In 2008 Barack Obama won 52.93 percent of the popular vote in the presidential election and 365 of the 538 votes in the electoral college. Because 270 votes is a majority in the electoral college, he won the election. Can he carry both the popular and electoral vote again in 2012? If the popular vote in only a few states is close, the result of the election in the electoral college will hang in the balance. Will we have another scrap in the U.S. Supreme Court, as we did in 2000 with Bush v. Gore?
As an incumbent, Obama must try to keep as many of the states that awarded him 365 votes in the electoral college as he can. He can afford to lose only 95 votes. In 2008 16 states awarded him their electoral votes based on popular votes of less than 58 percent.
Obama's task is harder in 2012 than in 2008 because the 25 states and the District of Columbia that gave him 365 votes in the electoral college now account for only 359 votes. Much of Obama's strength in 2008 came from Northern and Midwestern states; his weakest showing came in the South and the West. The 2010 census showed a shift in the country's population from the North and Midwest to the South and West.
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