Here’s the big picture for the presidency: Romney will win the entire South, including “swing” states North Carolina, Florida and Virginia, plus all the usual solid-red states of the inland West. That gets him to 248 electoral votes. From there, he will need only one state from each of the next two conglomerations of three. He will need to win either Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, plus either Colorado, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. He will indeed take two of those six in the right combinations, and he will be president. And that doesn’t even include New Hampshire (an absolute tossup), Iowa (I think it will go for Romney), or Nevada (probably an Obama state), or the lone elector from the Second Congressional District in Maine, which will go for Romney, too. And it doesn’t include still theoretically possible longer shots Oregon (actually, it’s doable) and New Mexico (probably not). Any of those states could help form other combinations that bring Romney to the 269-269 tie that he needs to carry the day — or better.

What it boils down to is that it is Obama, not Romney, who really has to “run the table” in order to eke out a victory. But he won’t. Romney will win, 284 Electoral Votes to 254 for Obama.

Romney will also win the popular vote, but with a plurality rather than a majority. I have it at Romney with 49.8 percent, Obama with 48.6 percent, and Gary Johnson/Virgil Goode/others at 1.6 percent. (Ignoring the fallacy of misplaced concreteness/misplaced specificity, and just to have some fun, I’ll peg Romney’s total votes at 64,576,316, Obama’s at 62,982,965, and all others combined at 2,135,802.)