Could Nevada be the new Florida in determining the winner of the 2012 presidential election? If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee (and, yes, he is still is on track despite Rick Santorum’s surge) my hunch is Nevada will be the mother of all battleground states and here’s why.
Click on this map and you will see how Romney red wins with 272 electoral votes while Obama blue loses with 262.
However, the latest Real Clear Politics (RCP) average shows Obama leading Romney by 4.2%. This RCP poll average is growing in Obama’s favor. It was bumped up by two full points recently with the latest unemployment rate dipping to 8.3% which the Obama-loving press played up to sound like the rate had just dropped below 5%. Additionally, Obama’s growing lead could also be a signal how the GOP primary battle is hurting Romney’s chances. Unfortunately, this battle does not look like it will end anytime soon.
With all that in mind, click on this map to see how RCP views the national electoral landscape. It gives Obama a decisive 217 to 181 advantage right at the starting gate.
My Republican electoral victory theory with Nevada as the last grand prize is based on five important battleground states all turning to Romney. If any one of these five are won again by President Obama it’s game over, four more years.
The five, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana are what I fondly call the red rogue states. Together they account for 86 electoral votes.
In 2008 Obama swept them all, while in 2000 and 2004 they all went for Bush.
For the sake of my fantasy theory, assume Romney is successful in these five red rogue states. Then, add their 86 electoral totals to the 180 electoral votes from the 2008 McCain states. Fortunately for the Republicans, the 2008 McCain states gained a net of six electoral votes in 2012.
(Texas gained four, while Utah, Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina each gained one. Missouri and Louisiana each lost one.)
Add 86 to 180 and Romney is at 266. So close yet so far.
Enter Nevada with six electoral votes up from five in 2008.
In 2008 Obama won it, 55% to McCain’s 43%. Bush in 2004 barely won Nevada 51% to Kerry’s 48%. Then in 2000 Bush was stronger against Gore, 50% to 46%.
Those six electoral votes from Nevada bring Romney to 272 and a seat in the Oval office. (270 are needed to win)
Why do I think Nevada is winnable for Romney given Obama’s 12 point victory there in 2008? Here are a few reasons.
First, Nevada’s Mormon population is 6.5%. If they vote in a block, which is most likely, that gives Romney a huge boost up front.
Second, Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 12.6% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Will Obama’s 2008 hope and change leave Nevada voters hoping for another change in the Oval Office?
Third, are voter registration statistics.
According to the office of the Nevada Secretary of State in January 2012 there were 447,881 registered Democrats and 400,310 Republicans — roughly 10% more Democrats. Then factor in 172,463 non-partisan voters and 48,972 independents for a combined total of 221,435 “up for grabs” voters.
With Nevada’s high unemployment rate is it plausible that 65% of the 221,435 non-aligned voters could break for Romney, leaving 35% for Obama?
If so, that means Romney wins 544,242 to Obama’s 525,383. This assumes all the registered Republican and Democrat voters stay with their party, which of course will not happen, but just how much crossover to expect is difficult to predict at this time. However, you get the idea what it will take for Romney to win.
(Note: there are a total of 1,082,705 registered voters in Nevada. Green, Libertarian, and other comprise 13,079 which are not included in these totals mentioned above. However, if all 13,079 voted for Obama that would bring him to 538,462 compared to Romney’s 544,242.)
Any way you slice it, the general election in Nevada will be a nail biter, maybe even on the scale of Florida in 2000 without the hanging chads. But, considering these three factors Romney could be positioned to pull off a victory.
Here is my favorite Republican victory equation for 2012:
McCain’s 2008 states with net six, plus five red rogue states, plus Nevada’s six with 65% independent vote = 272
Now I know what some of you are thinking, “There is another way for this equation to work,” so here it is.
Let’s say Obama wins Nevada, or rather the unions and Senator Harry Reid “win Nevada” for Obama. Fortunately for Romney, there is another influential little state, where he has a vacation home that just happens to have the last four electoral vote pieces he needs to complete the White House puzzle.
So let’s try this equation once again… McCain’s 2008 states with net six, plus five red rogue states, plus New Hampshire’s four electoral votes = 270.
Then you might imagine how “Live Free or Die” — New Hampshire’s famous Revolutionary War slogan, will be infused with new meaning on election night.