Karl Rove, who was the political mastermind behind the two George W. Bush elections in 2000 and 2004, assessed Republican chances in the 2012 presidential election.
• Obama won the electoral count in 2008, 365 to 173.
• Reapportionment in congress, based on the 2010 census, means that 18 states have experienced a change in their number of electoral votes. This reapportionment alone would have given John McCain an additional 14 electoral votes.
• Obama narrowly won three traditionally Republican states in 2008: Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina. He “will be hard-pressed to win these states and their 39 electoral votes next year.”
• Ohio, with 18 electoral votes, and Florida, with 29, both went Democratic in 2008. But “a recent Quinnipiac University poll in Florida shows the president losing to a generic, unnamed Republican by three points.”
• There are nine other “battleground states” which Rove expects will again be battlegrounds: New Hampshire (4), Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (six), and Minnesota (10), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5) and Nevada (6).
“The 2012 presidential election is likely to be decided in 14 states. If Mr. Obama loses the three states he narrowly carried in 2008 plus Ohio and Florida, then the GOP would win back the White House by swiping any one of the nine remaining battlegrounds. This is a good place for the party to be right now…. Mr. Obama has the considerable benefits of incumbency but also a dismal record. The electoral map has shrunk for him: Key states that went for him last time are unlikely to do so again. This election is within the GOP's grasp. The quality of the Republican candidate's campaign and message will decide whether it becomes so.”