Election 2012: September 13th edition
In case I never told you before, I am a numbers guy.
And the nice thing about being a numbers guy is that I seldom get excited until the numbers tell me to get excited.
And I have to tell you with regards to the 2012 Presidential election: there's no need to get excited (in a negative sense) yet.
I know, I know: this advice is contrary to what the "news" reports would have you believe. And who am I to question the all-knowing media?
Well, like I said, I'm a numbers guy. And I don't see "despair" in the current numbers. So let's go to the numbers, shall we?
* Biggest thing to keep in mind: Obama has a big electoral vote foundation from which to build his 2012 campaign. He won 28 states plus DC in 2008. And he doesn't have to defend all those states--just enough to get to 270 electoral votes (EVs). And if I was a lazy person, I would say that he has SO MUCH margin for error that there's no way Romney can overcome the challenge. Fortunately, I am not a lazy person. (well, not today. . .or at least not on this topic)
* Next thing to keep in mind: the Presidency is not a nationwide popularity contest. The President is determined on a state-by-state basis. Most states give all their EVs to the candidate that wins the state's popular vote; Maine and Nebraska are the exceptions and their votes likely will not be "split" unless Romney either wins Maine (unlikely) or is able to win over the majority of the state that is not in the Portland-Augusta corridor (more likely than the other scenario, but not all that likely in itself). Nebraska is unlikely to yield an EV for Obama; the state is represented by 3 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, and all 3 of those folks won their election in 2010 with at least 60% of the vote in their Congressional district. For the sake of keeping this simple, let's assume that Maine and Nebraska's EVs go 100% to the candidate that wins the popular vote in the state.
* Due to the 2010 census, electoral votes have shifted in accordance with population changes. If the state-by-state Presidential results of 2008 are repeated in 2012, Obama would actually lose 6 electoral votes. Now since he captured 364 EVs in 2008, obviously he would still win in 2012 in that scenario. . .but the important thing is that the population shift works mostly in Romney's favor. Assuming Romney wins all the same states that McCain won, his "foundation" is 180 EVs. So he needs to peel off 90 EVs from Obama's 2008 column to win in November.
* So now to the crux of the matter: where does Romney get 90 votes from Obama's 2008 column? I'll tell you that the states that need to be targeted by Romney's camp are the following: Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina. Right now all those states are classic "toss-ups"; if he wins those states and holds the rest of McCain's map, he wins 282 EVs--and the Presidency. Heck, he could actually lose any one of the three smaller states on that list (Iowa, Wisconsin, or Indiana) and still get the White House.
* How likely is it that any of the above states flip to Romney? Keeping in mind that the campaign season is actually far from complete (I know, it seems like it's gone on forever already!), Indiana and even North Carolina look like pick-ups for Romney. If that guess holds through November, a Romney victory requires the GOP to win either Iowa or Wisconsin, and all of the following states: Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.
* There's a reason the convention was in Tampa, don't you think? Or that R&R hit that state hard to overcome the all-too-foreseeable Mediscare tactics from the left? There's also a reason that Ryan is on the ticket--not just that he's a darn fine public servant and a smart guy on the economy, but also he "belongs" in Wisconsin. . .say, at a Packers game on a Thursday night when the hated Bears roll into town.
* Important fact: all the states listed above except North Carolina have Republican governors (and Gov Perdue is so unpopular in NC that the Dem candidate to replace her is down comfortably to the Republican candidate for the Governor's mansion). Kasich in Ohio and McDonnell in VA are really popular and they've done some good work for their constituents; I'd look for them to put that popularity on the line and campaign hard for Romney. Both states have big Senate elections, too--where it just so happens the Dem candidate for the Senate is either remarkably liberal (Brown in Ohio) or closely linked to everything "Democrat" from the first two years of the Obama Presidency (Kaine in VA; he was the Chair of the DNC from '09 to April '11--you know, when Obamacare was served up to the American people like a hot poker just waiting to mess up your insides). Walker's recent recall victory in WI won't hurt much in that state, either.
* NOT EVEN MENTIONED in the above scenarios are other states currently discussed as "toss-ups": Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire. There's 19 EVs in those three states; while I don't think my beloved CO will come back to the GOP this time around, I definitely think Nevada (and its chronic 12-plus percent unemployment and 6 Electoral Votes) is in play. I don't know enough about NH to make even a wild guess; I will only point out that every little bit helps.
So is there reason to be giddy? No, not really. . .but the purpose of this post isn't to make you "giddy." It's to keep you from despair, and to ensure you know the "how" of a Romney victory. When you break it down by states, and then take a hard look at the GOP situation in those states. . .things aren't nearly as bad as some want you to believe.
Take heart in that. . .and then pick up the phone and talk to folks where it matters most!