Electoral College Map: LIVE Exit Polls, Electoral College Results Show Approaching 270 Votes Needed


The electoral college map is something you must understand, in order to make sense of election outcomes. There are 538 electoral votes available. To win, a candidate must reach 270. President Obama maintains small leads in many states that make it easy for him to reach well over 270. By contrast, Romney has very few pathways to victory remaining.  

Ohio, one of the most important states, remains strongly in Obama's court. As Romney has been unable to move the numbers in Ohio, he has tried to expand the map in Pennsylvania and other states. Obama has also maintained a lead in those states. While the election looks very close at the popular vote level, Romney is likely to lose.

Virginia is a must win for Mitt Romney to have any possible pathways to 270 electoral votes.

--Live Updates

1:30 PM: My latest article has been published.  Now, it is about Team America.  Read what I believe is next for taking America from great to greater.  Here's my new article.

11:18 PM: CNN Projects that President Obama carries Ohio and has won re-election.  A billion dollars spent attacking the President fails.  

11:15 PM: Oregon has gone for President Obama as predicted in my electoral map.

11:11 PM: New Mexico was just called for President Obama.  Earlier, I assumed this in my electoral map.  The victory was by a very large margin for the President.  Obama's supporters in a convention center in Chicago are growing more enthusiastic.

11:10 PM: President Obama wins Iowa by a large margin.  This is a key battleground state. Obama will win if any other state goes for him.  He now has 263 electoral votes locked in, by my count.

11:05 PM: Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.  Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine defeated George Allen. Bad candidates and unforced errors cost Republicans the Senate.  

11:03 PM: CNN projects that Obama wins Wisconsin and Romney North Carolina.

11:00 PM: Polls close on the West Coast.  Obama wins 55 electoral votes in California.

10:56 PM: President Obama will lead in the popular vote.  Once the numbers come in across the West Coast where polls are about to close, we'll see an uptick for Barack Obama.

10:45 PM: My custom generated electoral map based on states we can be certain about now  have Obama at 257 and Romney at 191.  Here is what the map looks like.  Florida can go for Obama as can North Carolina and Virginia.  Ohio has some possibility too for the President. 

10:38 PM: With so many states that Romney wanted to capture out and some key battlegrounds leaning Obama take a look at the tipping point map again.  It is hard to imagine things going for Romney at this point. New Hampshire was the weakest lean towards Obama and he captured that state.  Pennsylvania had been in doubt and Obama got it.  Wisconsin was a worry; Obama closed the deal.  Virginia fits the description I gave below and North Carolina.  Obama has solid potential.  Florida might go for Obama.  If any of these states go for Obama; Romney has no chance.  The election will be called.


10:35 PM: Early polling results show President Obama slightly behind in Virginia and North Carolina.  100% of the votes are in, in key Republican strongholds.  In both states Democrat strongholds are yet to have been counted.  The gap between Obama and Romney will close and Obama has a solid chance of passing Romney in both states.

10:34 PM: In Wisconsin, President Obama is leading in Paul Ryan's own home town.

10:29 PM: Democrat Elizabeth Warren has beaten Scott Brown.  She was one of my favorite candidates and I am very excited that she is taking a seat in the senate.  In previous coverage, I explain why.  You can read that here.  

10:14 PM: All the surprise pickups that Romney was going for were not achieved and Florida is tilting Obama with the largest portion of precincts remaining to report are Democrat areas.  President Obama has a much much easier path to 270 electoral votes.

Democrat Sherrod Brown and Claire McCaskill have won their elections.  Todd Akin of "legitimate rape" fame has lost his election to McCaskill.  Paul Ryan co-sponsored a bill that involved parsing and defining rape into different types.  Take a look at my previous coverage of this here.

10:12 PM: Check out this post:

10:05 PM: Wisconsin has been called for President Obama by Fox News.  Romney just lost the state Paul Ryan represents in Congress.

10:00 PM: President Obama carries the battleground state of New Hampshire and maintains Minnesota where polls looked bad for the President leading up the election.  Now, this is a very difficult election for Romney to win.   

9:58 PM: Iowa polls will be closing shortly.  Turnout was so high that some ballots had to be photo-copied.  Those will be hand counted and this will delay results.

9:50 PM: President Obama is ahead in Florida by a hair as 84% of the vote is in.  A large portion of the data that is not on the books is from Democrat counties.  This bodes well for Obama.  If President Obama wins Florida then Romney cannot win.

9:43 PM: 50,000 hispanic people turn 18 each month and are eligable to vote.  Republicans have very little relationship with the Hispanic population.

9:33 PM: Pennsylvania was just called for President Obama.  This is a battleground state with a very large number of electoral votes.  Romney thought he could capture this towards the end of the campaign.  This is a big victory for President Obama.

