The map above has an Obama victory, but let me make this clear: Anything can happen on Tuesday night.
This is still anyone’s election. Factors like the weather, final day Get Out the Vote operations, and problems at polling sites could swing the election either way in certain key states.
The race is close, and a Romney win is plausible, but I have to predict that the President will be reelected. The electoral math for Romney gets difficult if Obama wins one or two key states.
Let’s look at the states that are worth watching on Tuesday night:
Fake Swing States: Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Arizona, and, yes, Michigan
Let me make this as clear as possible: Michigan is not a swing state. Even Bloomfield Hills native Mitt Romney decided mid-way through the election that it was unwinnable. It will go blue Monday night. We will see something similar in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, where polls are close but strong state parties and elections history should keep those states blue. We see the opposite in Arizona, which is close but ultimately has little chance of being an Obama victory.
With that said, if Romney pulls off an upset in any of these states, expect him to win a few key swing states too.
The East Coast: Virginia, North Carolina, and New Hampshire
Virginia and North Carolina are the states to watch after the first polls close at 8:00pm Eastern. If Romney wants to win, he really needs to put at least one of these states in the red column. They have a lot of votes, and should provide some information about what the trends might be nationally. Ultimately, a split would be fine for Obama, and I think that that’s what will happen. Obama should win Virginia on the strength of liberal northern Virginia, putting him in good position for the night.
New Hampshire is pretty close, but a strong Democratic base should keep it blue. If Romney wins, it will probably show a larger national trend of low Obama turnout.
The Midwest and Out West: Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada
All four of these states are close, and should be considered in two sets. The winner of Wisconsin or Iowa likely takes both states, this is slightly less true with the Western states. If the election goes as smoothly as Obama would like, he will only need one out of these four states to pull off a victory. A Midwestern sweep might seal an Obama victory.
Finally, the big ones: Ohio and Florida
If Romney loses Florida, the election is over. Romney cannot win without those 29 votes. I do think he will get them, but I can’t see him sweeping the larger swing states. Obama winning Ohio wouldn’t be the end of the world for Romney, but it would require him to sweep the East Coast to get to 270. If Florida goes Romney and Ohio goes Obama, it means that everything is still going according to plan for the Obama team, and they should pick up at least a couple of the swing states in the previous section, which would make the path to 270 pretty smooth.
Sorry Mitt, but I just don’t think its happening this year.
Map courtesy of Real Clear Politics.