Regardless of who the Republican nominee for President is in 2012, the margin between Obama and the GOP hopeful will be too-close for comfort. This analysis assumes that by late 2012 unemployment drops (slightly) and the MSM pushes the narrative that the economy is back, baby! Regardless of whether or not the private sector is truly hiring again or not, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopolous will be smiling on TV day and night to convince viewers that happy days are here again and we have Obama to thank. This analysis also assumes that, short of murdering someone on live television, Obama can do no wrong and, even if he is found naked with Kal Penn Modi in the Lincoln bedroom, Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie will be right there to ignore it with their move along! nothing to see here smiles. The only way a GOP candidate can overcome these obstacles is by being a demonstrably superior candidate to Obama on the campaign trail and in the televised debates.
With these assumptions in mind, the best case scenario for the Republican hopeful in electoral college terms is 271-267. In the ’08 election Obama hauled in 365 electoral votes to McCain’s 173. But there were a handful of traditionally Republican strongholds that went Obama’s way by a 6% margin or less. These states include (electoral votes in parenthesis): Florida (29), Indiana (11), North Carolina (15), and Virginia (13). All four states went Republican in ’04, and Obama won Florida by 2.8%, Indiana by 1%, North Carolina by 0.33% , and Virginia by 6%. Hope and Change won’t be makin’ a comeback in these contests. At 1AM, Eastern Standard Time on May 27, 2011, we’re predicting Obama will lose these four states in 2012 to whomever his Republican challenger is.
But, just to let you know how rough the map is, even with those significant wins, if the electoral map remained otherwise unchanged from ’08, Obama would still have a 291-247 edge.
There aren’t too many states remaining on the map, waiting to be turned red and move the Republican nominee to the magic number of 270. But there are two likely possibilities: Iowa (6) and Ohio (18). So, take whoever your dream candidate is and ask yourself, ‘Could this person win in Iowa AND Ohio in November 2012?’ How confident are you? The 2010 midterm elections would be an encouraging sign for Republican chances in those two states, as the (R)’s had big wins at the senate and gubernatorial levels in both states. Our recommendation: the GOP candidate better make sure the Tea Parties in those two states bring their A game.
Here’s some food for thought: New Jersey has 14 electoral votes in a state that typically goes blue. Those votes would come in REAL handy in a close election, but even if the rock star of the GOP, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, was the Republican nominee, there’s no guarantee at all he’d win his own state. In fact, while he’d come closer to winning Jersey than any other (R), the house money is he’d still lose the state to Obama.
NOTE: Colorado and New Mexico, which went to Obama in ’08, went to Bush in ’04, but we suspect they’ll remain in Obama’s hands in 2012.
AND A SPECIAL NOTE TO REPUBLICANS: You better make sure you hold on to Missouri and Montana. In ’08 McCain won those red states by 0.13% and 2%, respectively.