9:24 PM: Early Colorado poll results show a large lead for the President as 22% of the vote are in.  This will be much closer as more precincts report.  

9:23 PM: Joe Donnelly remains ahead in Indiana against Mourdock.

9:22 PM: Debbie Stabenow from Michigan keeps her seat.  Bob Casey keeps his seat.  Kirsten Gillibrand who replaced Hillary Clinton wins her seat.

9:16 PM: If the margin is close in Ohio there are several hundred thousand provisional ballots that will not be counted for 11 days.  This would be a horrendous wait!

9:14 PM: Early poll results show Obama in a Boulder Colorado, a key county, Obama has as much as 70% of the vote.

9:13 PM: Early poll results in New Hampshire show the President up by 9%.  Too few votes have been counted to say anything.

9:10 PM: Consider that billion of dollars was just spent on these elections.  Who knows if it makes any difference.  The House and Senate will likely remain in the same hands. 

9:07 PM: Republicans will retain their majority in the House of Representatives

9:06 PM: Women voters are playing a major role in this election.  Read this advert as women worked to get the vote and others worked against them.


9:04 PM: Exit polls show Obama up by 9 in New Mexico and up 6 in Wisconsin.

9:02 PM: Electoral college totals so far are 123 Obama, Romney 152.  It is 270 to win.

9:01 PM: Obama wins Michigan, New York, and New Jersey.  Michigan was seen as a potential win for Romney at some points in the campaign.  That was a big deal.

9:00 PM: Romney wins Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi: all expected. 

8:58 PM: Colorado numbers are starting to come in.

8:56 PM: 156 electoral votes worth of polls are about to close in 16 states.  

8:53 PM: CNN is definately dialing up the drama with this photo.  Either the election is a nailbiter or someone needs to drink prune juice.


8:49 PM: Democrat Joe Donnely is ahead of Republican Richard Mourdock with 50% of votes in. Republicans can lose this seat.  Mourdock lost his lead when he stated that children born of rape were a gift from God. 

8:48 PM: Joe Lieberman the independent from Connecticut retired.  Democrat Chris Murphy is taking his seat in Connecticut.  

8:42 PM: President Obama leads by 110,000 votes in Florida with 60% reporting.

8:37 PM: Voting lines are so long in Virginia that it may be 11 PM until all have voted.

8:36 PM: So far, Obama is showing good numbers in key Florida counties where he needs to have high turnout.  The numbers are looking like Obama's vote levels from 2008 in Florida, so far, which bodes well for Obama.  No way to tell yet.   

8:31 PM: Obama has an advantage of more than 200,000 votes in Ohio, with only 20% of the votes in.  As more data arrives the numbers in Ohio will be much closer.  

8:30 PM: With more than half the votes in, in Florida President Obama is leading by a few percent.

8:24 PM: The data is counted for 46.45% of all Florida voters now.  The state is so close, it will be very hard to call until all counties have been reported.

8:22 PM: Exit polls that were leaning Obama are coming in more in favor of Obama as more data comes in.  Some of the exit poll results are clashing with what has been released from the actual polls so far.

8:19 PM: Angus King in Maine has won.  He replaces moderate Republican Olympia Snowe.  Democrat Ben Nelson keeps his seat in Florida, this was close.   

8:17 PM: As data comes in, remember this tipping point map shows what is important.  The states towards the center that leaned most weakly in favor of any candidate are the most crucial to watch.

8:14 PM: The returns are accelerating for Florida now.  

8:13 PM: 27.1% of counties have reported in Florida.  The results are slowly coming in.  Romney has won Georgia, which was expected.

8:10 PM: 1.8 million people in Ohio voted early or absentee.  President Obama so far has a lead in the reported number of these.  59% approve of the auto bailout vs. 36% who disapprove.  The counties with the car manufacturing districts are not reported yet.

8:08 PM: 22.42% of Florida counties have reported their votes.  You will see me disappear for a few minutes as I am sorting through granular data to report to you.  The longer I'm away, the more important the data I'm looking at and working to comprehend.

8:05 PM: Early poll results for key battleground states are in.  I will not report them as a small percentage of those states have released their results.  Early leads would be misleading.

8:02 PM: Exit polls show a very close race in Florida.  The President leads in New Hampshire slightly.  Pennsylvania has President Obama up by 5% so far.      

7:59 PM: Obama wins Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Illinois, Maryland, Massachussetts (the home state of Romney), Maine (3 of 4 electoral votes will go to Obama), Rhode Island.  These were expected.

7:58 PM: New Hampshire polls close at eight, but there are long lines and there is record turn out.  Results will be released later.

7:57 PM: Three key counties in Florida are showing huge numbers for President Obama.

7:54 PM: Florida election results expected in about five minutes.  This is a key battleground state.  Waves of other polls are about to close worth 172 electoral votes.

