Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast explains just how hard it is for Mitt Romney to win.
Thereâ€™s a secret lurking behind everything youâ€™re reading about the upcoming election, a secret that all political insiders knowâ€”or shouldâ€”but few are talking about, most likely because it takes the drama out of the whole business. The secret is the electoral college, and the fact is that the more you look at it, the more you come to conclude thatÂ Mitt RomneyÂ has to draw an inside straight like youâ€™ve never ever seen in a movie to win this thing. This is especially true now that it seems as if Pennsylvania isnâ€™t really up for grabs. Romneyâ€™s paths to 270 are few.
This is the reason why I watch RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight so closely. They are constantly analysing the Electoral College and not Rasmussen’s polls.
Imagine itâ€™s election night, say 10:45 east coast time. Four eastern states havenâ€™t been called yet: Ohio (18), Virginia (13), North Carolina (15), and Florida (29). Also, in some Western states, the polls havenâ€™t closed, or the races are too tight to project just yetâ€”Colorado and Nevada, say. Arizona has just been called for Romney. At this point, Romney actually leads, 188 to 182. In this scenario Iâ€™m assuming Obama has won Iowa (6), which is admittedly close but where his lead has been stable at three or four points, and New Hampshire (4), where Obama has a similar fairly small but stable lead, and Michigan (16), where the gap appears to be opening up a little.
So itâ€™s a six-vote Romney edge. Theyâ€™re feeling great up in Boston. Especially with the big Eastern four still up in the air. Right?
Not really. Letâ€™s look at these West Coast states. Even though theyâ€™re still voting in California, obviously Obama is going to win it (55). And equally obviously, heâ€™s going to win Washington (12) and Oregon (7), where neither side even bothered to spend a dime. Throw in Hawaii (4). Those 78 votes haul Obama up to 260. Thatâ€™s something to keep in mind for election night: Whatever Obamaâ€™s number is at 10 pm Eastern, add those 78 EVâ€™sâ€”theyâ€™re a mortal lock, and a hefty insurance policy. If he wins Nevada (6) and Colorado (9), itâ€™s over.
SomeÂ punditsÂ suggest that of Romney selects Rubio as his running mate then Florida is in the bag. That actually won’t matter:
In other words, Obama can lose the big Eastern fourâ€”Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida: all of â€™em!â€”and still be reelected.
And barring some huge cataclysm, heâ€™s not losing all four of those states. If he wins even oneâ€”say Virginia, the smallest of the fourâ€”then Romney has to win Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire; all possible, certainly, but all states where he has been behind, narrowly but consistently, for weeks or months.