Dude, I’m nervous.
On the one hand, how seriously should we take a projection that has South Carolina as a toss-up? Maybe this is Rove knowing that his map will get attention and using it to scare conservatives into donating and GOTV volunteering. On the other hand, none of his other state projections look obviously wrong to me. Even if you take New Hampshire and Nevada out of Obama’s “lean” column, he still gets to 271 and a second term.
HuffPo’s Mark Blumenthal is out today with his first electoral map of the campaign too:
The big difference with Rove’s map? Blumenthal gives Florida and its 29 electoral votes to Obama. I’m skeptical that O will take that state again this time, partly because of how well Romney did there in the primary and partly because Rubio will be stumping for him there either as senator or VP nominee. Put that back into the toss-up column and Obama’s at 269, but even then, all he’d need is one win among Nevada, Colorado, or Iowa to give him another four years.
In lieu of giving you my own projection, go look at this one from Ben Domenech, as it seems quite plausible to me. Romney wins Florida, Nevada, and New Hampshire while O takes Iowa, Colorado, and the coveted trifecta of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The only state on which I differ, I think, is that last one. Problem is, even turning Virginia red on Domenech’s map isn’t enough to deliver the election to Romney. He needs to win either Ohio or Pennsylvania on top of it, which is why (a) The One is already busy pandering to blue-collar voters with gimmicks like the Buffett Rule and (b) Rob Portman is likely to be Romney’s VP. The rust belt will probably decide things. Again.