7:52 PM: So far, we do not have any results for battleground states, but some crucial polls have closed.  Results will come in at any time as the state's election commissions release the results.  For now, Romney is ahead with 49 electoral votes.  These votes all occur in states that were expected to vote Romney.  (These states would have been predicted to vote for the Republican candidate before we even knew who the candidate was.)

7:49 PM: The Tea Party may have cost Republicans about six senate seats.  Mourdock, a Tea Party member knocked out Republican Richard Lugar during the primaries.  Lugar was a moderate Republican and had held his seat reliably for decades.  Mourdock may lose this seat and weaken Republican's position in the Senate.  Voters are learning of the extreme views of some Tea Party members and are beginning to reject them.

7:47 PM: The race between Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock in Indiana so far looks dead even.  Mourdock recently made some very concerning remarks about rape, which may have hurt him in the polls.

7:46 PM: Ohio early results: 13,000 total votes have been reported now.  This is a tiny amount, but the poll results are now coming in.  

7:41 PM: 28% of the vote has been reported in Florida.  The President is up by 3%.  Some counties are entirely Republican and others are entirely Democrat.  As a county reports it's data the total of who is ahead may jump around.

7:35 PM: In Ohio 39% of the population are Democrats, 30% are Republicans, and 31% are independent voters.  While there are far more Democrats, which bodes well for Obama, independents have been trending a bit towards Romney.  The higher number of Dems in Ohio along with the large number of independents who trend Romney is the key factor that may determine the entire Presidential election.  It is all about turnout!  

7:34 PM: In Prince William County; Bristow Virginia: 799 votes for Romney 966 for Obama.  This is a key county in Virginia that may help determine the entire election.  

7:31 PM: So far in Florida, President Obama is ahead by 90,000 votes with about two million votes counted.  Note: Florida expects 9 million voters, or about 95% of the population.

7:29 PM: As results come in remember to use this tipping point guide.  The states towards the center have a smaller lean towards a candidate.  You can see which states are most critical to the election as the results come in.  

7:26 PM: Some results are in that have been expected.  Romney has won Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Take a look at my electoral map and the tipping point guide below.  That was expected.  President Obama has won Vermont.

7:24 PM: North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia polls are the next to close at 7:30.

7:09 PM: The birther movement was Republicans and Fox News approach to manipulating the American population.  As a social-psychologist I studied cult formation.  Republicans were using some of the same techniques that cults use to manipulate their following.  They were using the similarity principle and the association principle.  Similarity increases liking, which increases trust.  By stating that Obama was born outside America they were attempting to reduce similarity and thus reduce trust.   

Cult leaders use this approach to convince their following to not speak to outsiders.  Republicans were using this method to drop a feeling of simularity before key moments when the President would have a large audience like the debates.  They wanted to break what leads to a sense of trust in the President's words before debate.

In 2008 Republicans tied this with the association principle further deepening the manipulation of the American public.  They said not only is he from another country, but he is Muslim and his middle name is "Hussein."  This was an attempt to tie people's brain fibers together with Obama and the Iraqi dictator, while most Americans believed we were at war with the Muslim people.  53% of people in Alabama still believe Obama is Muslim though he is Christian.        

Christians believing Obama has a similar religion to them would trust him more because they would feel he shares similar values and would make similar decisions.        

In the 2012 election Donald Trump was the most visible using this manipulative technique by continuously demanding birth certificates at those key times.  This prevented Romney himself from using the method, but the two spoke frequently and met regularly.

The birther movement method also allowed anyone who was racist to jump on board and just say, "he's not from here," rather than comment about his race.

Republicans, using the methodology of Karl Rove have been manipulating your mind.  When you hear the phrase, "drinking the Kool Aid," from Republicans they are referring to a cult led by Jim Jones where cult followers drank Kool Aid with poison in it and an island full of people died.  

Fox News has as many as 7 to 13 of these methods in play on the screen at any given time.  This is not a biased news station.  It is using methods that charismatic cult leaders use to build a following.

7:03 PM: Spoiler alert!  As election results are reported on the East Coast people on the West Coast are still voting.  In Hawaii very few people vote because the results are usually known while the polls will still remain open for several hours.  Knowing the outcomes ahead of time makes Hawaii the lowest voting state in the country.  Hawaii is President Obama's home state and usually votes Democrats.  For our birther friends, the local newspaper for the area where Obama was born 50 years ago reported Barack Obama's birth as submitted by the hospital in Hawaii.

7:01 PM: Exit polls in Virginia show a tie so far. 

7:00 PM: Six states closed polls now.  President Obama carried Vermont with three electoral votes.  Romney carried Kentucky as expected.

6:58 PM: Long lines at Virginia polls may delay the results.  

6:57 PM: The Florida electorate is composed of 67% White, 16% Latino, and 13% African-American voters.  As high as 95% of Florida citizens may vote.  

