As the presidential candidates get ready for the first debate in Denver Wednesday, President Obama’s path to reaching the 270 electoral votes he needs for a second term is clear while Mitt Romney’s continues to narrow, points out the Associated Press. If the election were held today, Obama would almost certainly win at least 271 electoral votes, while Romney would get 206. In order to gain the upper hand Romney would have to beat Obama in almost all of the nine states where the race could be considered competitive.
The AP is hardly the only one delivering bad news to the Romney camp this weekend. Earlier, The New Yorker’s John Cassidy wrote that polls show Obama gaining at least 300 electoral votes, “and possibly quite a few more.” Meanwhile, Politico points out that, except for Indiana, Obama could see a repeat of the Electoral College map that took him to the White House four years ago.
The National Journal takes a look at how one of Romney’s biggest challenges is the “yawning gender gap” that gives the president a big advantage with women. The New York Times’ Nate Silver increased Obama’s chance of winning to 83.8 percent, from 82.7 percent on Friday. And the Los Angeles Times talked to voters who last month said they were undecided and have been leaning toward Obama lately. Significantly, even those who say they back Romney can’t help but express a certain feeling of disappointment about the Republican’s campaign performance.
In order to beat out Obama, Romney would have to take Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia, putting him at 267 votes, and then reverse Obama’s lead in either Ohio or Iowa to take him over the final threshold, points out the AP. Needless to say, a difficult feat to pull off. The big problem for Romney, points out The New Yorker’s Cassidy, is that Obama has been leading in Pennsylvania and Michigan for months, two traditional battleground states, meaning that right now he seems to be virtually assured 237 electoral votes, while Romney only has the 191 votes from the 23 states traditionally seen as safe Republican bets.
“All this has left Romney with an extraordinarily tight path and few options but to bear down in the states where he is competing aggressively,” notes the AP. “Time, though, is running out.”