Election Preview: 270 Needed to win
RealClearPolitics Map: Obama 201; Romney 191
This map shows the closest race possible, but it leaves too much to the imagination. It puts every state that polling is within 5 points as a tossup. A 5 point gap is next to impossible to overcome. Nate Silver today said that the odds of overcoming a 3 point deficit is 21 percent whether is be elections or 4th quarter NFL football. A 5 point difference is going to be even less than that.
So Let's narrow it down a bit.
Here are the Washington Post and New York Times Maps: Obama 243 (237), Romney 216
The only difference between these two maps is: Nevada and its 6 electoral votes. Nevada is 4+ points towards Obama, so that really is not a tossup either. Romney has not lead in a poll in Nevada all year. It is unlikely that he will pull it off in a week. So let's go with the 247 to 216 count.
Romney has two real paths to victory, in order of least to most likely:
He needs to win Florida and Virginia, period. He is up in Florida by a point or two and dead even in Virginia. If he can't hold onto both these states, then it is going to be an early election night.
1. Ohio with its 18 electoral votes.
2. Two of the following three: Colorado, Wisconsin, or Iowa + NH. For a range of 19 to 20 electoral votes.
That leaves Obama with 4 routes to victory, in order of least to most likely:
1. Florida - Obama trails by a point of two in Florida, but if he wins it then it is all over as Florida has 29 electoral votes.
2. The Small Mix (IA, NH, VA, and CO) - He needs to win 3 out of 4 small swing states. He is a point behind to a couple points ahead in almost all of these places. Total electoral votes: 23 to 28.
3. Ohio+ - Obama could win Ohio, where is 2+ points up, and a handful of other states. Ohio (18) plus one of the following: WI (10), VA (13), IA (6), CO (9). Total electoral votes: 24 to 31.
4. Wisconsin+ - Obama could win a combination of Wisconsin, where he is 3+ points up, plus a handful of small states or Ohio. WI (10) plus one of the following: OH (18), VA (13), NH and CO (13), CO and IA (15). Total Electoral votes: 23 to 28.
Obama range: 243 to 332.
Romney range: 216 to 295.
My Prediction: Obama 294, Romney 244
Fun fact: There are a lot of scenarios where NH's 4 electoral votes just do not matter.