Electoral college points to tougher race for Romney

Nobody expects Obama to repeat his performance from four years ago, but he could do substantially worse and still eke out a victory.

Part of this has to do with the increased difficulty for Republicans in the interior west states, which have seen an influx of liberal residents relocating from the coastal west, as well as growth in the Hispanic population.

For instance, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole carried Colorado in 1996, despite losing the election by a landslide, and George W. Bush carried it in both of his successful campaigns. But Obama won the state by 9 points. In 2010, a banner election year for Republicans nationally, Democrats still won a U.S. Senate race there and the gubernatorial election.

It’s also worth noting that in several swing states, the unemployment rate is well below the national average of 8.2 percent.