In recent days, President Obama seems to have maintained his slight advantage in Ohio. The latest Real Clear Politics average has Obama with almost a three point advantage in the state. Real Clear Politics has Romney as a 1.4 point favorite in Florida, but with several dissenting polls, it is clearly still in question.
But let’s assume that Obama loses these two all-important states. Pundits have already proclaimed that Ohio and Florida will be the deciders in this election. At that point, should the Obamas start packing up their things for the move back to Chicago?
This electoral map is much kinder to President Obama than Mitt Romney. While the loss of either state could prove disastrous for Romney, Obama would only need to hold onto the states he is currently winning. Losing Ohio and Florida would sting, but would only cause Obama to trail 253 to 237 with 48 electoral votes still up for grabs.
Looking at the CNN electoral map (which may be the most fun way to spend an hour to an afternoon) there are six other battleground states – Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire. According to Real Clear Politics, Virginia is still essentially a toss-up. We’ll place that in the Romney column nonetheless. But in Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire, Obama leads. He would have to win all of these to break 270, but it’s a worst-case scenario. The picture looks even more hopeful if Obama is able to keep Virginia blue. Obama might only need three of the other swing states to be re-elected.
Obama is in the driver’s seat because he has no must-win states. Romney has to win either Florida or Ohio. If he were to lose both, he loses the election with it. Obama would just lose an electoral lead. Uphill battle? Certainly. Improbable that Obama would hold his leads in all those states? Perhaps. But it remains a distinct possibility that President Obama could stay in office even if he were to lose both Ohio and Florida.