Newly released state-by-state approval numbers for President Obama suggest that in 2012 he could face fewer options for assembling an Electoral College majority and increased pressure to capture racially diverse states. As a result, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, among others, appear to be evolving into critical battlegrounds on the campaign map.
The polling results, released earlier this week by Gallup, underscore both the stability of each party’s Electoral College base and the shifting roster of swing states that could decide the 2012 contest.
In all, the compilation shows that Obama’s approval rating exceeds his disapproval rating in states with 301 Electoral College votes–well down from his 365 total in 2008 but still enough to win. That total, however, includes North Carolina, where Obama’s approval and disapproval ratings are virtually even, and Georgia, where Republicans remain skeptical that he can seriously compete, despite signals from his reelection campaign that it intends to. If those two are removed from the list, the states in which Obama’s approval number exceeds his disapproval rating provide exactly 270 Electoral College votes, the bare majority needed to win.
Continue reading Ron Brownstein’s analysis here.