The GOP's uphill path to 270 in 2016

Frey analyzed nine states and found little good news for the Republicans. He found five — Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Nevada — definitely moving toward the Democrats because of their growing diversity. Obama won all but North Carolina in both of his presidential races.

Frey cited Ohio as one state that could become more hospitable to Republicans, because aging white baby boomers continue to make up a large part of the population there. Noting that candidate quality can make a difference, Frey wrote in an e-mail, “Democrats would have to be lucky and much more pro-active with blue collar whites to continue success there.”

He saw some glimmers of hope for Republicans in Michigan and Pennsylvania, if the GOP can find the right candidate. But he also saw potential problems for the party in states such as Georgia and Arizona, which he said could be toss-ups by 2016 and could lean Democratic in the long run.

Frey said three states — Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin — will probably continue to be toss-ups, in large part because of smaller minority populations. But none can be said to be moving in the GOP’s direction.