On Tuesday, Gallup’s seven-day tracking poll had Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 46%. With the incumbent stuck below 50% on the ballot and Mr. Romney’s favorability rising, the Republican challenger has a good shot at winning.
To take the White House, Mr. Romney needs 270 votes in the Electoral College. A “3-2-1” strategy will get him there.
If Mr. Romney carries the states John McCain won in 2008 and regains Nebraska’s second district (the state awards three of its five electoral votes by congressional district, the other two to the statewide winner), the Electoral College will be 14 votes closer than the 365-to-173 total in 2008. That’s because the 2010 Census cost blue states such as Massachusetts, New York and Illinois congressional seats—and electoral votes—while red states such as South Carolina, Georgia and Texas gained seats.
None of Mr. McCain’s states appear in real jeopardy for the GOP this year.
After this initial hurdle, Mr. Romney’s victory road starts with “3”—as in Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, a trio of historically Republican states. In 2008, Mr. Obama won by narrow margins in Indiana (barely 1%) and North Carolina (0.32%).