|Rhode Island – 4
What to say about Rhode Island? It went blue in a big way in 2008, giving Obama 63 percent of the vote to John McCain’s 35, and it’s not like Mitt Romney has been vigorously trying to change that. (Why would he?) This is a safe bet for four electors going blue. Advantage: Obama.
|South Carolina – 9
Back in 1968 when the rest of the Deep South was busy casting ballots for George Wallace and segregationist schools, South Carolina said no thanks and voted for Nixon, swearing solemn allegiance to the Republican flag. Though they did break ranks in ’76 (voting for Carter; everyone was doing it), they’ve been a steadfast right-wing haven ever since. Advantage: Romney.
|South Dakota – 3
We can pretty much wrap the entire line of states that divides the Midwest up into one big Republican machine. Montana, too. One of Obama’s poorest pre-electoral decisions in regards to the area was halting progress on the Keystone XL pipeline that, although it had considerable environmental concerns attached, would have created millions of jobs in a failing economy, a factor even the green voters may have found difficult to ignore. Advantage: Romney.
|Tennessee – 11
Tennessee with its 11 Electoral College delegates is the tip of that Deep South Republican belt and is a safe state to stay red in 2012. If George Bush can roll a Democrat like Al Gore in his home state, then surely Romney can handle Obama, whose standing in the South was never really up for debate in the first place. Advantage: Romney.
|Texas – 38
Texas won big in the 2010 reapportioning of the Electoral College, wrangling four more national votes. In recent years this has been the Republican holy land, and even though its Hispanic population is growing fast, even they tend to vote Republican. Even if they didn’t, flaying Democrats is one of Texas’ hardline evangelical population’s favorite pastimes. Advantage: Romney.
|Utah – 6
With Idaho in tow, we can pretty much chalk up 10 electoral votes to the Romney camp based on religion alone. Whoever said there need be a separation of church and state clearly wasn’t talking about pre-electoral politics. Advantage: Romney.
|Vermont – 3
Outside D.C. and Hawaii (President Obama’s so-called home state), Vermont led the Northeastern uprising that helped propel Obama to office in 2008, giving the sitting president his largest margin of victory outside the two aforementioned areas. Unlike neighbor New Hampshire, Vermont should produce another decisive victory for the incumbent. Advantage: Obama.
|Virginia – 13
Republicans might not like it, but Washington is, both figuratively and literally, beginning to sprawl. As the D.C. suburbs expand into Virginia, the state’s demographics are starting to change; in 2008, Obama carried the once-Republican bunker by a six-point margin, and though this time around it probably won’t be as emphatic, it should still be blue. Barely. Advantage: Obama
|Washington – 12
Not since Ronald Reagan have the Republicans been able to recapture Washington State, thanks in large part to the decidedly liberal leanings of Seattle and the Puget Sound. The rest of the sparsely populated state goes red, but it hardly matters given the concentration in these city centers. Advantage: Obama.
|West Virginia – 5
To say West Virginia is unraveling for the Democrats is an understatement. The state, which once gave overwhelming support to both the Clintons, hasn’t jumped ship but it’s certainly abandoned it; governor Earl Ray Tomblin and senator Joe Manchin, both Democrats, refuse to publically back Obama, and the Dems took a serious blow in their primary, with a Texas inmate serving 17 years on extortion charges garnering 43 percent of the vote. Advantage: Romney.
|Wisconsin – 10
With its ten delegates and line-straddling in past elections, Wisconsin has considerable weight to throw around. Prior to Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore held the state by only half a percentage point, and it looked like the Republicans, riding the discontent of the electorate and a hometown VP, might have been able to steal it back this time around had GOP governor Scott Walker not decided a few months ago to cut down the power of the unions. Never underestimate the power of the vengeance vote. Advantage: Obama.
|Wyoming – 3
Wyoming croaked Obama in 2008, serving up the sitting president’s largest margin of defeat, a whopping 32 points. Our guess is that four years have done nothing to raise the president’s profile in the state. This looks like more than a safe bet for the Republicans. Advantage: Romney.
Final Tally: Barack Obama - 294, Mitt Romney: 244