Political Analysis: 6 Presidential Paths to Victory

The Husky Headline’s Resident Political Analyst Talks Politics and Government at the Local, State, and Federal Levels.

After a tumultuous and hotly contested Republican primary eventually won by Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and a long year of sitting on the sidelines for President Barack Obama, the presidential election of 2012 is finally upon us.  While neither party is correct when they rant about how the country will fall apart if the other candidate wins, this is an election that will have a profound effect on the country and the world. Though I initially did not plan to write a column on the Presidential race, believing that there was little I had to say that has not already been said by the professional media, I eventually decided to focus this column on the different possible scenarios by which Mitt Romney or Barack Obama could win. The ground rules: 270 Electors needed to win, dark colors mean safe states for their respective candidate, light means toss-ups, and yellow outlines signify swing states.
Let the games begin!

Scenario 1: President Obama’s Ideal Win

In this scenario, President Obama wins every swing state except North Carolina, which polls show to have a definite Romney lead. This leaves Obama with 332 electoral votes, more than the 270 necessary to win, and only 33 less than his historic win in 2008. While this scenario is unlikely, as I expect at least Florida and Colorado to vote Romney (as supported by recent polling), it is still very possible that the President could win all the swing states or even more. In the event of a sweeping win such as this, Obama and the Democratic Party would declare that they have a mandate, and with such a massive victory, it is almost certain that the newly re-elected Barack Obama would have a strongly Democratic Senate. Obama wins 332-206

Scenario 2: President Obama’s Small Win


This scenario is perhaps the most likely, with Romney taking 2 of the Big 3 swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Virginia in addition to Colorado and North Carolina. Despite these big Romney wins, however, the President would still have a solid 11 vote victory. Not quite a mandate, but a win is a win for the Obama Campaign. Obama wins 281-257.

Scenario 3: Romney Wins With Ohio


The third scenario, detailed above, is the most likely plan for a Romney victory, and the second  most likely scenario  I have projected. No president has won without Ohio since John F. Kennedy in 1960, and that was with the help of a strong 3rd party candidate who hurt his opponent. If Mitt Romney does not win Ohio, his road to the White House gets a lot tougher. Romney wins 275-263.

Scenario 4: Romney Wins Without Ohio

 For Gov. Romney to win without Ohio would require him to receive any additional electoral votes adding up to 13 or more. As mentioned before, without Ohio, the road gets a lot trickier for Mr. Romney. The most likely way that Mitt Romney will earn these additional votes is by taking Wisconsin and Iowa, totaling 16 electoral votes. There are numerous other ways that he could win without Ohio, but all of these require extremely unexpected Romney wins in Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Scenario 5: Romney Wins In a Tie


In what no doubt would be the most bizarre win in modern presidential history, this scenario involves a tie at 269 electoral votes. With neither candidate winning a majority of electoral votes, the election would pass to Congress, where, per the 12th amendment, the House of Representatives would elect the president, with each state receiving casting 1 vote. This would most likely result in a President Romney.  The interesting part would be that the Senate would have to elect the Vice-President, and in the case of a 50-50 tie, then the tie is broken by the current vice president, who would of course vote for himself. Hence, we have a Romney-Biden administration. Maybe they should have a duel like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. Now that would be interesting.

Scenario 6: Different winners of Electoral and Popular votes


If you are looking for a colorful map with this one, you are going to be disappointed. The fact is that this event could happen with any of the scenarios above. While being the winner of the electoral vote means everything, and being the winner of the popular vote means absolutely nothing, if there was a split, it would prompt serious calls to switch from an electoral system to a system based entirely on the popular vote, which would render my predictions irrelevant. If the election was held today and the polls were 100% accurate, then Barack Obama would win the electoral vote, and Mitt Romney would win the popular vote.  This would be the exact same case as 12 years ago, when Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore, despite the fact that Gore won the popular vote.