One reading of the Electoral tea leaves gives Mitt Romney a better than average chance to unseat Barack Obama in 2012.
Assuming Romney wins the GOP nomination, which is far from certain, Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg says he currently has an advantage over Obama in the electoral college vote.
Obama starts with 14 states and the District of Columbia in his column, giving him 186 of the required 270 electoral votes. Romney would begin with a likely lead in 23 states, giving him 191 electoral votes.
That leaves 13 states as a toss-up.
Given Obama’s job ratings, the public’s dissatisfaction with the country’s direction and the state of the economy, it’s difficult to imagine him winning the two big prizes, Ohio and Florida, again. Both states traditionally have preferred the GOP nominee when Democrats are on the defensive, as they will be next year. That’s 47 Electoral College votes for Romney.
Two Southern states, Virginia and North Carolina, could be competitive, but it’s certainly a stretch to call them tossups. Unlike 2008, Obama isn’t a blank-slate agent for change. Both states lean toward Romney, who would likely have enough appeal in the suburbs and among white independents to give him an edge. That is an additional 28 Electoral College votes for Romney.
That leaves Colorado, Iowa and Nevada with 9, 6 and 6 electoral votes respectively.
Rothenberg says the current dynamic gives Romney a great shot at the win in 2012.