June 4th, 2012
12:26 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Electoral Map: Seven states up in the air in fight for White House

Washington (CNN) - With just over five months to go until the November election, a new CNN Electoral Map indicates a tight battle between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

According to the CNN map unveiled Monday, the president leads Romney in 19 states and the District of Columbia, which if he carried those in the general election would give him 247 electoral votes. Romney, the unofficial GOP presidential nominee pending the party's convention, leads in 24 states, which would give him 206 electoral votes.

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The map currently indicates that seven states are true toss-ups. Those states are Colorado (9 electoral votes), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13). Eighty-five electoral votes are up for grabs in those seven states.

Four states currently lean towards Obama: Michigan (16), New Mexico (5), Pennsylvania (20) and Wisconsin (10). Four states currently lean towards Romney: Arizona (11), Indiana (11), Missouri (10), and North Carolina (15).

"Elections generally break one way late, meaning if you head into the final weeks with six toss-ups, four or five - and sometimes all - break with the winner. And so that could well happen this time. But if you look at the map today, this looks a lot more like Bush vs. Gore than it does Obama vs. McCain," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, anchor of "John King, USA."

"It's no surprise that Florida and Ohio are toss-ups and potential 'deciders' - they traditionally play that role in presidential politics. What is fascinating is the number of plausible scenarios under which one or two of the 'smaller' battlegrounds could prove decisive," King added. "Iowa and New Hampshire, for example - what a delicious storyline if it all ends in the states where it began. Colorado and Virginia are relative newcomers to the 'swing state' role, and now critical to what amounts to a multi-dimensional chess game."

Overall, 15 states right now are either toss-ups or lean towards either the president or Romney.

"The 2012 presidential election likely will be decided by these 15 key states, worth a total of 183 electoral votes," CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon says. "Determining what qualifies as a battleground state is not an exact science, but it's a rough mix of several criteria, including polling, past election results, the state's political, demographic, and economic trends; whether the campaigns and parties will devote resources to the state, such as ad spending, candidate visits, field offices, and staff, and the presence of other high-profile races on the ballot. CNN's Electoral Map will take into account all these factors, as well as its own reporting and analysis."

There are factors that aren't as clear as what the map shows, King said.

"President Obama starts with a mathematical edge and the psychological advantage of knowing he won each of the tossups last time. A different year, yes, but in most places he has veteran teams who know the states and so also know where there are weaknesses and erosion when compared to 2008. Governor Romney has less room for error - he has to win Ohio and most likely needs to win Florida, too."

What else to look for? Efforts by both campaigns to change the map, King said.

"Can, for example, Team Romney wrestle Wisconsin and/or Pennsylvania out of the 'Lean Obama' and into competitive toss-up territory? Doing so would not only give them more options on a path to 270, but also force the Democrats to adjust travel and ad strategies some.

"And ditto for Arizona when it comes to Team Obama - if they can accelerate the progress they are making there, it could give them a potential backup state to offset a loss or losses elsewhere," King continued. "An Arizona-New Mexico-Colorado-Nevada bundle in the West, for example, would allow President Obama to survive struggles in Florida and/or Ohio. More of the chess match."

Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are spending big bucks to put up TV commercials in many of these states, with independent groups also pouring in money to run ads. Both the president and Romney have made campaign stops in many of these states, and both camps are increasing their troops there, as well.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Poll: Romney's favorable rating jumps, but Obama still more popular

Romney backer offers soft Obama praise

Barrett on a presidential visit: Obama's busy


Filed under: 2012 • CNN Electoral Map • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. TomInRochNY

    So, all those yellow states are going to turn blue. Cool! :-)

    June 4, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Which means Virginians and many other states will be bombarded with slanderous GOP/corporate PAC money to spread endless lies trying to create a false Obama who they think they can beat.
    But the thinking majority of Americans won't be fooled by the GOP/tees lies.

    June 4, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    Just how many of those swing states have voter surpression laws in effect or going into effect?

    June 4, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Blindersoff

    Romney is done, stick a fork in him already!

    June 4, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. d

    Michigan is NOT a battleground state. Latest polls show Obama leading Romney by double digits. Michigan's voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1992. We have two Democratic senators, and a Republican governor who ran as a moderate.

    June 4, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Bren

    CNN........You are crazy if you think that Obama will win Wisconsin. If Walker wins tomorrow, Wisconsin goes to Romney!!

