The formula for electing Mitt Romney to the presidency isn’t all that complicated. He must hold all the states John McCain won in 2008, take back normally Republican states that went to President Obama such as Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Indiana and win at least one of the major swing states such as Ohio or Pennsylvania. That sounds easy in theory but as the latest round of polling — which, thanks to the Electoral College, are the numbers we should be watching more closely than the national tracking polls —in individual states shows, Romney’s path is far from clear.
While the certain Republican nominee should be encouraged by surveys of voters in Florida and Ohio, the numbers from Virginia and to a lesser extent in Pennsylvania are daunting. As much as the national popular vote looks to be almost a dead heat between Romney and Obama right now, the Democrat’s Electoral College advantage is clear. Even more to the point, unless Romney finds a way to come from behind in Virginia and North Carolina, putting Florida and North Carolina back in the red column won’t matter.