There’s been a bunch of predictive 2012 maps being thrown around today, so let’s look at one that is more an examination of trends at the moment. The latest Cook Report survey has the current estimated Electoral Vote breakdown for 2012 as follows:
In other words – and contrary to a lot of agitprop, on both sides – it’s game on, and we’re going to be fighting it out in the swing states again. Cook has the toss-up states as being Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia: notice that all of these states are ones that Barack Obama won in 2008. Also note that, of the seven states, only Colorado and Nevada has been really friendly territory for Democrats lately on a state level:
Virginia has a tied Senate, with the Republican Lt. Gov having the tie-breaking vote. But that more or less doesn’t matter; what matters here is that when Obama campaigns in 2012 he will not be getting the same welcome in, say, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia that he did in 2008. Of less, but still significant, interest is that Obama’s path to victory requires him to run the tables; we reapportioned EVs between 2008 and now, and largely at the Democrats expense.
And here’s the practical application to all of the above: which is to say, the Republican path to victory from the Cook baseline.
Essentially: Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and have a nice day.
This can be done.