    And, due to Obama's support for gay marriage--and the number of evangelicals in these states-–Romney easily wins Virginia, North Carolina, and Missouri.

    Also, all other polling sources say that Indiana will be won by Romney.

    Arizona is easily won by Romney--no matter how many Arizona State Univ polls say differently (where they pick certain districts to poll, that are heavily weighted Democrat). Over half of the population in Arizona are Mormons. And, out of the remaining voters-at least half of those voters do NOT like/support Obama.

    June 4, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. ClemVinson

    Interesting that Michigan would be considered a battleground state. Didn't Romney throw them under the bus recently (let them go bankrupt)? For a state which all but died under republican rule, they sure don't learn too quick. Being a native Detroiter, I really believe Michigan will deliver for Obama. Unions, manufacturing, and minorities dominate all of southeastern Michigan, and that area is home to 40% of the states population. Not much of a battleground once you actually look at the situation on the ground.

    June 4, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. imho44

    For this math to work outside the states marked as solid red in the map above the article, CNN has also given Romney Arizona (11), Indiana (11) and Mirssouri (10); and I'm ok with that. What does not make sense is that they have also given Romney North Carolina (15). In most polls Obama is winning in NC, by slight margins but ahead. NC is a tossup state. Bringing Romney's total down to 191 against Obama's 247. The "true toss up" states come to be eight (including NC) and total 100 votes. Out of that 100 votes Obama needs to pick up 23 against Romney's 79. If Romney wins is going to be by a very small margin, Obama on the other hand could win by a landslide.

    June 4, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Wake up people

    @Clem vision, did you forget about Oakland County?? You know they will vote republican. I'm a native Detroiter also and I think we are going to deliver for President Obama. I am out almost everyday asking people if they are registered to vote and to remember vote straight Democratic ticket because our President can not do it alone! Nice talking to a fellow Detroiter!

    OBAMA 2012!

    June 4, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    Michigan and Pennsylvania are NOT battelground states. Obama will carry both easily

    June 4, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Irma in North Carolina

    Lets hope and pray Mitt doesnt make it to the white house. It is really scary what will happen to the older people and I am one of the older people. I just for the life of me cant figure out why the american people would vote for somebody like Mitt, I just hope they wake up in time.

    June 4, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Joan

    Has anyone else noticed that the ten poorest states in the nation are red states? Also, do the people in these states who want less government and for the government to stay out of their lives know that they get the most unemployment insurance, medical aid, food stamps and all of the other government assistance? They get more than they pay to the federal government. The stimulus money that they gladly took was to create infrastructure jobs but the governors used it to pay down their mismanaged debt. They also keep saying to cut the size of government but that means teachers, firemen, policemen, postal workers, etc. Are none of the Republicans in those states part of those professions? It seems the poor red states are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They don't really know what their lame rants about less government really mean.

    June 4, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Wake up people

    Oops that should have said Clem Vinson.....

    June 4, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. California Gary

    That any of those states are even thinking about voting in favor of Romney is disheartening to me. We've worked to hard to start digging out of the hole the GOP left us in to turn back to those same GOP policies. If we learned anything from the Bush years, it's that the trickle down economic approach is a failure......and Romney's approach to fixing the economy has traickle down written all over it.

    June 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Expat American

    MI = battleground state (?)

    June 4, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. tee27

    Mitt has pulled out of Pennsylvania he`s trying to steal Florida

    June 4, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Bren

    I guess that some of you missed the article in the Washington Times over the weekend.......Let me summarize-many Democrats in PA-including union members-saying that they are not voting for Obama. There are many voters in PA that live in areas that border West Virginia--and we all know what West Virginia voters think of Obama!! Also, many PA voters (just like in West Virginia)--that do not like Obama's attacks/attempts to destroy the coal industry, PA is a coal producing state. Many PA voters that do not like the fact that Obama did not support/approve the Keystone Pipeline as well. And, don't forget the numerous PA voters who live in very wealthy areas of PA-areas that border NJ (where Romney is expected to take the votes).

    And, I guess that you also missed the article from last week--a very high profile PA Democrat who publicly announced that she was switching to the Republican Party and voting for Romney-because the Democrats support for gay marriage and sex-selection abortion, is against her Catholic upbringing (and many other reasons as well, such as the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left). Bottom line--there are many PA Democrats who are definitely not happy with Obama. They may not vote for Romney, but they will stay home!!

    June 4, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |