There's one big reason for the Democrats to be optimistic they'll keep control of the White House in 2016 – a growing dominance in the Electoral College.
After two near-ties in the 2000 and 2004 elections, Barack Obama engineered blowout contests in 2008 and 2012.
If you add up all of the states that are "safe" for the two parties, Democrats start with 217 electoral votes while Republicans begin with 191. However, if you throw in all of the states that "lean" Democratic, that brings their number to 249, which is just 21 points away from a win. That idea is likely when you consider that Barak Obama won all three of those states that lean toward the Democrats by an average of 8 points in 2008 and 2012.
So, is it hopeless for Republicans? Maybe or maybe not according to political observer Nathan Gonzalez, who says Republicans may have more options available to them in 2016 than they did against Obama.
Gonzales goes on to note that Obama won big electoral college prizes — Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin — in 2008 and 2012 but that, Obama excepted, there’s little evidence that the states have moved at some elemental level toward Democrats. All three, for example, have Republican governors who are serving second terms and were elected for the first time two years after Obama won the presidency.
If Florida and Ohio are put into the Republican column — 47 electoral votes between them — then, all of a sudden the GOP nominee is up to 238 electoral votes (if you include all the states that Gonzales ranks as safe or favoring the party.) Put North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes in the GOP column — Gonzales rates the state, which Obama won in 2008 and lost narrowly in 2012, as “tilt Republican” — and the party’s nominee stands at 253 electoral votes, only a hop, skip and a Virginia and New Hampshire away from 270.