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Summer is officially in about another day but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to take a look at November!  Using 270towin.com, I can make my first projection in what I think will be a tumultuous road to 270 electoral votes and the Oval Office.

The best way to break this down is for me to list the “easy” states and then the more obvious swing states.

Obama’s Base:

  • Maine (all Congressional Districts), Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, District of Columbia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California, Maryland, Delaware, Hawaii

Romney’s Base:

  • South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska (sans one district), South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Alaska

“Swing States” For Obama:

  • New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada

“Swing States” For Romney:

  • North Carolina, Iowa, Missouri, Arizona, Ohio

Obama:  309
Romney: 229

On first glance, this isn’t the best news for Team Obama.  It’s actually a rather bullish electoral map for him as he loses key battlegrounds such as Florida and Ohio.

I am of the belief that Wisconsin is not a swing state at all, given it’s rather strong national blue hue and am starting to think that Colorado and New Mexico (especially on the heels of a new PPP poll for Colorado and the immigration announcement of last week) are getting close to “near-lock status”.  I’ll get to Gary Johnson’s impact on the race later on.  The Nevada GOP is also completely overtaken by the Ron Paul supporters and given the struggles that the GOP is having with Latinos, it doesn’t look good.  I also think Virginia is going to be tough (though more possible than the aforementioned states) for the GOP given the uproar concerning the infamous “transvaginal ultrasound” bill.  Pennsylvania is often seen as a potential swing state but I think Philadelphia and Pittsburgh alone keep PA blue.  Florida is always controversial and it’ll be a narrow one, but the only reason I’m giving Obama the state (right now) is due to immigration and the toxicity of Governor Rick Scott.  New Hampshire goes with New England.

For Mitt Romney, this election isn’t a lost cause at all and a few percentage points here and there make him the 45th President of the United States.  North Carolina is the home state for the Democratic National Convention and the Democrats have made inroads there, but after the same-sex marriage vote; I’m feeling Romney flips the state back.  Iowa is evolving into a nice, little swing state but the lack of big cities hurts Obama and I think Romney will do well in small towns.  Missouri is a permanent swing state but it’s gone GOP consistently so I’m giving it to Team Romney.  Arizona, like Missouri, is one of two states that Obama can flip to the Democrats but Romney is the light favorite here.  The Latino vote will really help Obama and a new PPP poll is showing the race is tightening.  Of all the states in 2012, I am betting on Ohio being the closest of them all regardless of outcome.  They have an unpopular GOP governor in John Kasich that has attacked unions (a strength of the state) and the auto industry could tip it to Obama.  Still, I think the “working class white” vote is Obama’s main weakness and I think it barely tips the state in Romney’s favor come November.

With 1 being the least likeliest and 10 being the likeliest, here’s how I rate the swing states as being “safe” with the candidate I gave it too:

  • Arizona – 5
  • Colorado – 3
  • Florida – 9
  • Iowa – 3
  • Missouri – 4
  • New Hampshire – 3
  • New Mexico – 1
  • North Carolina – 2
  • Ohio – 10
  • Pennsylvania – 2
  • Virginia – 8
  • Wisconsin – 3

Now a quick note on Gary Johnson and to a lesser degree, Virgil Goode.  Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico and current Libertarian Party candidate, has been polling in the mid-to-high single digits in polls where he’s mentioned as a candidate.  There’s a fear amongst both parties (given Johnson’s adamant support for marijuana legilazation/gay marriage and tax ideas) that Johnson can make a close win into a close loss.  Most polls show that Johnson takes slightly more support away from Romney.  However, most polls tend to “overrate” third party candidates as some voters tend to just go “lesser of two evils” once they hit the ballot booth.  Still, I expect Johnson will make enough impact to tip the scales for Obama in New Mexico and Colorado at the least.  Keep an eye on him for now.

On Virgil Goode, the Virginian who served in Congress as a Democrat, Independent and Republican before losing to Tom Perriello in 2008 is now the Constitution Party candidate for President.  Goode will likely pull in less than 1% of the vote nationwide but in Virginia, only a few thousand votes could tip the scales either way.  Goode will likely leech more votes off Romney than Obama.  He’s only worth noting in Virginia (if he makes the ballot at all).

Some of these picks are also “gut feeling” as opposed to pure science.  I will probably carve out another post in a week or so where I can go more in-depth with polls.  Please let me know what your thoughts are.

EDIT (6.21.2012):  I inadvertently had Oklahoma as going to Obama in the original post.  I don’t know how I did that.  Anyway, changes were made to make Oklahoma red.  It is not a swing state.  At all.