Famed political prognosticator Larry Sabato provides an early glimpse of the 2012 electoral map at The Wall Street Journal.
Both parties are sensibly planning for a close election. For all the talk about how Hispanics or young people will vote, the private chatter is about a few vital swing states. It’s always the Electoral College math that matters most.
Voting is predictable for well over half the states, so even 14 months out it’s easy to shade in most of the map for November 2012.
Republicans therefore are a lock or lead in 24 states for 206 electoral votes, and Democrats have or lead in 19 states for 247 electoral votes. That’s why seven super-swing states with 85 electors will determine which party gets to the magic number of 270 electoral votes: Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13).
Prior to Obama’s 2008 victories in each of these states, several had generally or firmly leaned Republican since 1980. Virginia, which hadn’t voted Democratic since 1964, was the biggest surprise, and its Obama majority was larger than that of Ohio, which has frequently been friendly to Democrats in past decades. Massive Hispanic participation turned Colorado and Nevada to Mr. Obama, and it helped him in Florida.