|Maryland – 10
Anyone who has invested any time into watching David Simon’s The Wire can probably tell you a few things about how the politics of Maryland work and where the power lies. It’s often in the hands of the preachers who preside over the predominantly black congregations, and where Obama’s socio-economic policies are applauded, his newfound approval of gay marriage is not. Still, the state should show up for the Democrats, just maybe not by the margins of years past. Advantage: Obama.
|Massachusetts – 11
One might think Massachusettsians might favor their former governor for a presidential nod, but not over an incumbent Democrat whose entire first term was spent passing a piece of legislation that originated in the Bay State, even if that legislation was first passed by Mitt Romney himself. Advantage: Obama.
|Michigan – 16
Mitt Romney has some theoretical advantages in Michigan: it’s his home state, his father was a well-liked governor, and Democratic victories in the last 20 years haven’t been overwhelming. But he’s got some explaining to do regarding his opposition to the Obama-approved auto industry bailout which basically kept Michigan afloat during the recession. Michigan owes its 16 votes to Obama, plain and simple. Advantage: Obama
|Minnesota – 10
Minnesota represents the western edge of Democratic strength in the Midwest, and its 10 Electoral College votes are critical to Obama’s reelection. Polls are currently giving the president a seven-point edge over Mitt Romney, who fumbled the state in the primary, losing the popular vote to Rick Santorum and the delegates to Ron Paul. Advantage: Obama.
|Mississippi – 6
Polling in 2008 indicated that self-identified born-again or evangelical Christians make up almost half of the state’s voting population. They will not be thrilled by President Obama’s stance on gay marriage. This is a Republican fortress anyway, unlikely to be penetrated by any left-leaning sentiments. Advantage: Romney.
|Missouri – 10
Hands down the most surprising state in the 2008 campaign, John McCain carried Missouri by only about 4,000 votes. Many Democrats thought a coup could be afoot, with St. Louis and Kansas City coming out strong for Obama, but the Left has lost ground here over the last four years; Mizzou should fall safely back into Republican hands. Advantage: Romney.
|Montana – 3
Montana was, shockingly, a state in play in 2008, with the Democrats dumping considerable resources into rallying the small mining and liberal-leaning college towns that pepper the state. In the end, Obama lost by a mere 2.4 percentage points. Considering the general trend all around, that margin is expected to widen. Advantage: Romney.
|Nebraska – 5
Nebraska is the other state that employs the congressional district method of voting, and for the first time in the state’s history, Obama stole one of the Electoral College votes away from John McCain in 2008. The reason? As usual, it was a metropolitan city center, the congressional district that included Omaha. Could it happen again? Maybe, but Nebraska is still going red. Advantage: Romney.
|Nevada – 6
At one time Nevada was a staunch Republican stronghold, but as demographics change (the Hispanic population now represents almost a quarter of Nevada’s total) so do allegiances. With anti-immigration rhetoric at an all-time high in this election, Nevada is looking a little bluer than it once was. Advantage: Obama.
|New Hampshire – 4
New Hampshire, a self-proclaimed coronator of presidents past, is a state in play in 2012. With Mitt Romney’s strong showing in the Republican primary and roots all through New England, the Republicans might make New Hampshire the one red state in the Northeast. Then again, John McCain rolled New Hampshire in the 2008 primary only to lose emphatically to Obama in the general. This is honestly as close a toss-up as they come in an election where four Electoral College votes matter. We’ll call it, but not confidently. Advantage: Obama.
Tally: Barack Obama - 159, Mitt Romney - 144