The Washington Times
“Barack Obama wins historic second term!” Get ready; you may be reading that headline a year from now.
Granted, the macro indicators don’t look good for President Obama. Unemployment is over 9 percent and not expected to decline dramatically. Economic growth is anemic. Federal budget deficits are through the roof, and most voters think the country has veered into a ditch. Mr. Obama’s Gallup weekly public-approval rating is lower than those for every postwar president except Jimmy Carter. The poll also shows the incumbent losing to any generic unnamed Republican opponent by eight points. The Obama team is already touting its candidate as the underdog, thinking it will be easier to manage expectations with a “lead from behind” campaign.
Republicans who think the election is in the bag are in for a shock. The electoral map is not as one-sided as national polls might suggest. Mr. Obama can still count on a strong electoral-vote base and will be competitive in enough battleground states to be able to pull off a win. It may not even be that close.
Changes to the electoral map from the 2010 reapportionment transfer a net of six electoral votes from Democratic core areas to Republican safe states, most dramatically Texas’ gain of four. But strong bicoastal support for Mr. Obama will give him a base of 16 states and the District of Columbia, totaling 206 electoral votes. Republicans can count on capturing the 22 states won by John McCain in 2008, which now total 179. If Mr. Obama can add to his base the six states and one Maine district he won in 2008 by a margin of 9 percent or more, that pushes his tally to 263. That leaves just six states as battlegrounds: Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Indiana and North Carolina. Republicans would have to win all six of those states to win the White House. Mr. Obama would only have to pick off one…
Some states in the prospective Obama column may not be solid, or even likely. In 2010, Pennsylvanians elected a Republican governor, gave Republicans majorities in both state houses and flipped five House seats to the GOP. But if the Obama camp lost Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes but won Florida’s 29 votes, it still would win the election by this model without taking any of the other five battleground states….