Does Election 2012 really come down to just 7 states?

Paul Brandhus, founder of the West Wing Report, has a piece up on The Week site arguing that this year’s presidential election hinges on seven swing states–Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

Obama won all of those in 2008, Florida and Ohio most narrowly, by 3 and 4 points, respectively. However, as Mr. Brandhus notes, this is a very different environment, in large part because of the Recession. Unemployment rates are higher in three of those states–Colorado, Florida, and Nevada (where it’s over 12 percent). In Ohio and Iowa, they’re down slightly, and they’re unchanged in New Hampshire and Virginia.

One key factor will be minority voting. Brandhus notes Ron Brownstein’s analyses in National Journal, which I have linked to several times, that indicate the size of minority voter turnout will be critical (which may explain the R’s ferocious efforts to supress voter turnout). If Hispanics and African-Americans turn out in force in November, particularly in states like Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and Virginia, and they vote en masse for Obama, the share of the white vote he needs (and is likely to get) shrinks.



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