The 2012 Presidential elections are coming fast and I’m getting more and more excited every day. One place I find myself spending hours a week is at Real Clear Politics. I love the polls, maps, graphs, and charts they produce. It’s probably the most comprehensive political database I’ve seen.
My favorite thing on the site, is the electoral map that it updates. On the site you can click on each state and it will give you the results of recent Presidential polls in the state. They average the polls to give you a really good idea of where these elections are headed.
Here is a screenshot of the current map:
The magic number needed for a win is 270. As you can see, President Obama potentially holds a slight lead over Romney, but with many important battleground states up for grabs- including Ohio, Florida, and Michigan- this election could be swayed in any direction.
To give you a point of reference, this is how the 2008 Obama/McCain electoral map turned out:
TOTAL: OBAMA: 365 MCCAIN: 173
President Obama won this election by a seeming landslide. However, he only won the popular vote by about 10 million votes, or about 5%.
The race of 2012 is looking to be much closer. I expect Governor Romney will be able to flip a few of the states that President Obama won in 2008. The question is- how many? And will it be enough?
I went through and looked at how each state has been polling recently and used the Real Clear Politics average to decide who had the edge in each toss-up state. I filled in my own electoral college map with the current poll standings, with exception to one state- Ohio. This is always a crucial battleground state and although the average shows Obama with a slight lead, the most recent polls show Romney winning. So just to make it interesting, I marked Ohio as a being red.
This is how it looks:
My analysis is that things are obviously not going to be as easy for the President this time around. It looks like he has a good chance of losing the following states that he won in 2008:
and possibly, Ohio
Those are some pretty big states to lose, especially Ohio and Florida. It seems like those two states have been the deciding factors in the past two or three elections.
However, in spite of the not so positive forecast for Obama, he still holds a lead. Romney really does have a steep hill to climb. Not only does he need to flip the states aforementioned, but he would probably need to flip at least two more to win. Obama could still win the election despite losing the biggest battleground states in play.
Romney will probably need to win any two of Colorado, Nevada, or New Mexico.
Another interesting scenario would be if Romney could muster out a victory in Wisconsin, where voters recently re-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker after they pushed a recall election. This would give both nominees a total of 269 votes- both 1 vote short of a win.
No matter how you look at it, this election looks to be interesting no matter which horse you have in the race.