama would win re-election, albeit not by much. But of course the election isn’t being held today and there are 11 states classified as “toss-ups” on the Electoral College Map. And even if you concede the president 221 electoral votes in the other 39, that still leaves 49 electoral votes to go. And the road to those is anything but easy.

Even a reasonably good campaign by Mitt Romney is going to tip several key states Republican

The eleven states that are currently classified as toss-ups are the following: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The reason Obama is the favorite is that he’s hold narrow leads in 10 of the 11 (Missouri being the exception). But when a margin is only 2-3 points this far from Election Day it’s nothing a credible campaign can’t turn around. And whatever one thinks of Mitt Romney on policy, I think he runs a reasonably efficient campaign.

We can concede that Obama, a more than efficient campaigner himself can probably hold his leads in Colorado and New Hampshire, the latter being a state that’s become more reliably blue as extreme liberals who first messed up Boston are doing the honorable thing and fleeing the city (please note the sarcasm) and now doing the same to the Granite State. Wins in these two states nudge Obama to 234 electoral votes.

Five states represent prime areas for Romney to flip, and those are North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Virginia and, to a lesser extent Nevada. The first four were won by Obama in 2008, however I don’t think what happened in ’08 is a credible guide to this November. The Republican base was demoralized then and independents much more likely to give Obama every benefit of the doubt. The first four of these states are usually part of a Republican coalition and I think if Romney doesn’t win them he has only his own campaign and/or debate performance to blame. Nevada’s a little more up for grabs, but besides 2008, the only other times it’s gone Democratic in recent years are for Bill Clinton. I don’t believe the current president’s position is as strong as Clinton’s was in 1992 & 1996 and therefore consider it a prime Romney target.

So Obama still needs to come up with 36 more electoral votes and only four states are left on the board: Ohio, Michigan, Iowa & Wisconsin. As a resident of the latter state this fills me with dread, as I won’t be able to watch the baseball playoffs or football without being bombarded with an array of ads. Indeed, the presidential version of the Big Ten race is going to be hotter than the chase for the Rose Bowl this fall. And while Obama leads in the polls in all four, if my above scenario holds, there’s no room for error.

Even if the president swept Ohio and Michigan he would still be two electoral votes shy and need to split Iowa and Wisconsin. We already saw the Badger State go strongly for Governor Scott Walker in this June’s recall election. While much of that had to do with animosity against the idea of the recall itself and Obama led exit polling conducted on the recall day, we also know that the exit polls understated Walker’s vote. Why wouldn’t they have understated Romney’s? And with momentum often being such a big consideration in politics, it’s all on the Republican side in this state.

The latest economic report bodes ill for any incumbent in states like Michigan & Ohio

Furthermore, there is no reason to concede that Obama will win both Ohio and Michigan. Ohio is another state that slightly leans Republican, so long as a credible campaign is waged. And while Michigan leans Democratic, the fact Romney’s father was a well-liked governor there will give him a better chance than most GOP candidates. And the weak numbers on manufacturing jobs are going to hurt Obama more here than in other states. I think the safe assumption is to guess a split happens here, which means the president. And guess what? Wisconsin and Iowa are worth 16 votes combined, so even if Obama won both, it wouldn’t get him over the top if he splits Michigan/Ohio.

So let’s sum it up—if Romney turns 2-3 point polling deficits into leads in traditionally Republican states of North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Virginia and Nevada and splits Michigan and Ohio, he’s almost certain to win the presidency. And I contend the present political landscape makes it likely that any Republican candidate waging a competent campaign would pull that off. That’s why in spite of the polls I consider this election Mitt Romney’s to   lose.

Dan Flaherty is the author of Fulcrum, an Irish Catholic novel set in postwar Boston with a traditional Democratic mayoral campaign at its heart, and he is the editor-in-chief of TheSportsNotebook.com.



  • Norm

    Its cute how fRaNkLiN thinks that the largest tax raise in history is good for Americans, how forcing Americans to buy private goods is a good thing, how a law that violates the rights of individuals to practice their religion is a good thing.

    Obamacare is a huge tax increase that Americans cannot afford at this time. It is a huge liability in the midst of increasing federal debt. It will put a huge strain on the healthcare system as the ratio of patients covered to skilled doctors increases. Most of all, it another ploy to increase the size of government as we heard today about the increases that the IRS will have to make in order to bully people into paying these extra taxes, and bigger government is never good for the right to life, personal liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  • poor pitiful me

    And if he loses with all those millions of dollars stashed away in all those offshore accounts, he can go on permanent vacation in that $8 million Shangra-La he owns in New Hampshire (or any of the other multimillion homes he owns). Poor guy.

