Instead, those numbers represent something far more important -- the projected Electoral College count for President Obama (196) and his as-yet-determined Republican challenger (191). USA Today takes a look at the prospects Mr. Obama has of getting to the minimum 270 he needs for re-election.
One year before Election Day, the debut Swing States survey charts a narrower and more difficult course to victory for Obama than he navigated four years ago — and shows opportunities for Republicans in some states that have gone Democratic for decades.
Obama has "had some really good ideas … but he's struggling with trying to get his ideas into place and dealing with Congress, and he hasn't done a very good job with that," Mary Jo Jones, 57, of Grand Rapids, Mich., said in a followup interview after being surveyed.
She supported Obama in 2008 but would consider switching in 2012 to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, if Republicans nominate him. "He seems to be a pretty good businessman, and he might have some ideas to help us on the economy."
One can quibble with the notion of 12 states (I, for one, think it is closer to 6) as being crucial in the coming election, but there's little doubt that Barack Obama is not as popular as he was four years ago. Moreover, the Republican brand isn't as toxic.Michigan, which has backed the Democratic candidate in the last five presidential elections, is among the 12 swing states likely to determine the outcome next year. The others are Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in the South; Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in the Mountain West; Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin in the Midwest; and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in the Northeast.
No, neither of those statements ensures that the president will (or will not) be re-elected.