Today, Mitt Romney’s advisors were interviewed by David Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers and discussed what they feel is the most likely path to the presidency in November for the Republican candidate. It’s a pretty interesting calculus that they’ve arrived at, and is probably dependent on some important factors, such as the economy not growing very much in the next 6 months.
Anyway, to begin, it’s important to remember that in this election, at least, it’s not really important who is ahead and by how much in national polls. The reason for this is that in the Deep South, and in some of the Border States, Obama’s popularity hovers in the 30-35% range. Romney, on the other hand, has very few states where he can expect to get less than 40% of the vote. But in this country, electoral votes are all that matter, obviously.
So, Romney’s team begins with the 22 states that McCain won in 2008 – there are 180 electoral votes here. It’s probably likely that this will be true. Arizona is the only one of these that Obama may threaten to win or even spend any money.
Their next aim is to switch three traditionally Republican states back to the GOP column, Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia. I think that it is likely that Mitt will win in the first two, perhaps less probable that he can take Virginia. Even before 2008, the Republicans consistently received a lower percentage of the vote in this state in the last few elections, because of the influx of people around DC. But later this month, Mitt plans to deliver an important speech at Liberty University that will rally evangelicals to support him. Anyway, that’s another 39 electoral votes.
The next goal is to win in Ohio and Florida for another 47 electoral votes. To do this, he probably has to choose Jeb, Rubio, or Portman as his Vice Presidential nominee. This brings Romney up to 266 electoral votes.
Finally, he needs to win at least one of the following swing states: New Hampshire, Colorado, or Iowa. I’d guess that the first two are actually pretty likely to support Mitt in November. New Hampshire knows Romney from his years as Governor and running for Senator of Massachusetts. Colorado borders Utah, where he should have a plethora of volunteers available.
His strategists also said that they believe that Mitt has a chance to win in Michigan. I assume that they just want the Democrats to spend some money there; if Romney wins in Michigan, we can all go to sleep early on election night.