It's far too early to be making any predictions on the coming Obama/Romney matchup...unless you're Chris Cilizza at the WAPO and have a deadline and an editor breathing down your neck. Then you might come up with a piece with the title "Mitt Romney’s road to presidency this fall looks narrow on electoral map" :
It’s no secret that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has a narrow path to win the presidency this fall. Nowhere is that reality more apparent than when examining the electoral map on which Romney and President Obama will battle in November.
A detailed analysis of Romney’s various paths to the 270 electoral votes he would need to claim the presidency suggests he has a ceiling of somewhere right around 290 electoral votes.
The truth of the matter is that both candidates are pretty much neck and neck, a large part of the country isn't even paying attention to the campaign yet, Mitt Romney has yet to choose a running mate and there have been no debates, assuming President Obama chooses to participate, which he very well might not. So a 'detailed analysis' is an impossibility at this point.
But just for giggles, let's look at both candidates and the electoral college matchup in the race for 270 votes.
Barack Obama starts out not only with the advantage of being able to campaign and fund raise on the taxpayer's dime, but with all but guaranteed victories in several populous blue states like California, New York and Illinois for a total of 104 electoral votes. Actually, these are really huge margins in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.He's also pretty certain to take the rest of the West Coast (Washington and Oregon plus Hawaii for another 23 votes), most of New England and the Northeast (Another 51 votes including Rhode Island, Vermont Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, DC, Delaware and New Jersey). That totals up to 178 votes.
Mitt Romney will almost certainly take solid red states in the South (Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee) for 65 votes, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia for 24 votes, and the Red states in the Heartland (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas,Nebraska, The Dakotas, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana ) for another 78 votes, and Alaska a total of 170 votes.
After that, we start speculating as things are far too close to call at this point.
Looking at the numbers, it's fairly likely that Barack Obama could carry New Mexico (5 votes) because of it's high Hispanic demographic, Minnesota(10 votes), which normally goes Democrat.Colorado (9 votes) could go either way. It's also fairly likely that Mitt Romney will take the deep Red state of Arizona (11 votes) and that Missouri(10 votes) and North Carolina (15 votes) will also return to the Republican column this year.
Assuming it breaks down this way ( a big assumption but not unlikely)you have Obama with 202 votes and Romney with 206.
Almost everything else is in play.Romney is personally popular in Michigan(16 votes) and New Hampshire,(4 votes) where the depressed Obama economy is also an issue. He will also likely win Nevada (6 votes) because of the Mormon vote and the nation's highest unemployment. Virginia,(13 votes) like Colorado has become more and more purple as the overflow of government dependent workers from DC populates Northern Virginia. The Old Dominion could be the one southern state where the Democrats are able to hang on, depending on the relative turnout of the northern and southern part of the state.Iowa (6 votes) went Blue last time and could very well do so again.
That brings us to the key swing states - Wisconsin (10 votes), Florida ( 29 votes), Ohio(18 votes), and Pennsylvania(20 votes). That's where I chiefly think this election is going to be won and lost.
If the Democrats win in Virginia, Iowa and Colorado, Obama's total will be 230 votes.To win, he will have to take three of the above four states and can afford to lose Florida as th eone he doesn't carry. If Virginia goes Republican, he will have to win two of the above states, plus Florida.If Obama wins in Michigan and Virginia, he only need any two of the above four states.
If Mitt Romney comes in having lost Virginia and Colorado but having won in Michigan, he will have 228 votes, 232 if he wins in New Hampshire as well. He'd need only Florida and one other of the key swing states to win. Without Michigan, Virginia or Colorado,he'd need Florida plus any two of the remaining key battleground states to win.
I cite these figures just to show you that both candidates have similar margins of victory at this point.
Some other factors worth noting that actually might give Romney something of an advantage: