The Washington Posts resident tame "conservative" i.e. Romneyite, Jennifer Rubin peers into the crystal ball and advises that all Romney has to do is to win a few key states and presto, he is president!;
"The electoral map reveals how perilous is President Obama’s grip on the White House. Let’s start, as RealClearPolitics does, with a base of 170 electoral votes for Mitt Romney. It’s hard to imagine that Obama could win any of even the less-red states that comprise that batch (e.g. Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, Montana). To get 100 more and seize the presidency, Romney only needs some states that routinely went Republican before the 2008 race (Nevada, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia) and needs to hold on to a few that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) managed to win (Arizona, Missouri). This gets Romney to 273."
In the real world PPP Polling questions if Colorado can even be considered a swing state, with Obama currently 13 points ahead, and the state trending Hispanic.Obama leads by eight in Virginia and is in the lead in some polls even in North Carolina. If Obama wins any of Florida (where he leads romney 50-45 a higher margin than he had against McCain)/Virginia/North Carolina/Ohio he is re-elected whereas Romney needs them all. He doesn't even need Colorado, or in the unlikely event that he loses Nevada, Colorado alone would put him over the top with Virginia in the bag.
I wrote the article below the stars (sic) on March 22nd and since then, according the latest finding of PPP Polling, which has been remarkably accurate during the primary campaign, things are looking even worse for the GOP for 2012.
The standard caveats apply of course i.e. that a massive economic or geopolitical event occurs between now and November which could alter everything. However as things stand I could not see an Electoral College path to victory for the Republicans in March, and I believe it is even more difficult for them now.
PPP asks "is Colorado a swing state"? Considering the 2008 election result and current polls/demographics there, the answer looks to be decidedly "no". Virginia is also polling well for President Obama, and the latest information from North Carolina, which he won in 2008, reinforces the negative outlook for the GOP. If the combined S.Carolina and Colorado 24 EC votes are added to Obama's column, then even in the unlikely event of Romney winning Pennsylvania the president would still be re-elected. 2016 looks a bit more promising for the GOP frankly and 2020 is probably more realistic.
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 of, 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, if that were the case, could choose the winner. There is an outside possibility that this scenario could play out in 2012/2016 in the very unlikely event of a tied EC election. More likely, the GOP may have to wait for the next census in 2020 to get the presidency back all things considered.