Barring a disputed count in a decisive state, by this time next week we will know who is going to be President of these United States for the next four years. I believe Romney is ahead, probably between 3-5 points, with Republican enthusiasm greater than Democrat enthusiasm giving him an additional edge. In this post we will look at the several paths to victory for Romney.
I take it as a given that Romney starts with a base of 257 electoral votes. This includes Colorado where the Republicans have the advantage in early voting, and in party affiliation. The other states are all of the West except Nevada and New Mexico, all of the Great Plains states, all of the Old Confederacy, Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Indiana and Alaska. Romney is only 13 electoral votes shy from a 270 majority, or 12 votes shy of an electoral vote tie, which would have him almost certainly voted in by the new House, with control of the Senate determining who the Senate would choose as Veep.
Here are the potential paths to victory for Romney which I see:
1. Ohio-18 electoral votes.
2. Pennsylvania-20 electoral votes.
3. Michigan -16 electoral votes
4. Wisconsin-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire -4 electoral votes
5. Minnesota-10 electoral votes with New Hampshire-4 electoral votes
6. Iowa-6 electoral votes-New Hampshire-4 electoral votes-Nevada-6 electoral votes
7. Iowa-6 electoral votes-Nevada-6 electoral votes-Maine Second Congressional District-1 electoral vote
8. Oregon-7 electoral votes-New Hampshire 4 electoral votes
9. Oregon-7 electoral votes-Iowa 6 electoral votes
10. Oregon-7 electoral votes-Nevada 6 electoral votes
New Hampshire I think is close to being a given for Romney. If Romney wins Ohio, Pennsylvania or Michigan he wins with no further states needed. With New Hampshire, Wisconsin or Minnesota can be Kingmaker states. If Romney loses all of the above states except New Hampshire, he still has a path to victory with Iowa and Nevada or Oregon.
A look at the individual states:
1. Ohio-Romney has been closing strong in Ohio and I expect him to take it and win the election as a result.
2. Pennsylvania-Probably the most difficult state for Romney on the list, except for Oregon. However, in coal country in Western Pennsylvania Obama is as popular as the bubonic plague and Romney should be much stronger than either McCain or Bush the Younger in the Philadelphia suburbs. If Pennsylvania is close that will be a sign that it is going to be a very good night for Romney.
3. Michigan-Team Obama is very worried about the Wolverine State, as indicated by their buying air time for ads in Detroit. I doubt if the Obama campaign strategists, in their wildest nightmares, imagined they would be buying TV ad space in Detroit a week before the election. Romney has been closing fast, and I expect him to take Michigan.
4. Wisconsin and New Hampshire-Wisconsin was close in 2004 and is tied up now. I expect Romney, with a great assist from home boy Paul Ryan, my mother-in-law’s Congressman, to take the Badger State. New Hampshire I think is close to being a given for Romney, and I think he currently is ahead by two to three points. Note that Iowa, Nevada or Oregon, if they fall to Romney, could substitute for New Hampshire in this scenario.
5. Minnesota and New Hampshire-Yep, hard to believe but the uber liberal state of Minnesota, which hasn’t gone Republican on the presidential level since 1972, four decades ago, is definitely in play.
The most recent poll we have from Minnesota shows it 47-44:
Two things about the above poll. First, it is a Star-Tribune poll and they have a notorious history of greatly exaggerating Democrat numbers in their polls.
Second, for an incumbent Democrat President to be at 47 a week out from the election in Minnesota, a state almost any Democrat should run away with, is a definite warning sign that Obama is in trouble in this state, since most of the remaining undecideds should break for Romney.
6. Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire Things are looking very good for Romney in Iowa. The last poll showed him just one down, and the entire state was shocked when the liberal Des Moines Register endorsed him. I think Romney will take Iowa by a good margin. Nevada is a harder nut to crack for Romney with the big service employee unions in Las Vegas being solidly for Obama along with the growing Hispanic population. However, Nevada also has a large Mormon population that will vote overwhelmingly, and enthusiastically, for Romney. Too close to call.
7. Maine-Second Congressional District, Nevada and Iowa-How handy one electoral vote can be! I expect Romney to take it.
8. Oregon and New Hampshire-Oregon is a long shot for Romney, but perhaps doable. In this Blue State, Obama is simply unable to get above 47%. Unlikely to go Romney, but definitely possible.
Romney has multiple viable pathways to victory, a sure sign of a winning Presidential campaign.