Romney has a narrow path to 270

Among the tossups is a trio of Western states that Obama carried four years ago: Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. At this early stage, Nevada appears the most competitive because the state’s economy has been decimated by the housing crisis. And Romney’s team is counting on high turnout by Mormon voters there.

But in all the Western battlegrounds (as well as in Florida), Romney’s weak numbers with Hispanic voters pose a serious obstacle. Campaign officials said they will begin to address the problem by focusing on economic issues in their messaging to the Latino community, believing that will overcome damage done during the primaries by Romney’s hard-line stance on immigration.

In each battleground, advisers said Romney hopes to erase Obama’s 2008 margins by appealing to GOP-leaning independents and moderate voters who populate the suburban rings surrounding big cities and who may have grown disillusioned with Obama…

Yet there appear to be only a few ways for the Romney team to expand the electoral map beyond simply winning back states Obama captured from Republicans four years ago. Just as Obama’s campaign plans to compete in reliably Republican Arizona, Romney’s team boasts of possibly scrambling the electoral calculus by putting Michigan and Pennsylvania into play.