It’s early in the head-to-head campaign, with some polls showing Romney ahead and others showing Obama. The deciding factor, of course, is the electoral college. It takes 270 to win. According to this analysis in the Washington Post, Obama has 196 electoral votes tied up, with 41 leaning his way (total=237). Romney has 170 solid, with 21 leaning (total=191). There are 110 electoral votes in play that could go for either candidate, which means that the election will be decided by nine states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Here is a likely scenario: Southern states break for Romney (Virginia 13, North Carolina 15, Florida 29; Total: 248) as do the Western states (Nevada 6, Colorado 9; total: 263), and throw in New Hampshire (4; Total: 267). The upper midwest states states go for Obama (Wisconsin 10, Iowa 6, Ohio 18, Pennsylvania 20; Total: 291). Obama wins.
Romney would have to get at least one of the upper midwest states, though the economically-depressed rustbelt tends to lurch to the Democrats. Then again, rural Iowa would be enough to elect Romney.
Do you see any of these states going in a different-than-predicted direction?