Obama's Electoral Math Getting Trickier

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If the electoral map wasn't looking difficult enough for President Obama in 2012, consider that the electoral math is about to get much more daunting for him. New Census figures released on Friday estimate that blue states in the Midwest and Northeast are due to lose 10 electoral votes (and 10 seats in Congress), and states in the West and South are going to gain a net 10.

Map of the Day Obama won easily in 2008 with 365 electoral votes, but 2012 is going to look more like the "trench-warfare" battles of 2000 and 2004, in which we were a "49 percent nation." 


The Bush-Kerry election is a good example. If John Kerry had won Ohio, he would have won 279 electoral votes, enough to clear the 270 hurdle and win the presidency. But under the 2012 reapportionment, if Kerry had won Ohio, he would have claimed only 269 and still lost to George W. Bush. 

When Franklin D. Roosevelt racked up his big victories in the 1930s, his home state of New York was indeed worthy of the name the Empire State. It commanded 47 electoral votes, while Florida, for example, had only seven. In 2012, Florida and New York will be on par with 29 electoral votes each. 

In Roosevelt's day, the electoral map was titled toward Democrats and the industrial Northeast. In Obama's time, it has shifted to more conservative, rural, and suburban states in the West and South. As the map below from the New York Times shows, small states will always have disproportionate influence -- but some of those small states in the South are getting bigger by the day.

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Patrick Ottenhoff has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. A former staff writer for National Journal Group and project manager at New Media Strategies, he now attends Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. More

Patrick Ottenhoff attends Georgetown McDonough School of Business in the Class of 2012. He previously served as a project manager in the Public Affairs Practice of New Media Strategies and was a staff writer for National Journal Group. Patrick has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. As the name implies, the blog covers news and commentary at the intersection of politics and geography, but it also analyzes the stories, people, culture, sports, and food behind the maps and the votes. Patrick is a native Virginian and graduate of Union College in New York. You can follow The Electoral Map on Twitter and Facebook, and follow Patrick on YouTube.
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