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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The 2012 Map

The electoral college is in the news. Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake write at The Washington Post:

As President Obama prepares to visit Northern Virginia on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee is making the case that the Commonwealth — as well as a handful of other swing states — have moved away from the incumbent over the past three years.

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. Bush carried four years earlier.

Here is the full memo, also via The Post:


to: Interested Parties

from: Rick Wiley, RNC Political Director

re: Path to Victory: 2012 Political Map

date: June 8, 2011


President Obama won the 2008 election by flipping nine states George W. Bush carried in his 2004 re-election. His path to re-election must go back through those states, but his prospects there are far from certain. 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. In total, the nine states that moved from George W. Bush to President Obama – Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia – saw one US Senate seat, four Governorships, seven State Legislative chambers and 19 US House seats move from the Democrat to the Republican column during Barack Obama’s term in office, with none of the aforementioned moving in the opposite direction.

-- In Indiana, a state that hadn’t previously voted Democrat in a Presidential election since 1964, Republicans picked up a US Senate seat and two US House seats in 2010, regained control of the State House and added to their majority in the State Senate.

-- In Virginia, another state that hadn’t previously voted Democrat in a Presidential election since 1964, Republicans regained the Governorship and control of the House of Delegates in 2009 and picked up three US House seats in 2010.

-- In North Carolina, a state that before 2008 had last voted Democrat in 1976, Republicans picked up both chambers of the State Legislature and a US House seat in 2010.

-- In Ohio, Republicans held the US Senate seat, regained the Governorship and control of the State House, picked up five US House seats, and picked up three state constitutional offices – Attorney General, Treasurer, and Secretary of State.

-- In Colorado, Republicans gained control of the State House, picked up two US House seats and picked up two state constitutional offices – Secretary of State and State Treasurer.

-- In Nevada, Republicans held the Governorship and gained a US House seat.

-- In Iowa, Republicans regained the Governorship, the Iowa State House and picked up the office of Secretary of State.

-- In Florida, Republicans held the Governorship and a US Senate seat while picking up four US House seats, the office of Chief Financial officer and adding to their majorities in both chambers of the State Legislature.

-- In New Mexico, Republicans regained the Governorship, picked up one US House seat and picked up the office of Secretary of State.

While Republican gains during Obama’s tenure will not alone ensure victory in 2012, they should give President Obama’s campaign team pause and force them to make very difficult decisions about which path to take in 2012. One thing is certain; Republicans have proven every one of these states is winnable for our 2012 nominee. President Obama will be playing defense on a very wide playing field, and all of the new Republican players elected since Obama’s inauguration will be standing in his way.


Glenn Thrush writes at Politico:

“We are preparing a variety of scenarios to get to 270. We are not putting our cards on any one state and don’t foresee doing that,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told POLITICO, rebuffing GOP suggestions that the president’s electoral horizons are shrinking.

“We’re building our ground campaign now,” Messina said, adding that “2011 is about infrastructure.”

Messina would not confirm the content of the half-dozen or so campaign scenarios floating around Obama headquarters – but other Democrats say one map points to alternative pathways if the president underperforms in the Midwest, especially in Ohio, which has suffered disproportionately from the economic downturn, and where Democrats suffered heavy losses in 2010.

And that could likely spark an intensive push in the Mountain West, where squeaker victories by Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) last November have revived Democratic hopes.

On the flip side, a worse-than-expected trend in the critical states of Colorado or Nevada by mid-2012 could force the campaign to shift resources back east to the more traditional battleground Midwest.

Virtually all of the scenarios envision Obama winning either North Carolina or Virginia, centerpieces of his 2008 win and the biggest prizes of the moderating demographic shifts that have opened up parts of the upper south to Democrats.

Still, Obama’s team does acknowledge one area of probable contraction: Indiana, which has, for all intents and purposes turned red despite Obama’s 30,000-vote margin of victory there three years ago.

Indiana will attract fewer Obama resources initially for 2012, “but we could make a late play there like we did last time,” said a senior campaign official.