Election 2012: Obama on track to 270 Electoral Vote victory
“I’m counting on Iowa! Iowa may be the place that decides who the next president is!” Romney said on one of two visits to the state last week. In Ohio last week, a hoarse Obama reminded a Cleveland audience near the end of a six-state marathon: “I need you, Ohio. America needs you, Ohio.”
Romney is banking on what his supporters say is late momentum. Obama is betting that his aggressive effort to register and lock in early voters, mainly Democratic-leaning younger and minority voters, will give him an insurmountable advantage heading into Election Day, when more Republicans typically vote than Democrats.
About 35 percent of voters are expected to cast their ballots before November 6, either in person or by mail. More than 5 million people already have voted. No votes will be counted until November 6, but some states report the party affiliation of people who have voted. Democrats have the edge in Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina, according to state figures and data collected by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. Republicans have the early edge in Colorado.
Obama, who won in 2008 in places where Democrats had not for a generation, continues to have several routes to electoral victory. His easiest: win Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, which are leaning his way. He could keep the White House with victories in Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada. If he loses Ohio, he could prevail by sweeping New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado.
Romney has fewer options. He must carry Florida and Virginia, where Republicans are feeling good about his standing, as well as wrest control of Ohio, and then also win Nevada, Colorado or New Hampshire. If he loses Ohio, Romney must make up for the state’s 18 electoral votes by cutting his way through Obama-leaning territory.
At the top of that target list are Wisconsin, carried by Democrats in six straight presidential elections and where Obama has the edge, and Iowa, a perennial swing-voting state.
Romney’s campaign began airing advertisements last week in Minnesota, arguing he was staking a claim in likely Obama territory. But even GOP strategists acknowledged the move was aimed at hitting voters in western Wisconsin and pressuring Obama to follow suit. By Friday, Obama’s campaign had done just that, although the president has a healthy lead in both polling and organization in Minnesota.