1. I have moved New Hampshire and its four electoral votes from my toss-up classification and placed it firmly in the Obama column.
2. I have moved Wisconsin and its ten electoral votes from the Obama column and placed it in toss-up status.
Accordingly, after making the preceding two changes, the following are my current Electoral College projections:
I predict that Mitt Romney will carry without difficulty all of the states that John McCain won in 2008, for a total of 180 electoral votes. These states are as follows:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming.
I also predict that Mitt Romney will win the following three states that Barack Obama won in 2008, for an additional 55 electoral votes:
Florida, Indiana, North Carolina.
As I said in my previous column, some of my readers questioned my placement of Florida in the Romney column, rather than in the toss-up category. Obama, however, has had consistently high disapproval numbers in the Sunshine State which have actually worsened recently. I have no doubt that Romney will win Florida.
This brings Romney’s total to 235 electoral votes.
Barack Obama will win the following states, all of which he won in 2008, for a total of 253 electoral votes:
California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.
That leaves the following states in the toss-up category, for a total of 50 electoral votes:
Colorado (9), Ohio (18), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10)
To win the presidency, a candidate must win 270 electoral votes.
The new Electoral College math impacts the campaign as follows:
1. It is still a four state election (the four toss-up states), except that Wisconsin has taken the place of New Hampshire in the toss-up column.
2. Romney no longer needs to win Virginia to win the election. He can lose Virginia and still win the election by winning Ohio, Colorado, and Wisconsin. This would give Romney an Electoral College majority of 272 electoral votes to Obama’s 266. This is the change in the Electoral College math that benefits Romney.
3. Ohio is the absolute must-win state for Romney. There is no pathway to victory for him if he does not carry Ohio. This factor further increases the likelihood that he will select U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio as his running mate.
4. If Romney does carry both Ohio and Virginia, he still must carry either Colorado or Wisconsin to win the election.
5. Conversely, Obama will be guaranteed an Electoral College victory if he carries Ohio. His flagging poll numbers among women, however, are preventing the President from locking up a victory in the Buckeye State.
There is one move, I believe, that Obama could make that would reverse his downward trend among women voters and guarantee himself a victory in Ohio and accordingly, the nation: Dump as his running mate Vice President Joe Biden and replace him with Hillary Clinton. This will be the subject of my next column.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.