But let's take a step back for a moment here and assume that we will see a close presidential election in 2012. And let's use a version of the election results Electoral College Spectrum adjusted for the seat shifts projected after the census.
|The Electoral College Spectrum*|
|*Follow the link for a detailed explanation on how to read the Electoral College Spectrum.|
**The numbers in the parentheses refer to the number of electoral votes a candidate would have if he won all the states ranked prior to that state. If, for example, McCain won all the states up to and including Colorado (all Obama's toss up states plus Colorado), he would have 269 electoral votes. McCain's numbers are only totaled through the states he would have needed in order to get to 270. In those cases, Obama's number is on the left and McCain's is on the right in italics.
***Colorado is the state where Obama crossed the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidential election. That line is referred to as the victory line.
****Nebraska allocates electoral votes based on statewide results and the results within each of its congressional districts. Nebraska's 2nd district voted for Barack Obama on November 4.
If, in 2012, the momentum swings against the Democrats and Barack Obama, the GOP is likely to pull Nebraska's 2nd, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Ohio back into their column. And even with those 74 electoral votes, generic Republican (Let's call her Sarah Palin for the heck of it.) still comes up 16 electoral votes short of victory. Virginia is next in line, gets the "close but not quite" distinction with 13 electoral votes, and, as Jack points out, is trending away from the GOP.
Depending on the candidates and conditions, though, I think that Virginia and Colorado are the most likely candidates for the Florida (2000)/Ohio (2004) distinction in 2012 should the election be that close. And whoever the GOP candidate is will need both states if they all fall in line in the same order four years from now. [I'll have to look into how long or short the odds of this are. But that's another research idea to look at later.] Virginia would be closer to the GOP compared to Colorado based on the 2008 results and that would make the Centennial state the victory line state. But given what happened last month, it is somewhat difficult to see Colorado swinging back. However, ask me in a couple of years and see if I've changed my mind.
A Projected 2012 Electoral College Map (version 2.0)
The Race for RNC Chair
Backloading in 2012? Arkansas is Moving Closer