RNC Lays Out 2012 Electoral Map

The chess game to 270 electoral votes is underway. And while the eventual GOP presidential nominee cannot afford to lose Florida in 2012, there are eight other states that the Republican National Committee (RNC) is eyeing in an effort to unseat Obama, The Fix reports.

In a memo obtained by The Fix, RNC political director Rick Wiley notes that Virginia is one of nine states — Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa and Florida are the others — that Obama won in 2008 and President George W. Bushcarried four years earlier.

“His path to re-election must go back through those states, but his prospects there are far from certain,” wrote Wiley. “In only two and a half years, his position in those states, and in many others, has deteriorated dramatically, and Republican strength is in plain view.”

But a detailed look at the states also makes clear the needle that the party must thread to beat Obama.

Start with the 365 electoral votes Obama won in 2008. Subtract the 112 electoral votes these nine states represent — they amounted to the same number of electoral votes in 2008 despite seat gains and losses in four of the states in the 2010 U.S. Census — and Obama is at 253 electoral votes, beneath the 270 he would need to win a second term.

Say Obama won Florida and lost the other eight states mentioned above. He would still be reelected with 282 electoral votes. Give Ohio to Obama and the eight other states to the Republican nominee and Obama is reelected with 271 electoral votes.

Of course, Republicans will also work to make some larger states that have gone Democratic in several straight presidential elections — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin jump to mind — competitive, broadening the national playing field and giving their nominee a bit more wiggle room in the electoral college math.

Obama will seek to counter that by putting places like Arizona and Georgia — Republican states at the presidential level in recent years — in play.

Read more from Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at The Washington Post

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