    • whart

      If he loses, millions more un-born children will die at tax-payer expense, both here and around the world.

      • warts and all

        And if he wins, how many of the unborn will be saved? How many millions were saved under Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II? Even with the Supreme Court stacked with Republican appointments and both houses of congress, too? And what about Romney’s pro-abortion record as Governor of MA? Will you still vote for him if he chooses pro-abort Condi Rice as his VP candidate, which is wife says he is seriously considering. For my two cents, more women will opt not to choose abortion with Obama as president than under Romney who is the big daddy of Obamneycare. That’s right, Obamneycare

        • whart

          Many millions would be saved if Romney wins. One of the first actions he has pledged will be to re-instate the Mexico-City policy which prevents the use of tax-payer/federal funds for abortion.

  • Joannie

    Dan, I have a simple question to ask you. Do you honestly think that that Mitt Romney is going to give us any kind of improvement if he were to beat Obama in November? The answer is most likely NO. We all Romney is a notorious flip-flopper on the issues and as far as being so pro-life, family and marriage, we will have to just wait and see. First comes the convention in Tampa and then let’s just take it from there. I don’t think there is any real interest or enthusiasm for either like in 2008 when John McCain was on the ticket. He brought Sara Palin over to get him some support but it was not enough. To me they will both continue the same policies (remember Romney Care). There needs to be real Change in America not just slogans. He is the lesser of two evils but he is still not the best.

    • Milissa

      Joannie-here is a simple question for you: What pray tell is the difference between ‘flip flopping’ and “evolving”? While I agree that Romney is less than ideal as a candidate, B.O. has to be stopped. His socialistic, class warfare rhetoric does nothing to help our Republic. I may well sit out the top election choice unless Romney has the where withal to choose an excellent veep. But Obama must be stopped before he has the chance to finish destroying our Country.

      • Consistent

        Milissa, according to Romney’s wife, he is considering Condoleeza Rice, who is pro-abortion rights, as his selection for VP. Why are you even considering voting for him if he is so much as considering her as VP?

  • Randall

    Romney will win if only he sticks to the narrative and doesn’t flinch! Obama is a Marxist Stalinist Muslim Kenyan who wants to impose sharia law and socialism on the entire country, legalize gay marriage, and copy China’s “you’ll have exactly one child when we say you can” policy with forced abortions for those who don’t comply.

  • Dr. J

    If only the Catholic Bishops have a couple more Republican Fortnight for Freedom election campaigns we’ll be good to go…

  • Joe M

    A lot of Obama’s positive leads are skewed by registered voter polls. Many likely voter polls are less positive or going the other direction. — I think that the debates could be the deciding factor this year. Obama has a lot to answer for and hasn’t really been confronted often with tough questions. I believe that will play out badly for him on the debate stage.

    • fRaNkLiN

      Obamacare has suffered from a campaign against it that relied on Republican’s (false) accusations that it was unconstitutional. Now that it has been declared Constitutional, those people just look like morons. Once people start realizing how the law protects Americans by forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, providing insurance exchanges to reduce costs to consumers, and allowing minors to get insurance under their parents plans while in college, and reducing the exorbitant costs that uninsured people are charging to our healthcare system, then things will change. There are many benefits to this law, and eventually people will understand that this law is good for all Americans.

      • ALICE

        Once people see that Obamacare discriminates between classes of citizens, plays favorites (with the drug companies and the unions etc.)it will not survive the test of time.

      • whart

        Good for America?
        1. 21 new taxes hidden in the HC Law.
        2. Tax increases will cost 675 billion dollars.
        3. At least 12 of the new taxes will be on families making less than 250K per year
        4. 500 billion has been cut out of Medicare
        5. IRS is hiring 3000 new agents! I know good news, huh? But, they are being hired to enforce all the new taxes in the HC law!
        6. Remember that famous line ‘if you like your health care plan you can keep it? No, not really.
        7. Remember that line, if you like your doctor you can keep seeing him? No, not really.
        8. I could go on – but it makes me sick and I’m afraid this sickness isn’t covered under Obama Care.

      • AC1

        Please remember that several times in the past the SCOTUS has decided things to be legal or constitutional that in later years were recognized as not. Specifically ‘Seperate but Equal’ comes to mind which was not just a segregation but a Legal Requirement for such segregation.

        As to the specifics of the ACA, I’m surprised that the very people who want the gov’t out of our bedrooms and drug store purchases, invite that same gov’t into our medical exam rooms. >shrugg< consistancy has never been a human strong point.



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