6:51 PM: Florida polling shows that seniors favor President Obama's handling of Medicare over Mitt Romneys.  49% favor Obama to 47% Romney. This is important because of how many seniors in Florida are on Medicare.  The Romney campaign had worked to scare seniors by saying that the President would raid Medicare by $716 billion dollars over 10 years.  The President lowered the rate of increase of payouts to care providers.  As the inflation of health care costs is now lower than in the past doctors no longer required the money.  Romney attacked Obama for this even though Paul Ryan's own budget, which Romney endorsed showed the same cuts of $716 billion.  

If seniors understand that the Romney campaign aimed to scare them, this could backfire.  Seniors may also be concerned because the Romney proposal is to turn Medicare into a voucher system where seniors would get money from the government to buy private insurance.   

6:47 PM: Romney ads in Ohio had made allegations that Jeep was shipping jobs overseas towards the end of last week.  The Chrysler CEO that owns Jeep was very vocally stating this was not true.  Romney's attempt towards the end of last week to lower Obama's favorability may have backfired.  Read my recent story as to why Romney's proposal for the auto industry would have failed here.     

6:44 PM: Romney campaign internal polling showed Obama ahead by 5 points in Ohio on Sunday, while the Romney campaign projected confidence.  

6:38 PM: The Empire States building will light up to show the election results.  As electoral votes come in the top of the tower will light up a few feet at a time showing the race.  The tower will turn red or blue when one candidate has won the election.  

6:36 PM: The millenial generation that tends to support President Obama seems to be turning out at the same levels as 2008. 

6:33 PM: National polling from today shows that 52% of Americans think that President Obama is more in touch with people like them vs. 44% for Mitt Romney.

6:30 PM: Florida's election commission reports that election results will be released at eight Pm.  

6:28 PM: People are just waking up to what role they have played in the election thus far:

6:21 PM: 9 million people may vote in Florida.

6:16 PM: Ohio polls show 49% believe Romney would handle the economy better to Obama's 48%.  However, 37% say the economy is getting better.  33% say it is getting worse.  29% say it is about the same.   

6:05 PM: Kentucky is a consistent red state and is way ahead for Romney as expected.

6:03 PM: 18% are age 18-29, Obama's constituency.  Ages 30-44 is 26% this is down.  Ages 45-64 is 37% this is consistent ages 65 and older is up 19% this is up a bit and favors Romney

73% are white, this is down from 74%.  10% of Latinos are voting this is a first time seeing double digit voting for this group.

5:50 PM: Early exit polls show that nationally 60% believe the economy is the most important for the economy.  28% want a President who shares their values, which Obama wins on.  In Virginia, 21% of voters are white evangelical Christians.  This is lower than the last election.  Those voters would support Romney.  46% want to keep Obamacare and 49% want to repeal in Virginia.      

5:30 PM: if Prince William County Virginia turnout is high this indicates President Obama may take Virginia.

5:23 PM: Graphic of Barack Obama's Presidential Approval Rating

4:57 PM: Virginia polls will close at 7 PM Eastern Time.  Romney must win Virginia to remain in the running for the Presidency.


The electoral map today shows many toss-up states trending Democrat. The darker the blue, or red, the more solid it is for Republican (red) or Democrat (blue). The map the day before the elections has Obama at a likely 294 electoral votes for the win and Romney falling behind at 220.  

President Obama can win those weakly held states by 1%, or even by a single vote, and he will win the election. For Romney, this would be a tough nut to crack with one day remaining.

Take a look at this table from electoral-vote.com on projected outcomes:

Starting from the top are the states most likely to go for President Obama and the percent who support the President. Starting from the bottom are the states most likely to go for Romney and the percent who support him.

President Obama consistently has held a lead in Ohio that would push him over the 270 electoral vote line to victory. Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire carry 16 electoral votes, which is enough to bring Obama across the finish line should there be a problem with Ohio.


The state results that are most important to the race are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, and Florida.  The race will be determined there. Romney would have a very hard time without Florida, which Obama could win. Romney would have a near impossible time without Ohio; though he has persued a strategy in the past few days to try and open up other routes to 270.

This is an extraordinarily close race. Obama has the edge because enough states barely lean towards the Democrats to give him the electoral college victory. Romney is in striking distance. As a football game is more exciting in double over-time with a tie; this will wrap as a very exciting election.

270towin.com's election simulator shows that with the current data, about 75% of the possible outcomes give Obama a result of 262-318 electoral votes. With 270 required to win, the probability of Romney winning is low. The outcome will depend on which party gets more people to the polls in the key states and if third party candidates are able to pull a few percent of votes away from Romney or Obama and alter the elections.  

PolicyMic will be live blogging the results of the election here. For real time updates, analysis, and electoral college numbers, see here.