The early results portend a close election so long as current conditions—high unemployment, spiking gas prices, enormous budget deficits—persist and neither candidate endures a Michael Dukakis "tank moment." Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake of The Washington Post cited a Pew Research poll that says as much as $2 billion will be spent on this campaign, but just 7 percent to 12 percent of all the voters in America are actually "persuadable."
But, as University of Virginia political prognosticator Larry Sabato says, "National polls are nice, but Electoral College math is what matters." In other words, it all comes down to which candidate can achieve 270 electoral votes.
With so many voters having already made up their minds, it should come as no surprise that the outcome of the election has largely been determined in at least 35 states. Sorry dreamers, but Massachusetts is not going to flip for its former governor, and Texas is not going to go for the president.
Romney's outlook doesn't seem that rosy to me. He has a feasible path to victory, but he must sweep Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. If he loses any of them, President Obama almost certainly will win re-election.
The early numbers tell us Romney indeed can pull it off. But it will take a lot of work and nearly perfect execution. The message to Republicans: It's time, right now, to roll up your sleeves and get to work.