Can The GOP Overcome Its Electoral College Difficulties? A Ten Year Gap May Await
Regardless of who the Republican candidate is they face an extremely difficult challenge in the Electoral College.
At this point in time the challenge appears insurmountable. Unless there is an economic crisis or some other unforeseen event which, like the Lehman brothers collapse makes an irreversible shift in public opinion it would appear that President Obama has a much easier road to election than does his GOP counterpart.
Even with the demographic changes seen after the last census which shifted a number of electoral votes from the blue states to the red-a net gain of six electoral votes to the GOP effectively the electoral map puts the Republicans at a disadvantage.
Basically the Democrat's Northeastern and West Coast states equals the GOP's Midwestern and Southern ones.The liberal quartet of Minnesota/Illinois/Michigan/Wisconsin providing the trump cards for President Obama.
The map below tells the story;
Here in a prospective 2012 result, the GOP has won all, except Virginia/Nevada/New Mexico, the key states it lost to Obama in 2008;
GOP wins in;
Ohio/North Carolina/Florida/Indiana/Iowa/Colorado are illustrated, and still President Obama would be re-elected.Virginia went solidly for Obama in 2008 by a margin of 52.6 to 46.3 over McCain. Current polling has him with a substantial lead over all the current GOP candidates (50 to 42 over Romney). If Virginia is lost it is hard to see how the Republicans can win in 2012.
If demographics means that Virginia has permanently, except for landslides, flipped from red to blue, the options open to the GOP are few.
1.They could nominate a Mormon/Hispanic team. That would possibly ensure Florida is in the bag, but the map has accounted for that prospect. It might assist in Nevada and New Mexico but surely most Mormon voters there would have voted for McCain? Would the addition of e.g. Rubio overcome the substantial margins Obama rolled up in Nevada 55.1 to 42.6 or New Mexico 56.9 to 41.7? It seems unlikely.
2. An evangelicals swing to the GOP in numbers has also been accounted for by giving Iowa, and the one EC vote Obama won in Nebraska, to the Republican total, and still Obama would win in the Electoral College.
3. Absent a third party spoiler on the left, as was the case in 2000 when Bush won it, it is difficult to see New Hampshire swinging to the right.
4. Demographics. This appears to be the Republicans best hope. After the next census if there is a continued move to the Southern area and the move doesn't shift any red state to blue e.g. South Carolina or Georgia, then the assignment of only a net two further EC votes to the red states would give the GOP victory, presuming they win the states on the map below at that election.
Even a shift of one electoral vote in the next census would mean a tie, on current analysis, with the election being thrown into the House where a Republican majority of states could choose the winner. But this may not happen in 2012 (although it is possible) and the GOP may have to wait for the next census in 2020 to get the presidency back.