Let’s set aside President Obama’s dismal overall approval ratings for a moment. Right now, he’s averaging about 43% in all polls combined according to RCP averages. He’s hit a low of 38% in Gallup, and even CBS and The New York Times finally had to report all time lows for Mr. Obama. Let’s set aside 9.1% unemployment and his seemingly incessant need to double down on failed big government, socialist style economic policies. The bottom line is he still has to gain 270 electoral college votes to win the Presidency for a second term.
In 2008 Barack Obama flipped 9 states that had previously gone red for George W. Bush in 2004. Of those 9 states, all but 2 had gone for Bush in 2000. A remarkable feat indeed, but not likely to happen in 2012. It should be no surprise that of the 9 states in question, the only one’s that are now casting Obama in a somewhat favorable light are New Mexico and Iowa. Both considered toss up states in every Presidential election, the trend will likely continue in 2012. My best guess is that Iowa will go Republican this next year. New Mexico, who knows?
Obama’s got major problems in Florida and Ohio, the two decisive states in the two past elections respectively. He somewhat astonishingly flipped two “southern” states in Virginia and North Carolina last time but both of those states have somewhat stabilized and appear ready to go back into the red column. You can throw Indiana into that category as well. It’s not likely to remain in Obama’s column in this upcoming election.
He automatically loses a few votes due to redistricting and the outcome of the 2010 census. Not necessarily a big deal, but if the election were close, every electoral college vote is huge (never forget 2000). If you assume that the states mentioned above will move back into the red column simply because they don’t have the “hope and change” factor to keep them blue, It takes Obama’s total of 365 electoral college votes down to 266 (including electoral college adjustments due to the census), he loses.
This isn’t even taking into consideration a state like Nevada that went for Bush in 2000 and 2004 that has the nation’s highest unemployment rate and nearly sent Harry Reid packing last November. A very good candidate to flip back into the red column. Let’s assume they do. The road keeps getting tougher for Obama.
How about a battleground states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and even Wisconsin? Pennsylvania like most other states are right now giving Obama poor re-elect numbers; but Pennsylvania, for whatever reason continues to find itself in the blue column. I’m going to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he retains that state mainly because of the urban voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Colorado is one of the states included in the initial 9 that I talked about. They, like Nevada are a very good candidate to flip back red. Wisconsin is giving Obama lower approvals than he’s like, but he’s likely to retain that state as well. They haven’t voted Republican since Reagan was on the ballot. Let’s just assume that Obama holds the Northeast, the West Coast, and Midwest states like Michigan and Wisconsin, he still needs to “steal” a large portion of the 9 that he took in 2008. Even assuming he wins New Mexico and holds Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he’s still has a major electoral college problem.
You can seen my calculated electoral college map for 2012 here based on current conditions.