At this juncture, the 2012 battle for the White House will be an extremely close race. The electoral map is much narrower than most voters realize. Since mid-July 2011, I have been saying that the current electoral tally is 196 electoral votes for Obama and 191 electoral votes for the eventual GOP nominee. USA Today seems to agree. USA Today’s Susan Page weighs in:
While Americans across the nation are downbeat about the economy and the future, a special USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that voters in a dozen key battleground states for the 2012 election are in an even deeper funk about their lives, Obama’s tenure and the nation’s politics.
Michigan, which has backed the Democratic candidate in the past five presidential elections, is among the 12 swing states likely to determine the outcome next year. The others are Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in the South; Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in the Mountain West; Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin in the Midwest; and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in the Northeast.
Other states and the District of Columbia clearly lean to one party or the other, and almost equally so: Obama starts with a likely 196 electoral votes from solidly Democratic states, the Republican nominee with 191. A presidential candidate needs 270 to win.
The USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows a split nationwide: 47% for Obama, 47% for Romney.
In the swing states, three Republican challengers are all close enough to Obama in head-to-head match-ups to signal a race that is essentially tied, whoever wins the nomination. Romney leads Obama by a single percentage point while businessman Herman Cain lags the president by three points and Texas Gov. Rick Perry trails him by five.