The tricky 2012 math for President Barack Obama
Battleground states shown in white are home to the 156 electoral votes that are up for grabs in 2012. See an interactive map of how the electoral college vote breaks down.
There's good news for President Barack Obama as he sweeps into Florida on Tuesday to raise money in a state where barely four in 10 voters approve of his performance: He can lose Florida's 29 electoral votes and still comfortably win re-election in 2012.
Thanks to the expanded political playing field he helped create three years ago, even a long-standing presidential election axiom — whoever wins two out of three between Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio wins the White House — is out the window.
Obama could lose all three of those mega battleground states, 67 electoral votes combined, and still have more than enough to win the required 270. That's because in 2008, Obama overwhelmingly won the electoral vote, 365 to John McCain's 173.
Now the bad news for Obama: It's absolutely plausible nearly one year out from the election that he will lose all three of those states — and a whole lot more. His approval ratings in Pennsylvania and Ohio are just as bad as in Florida, and his poll numbers are grim throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.
No question the headwinds are against Obama compared to 2008, when he was the outsider campaigning on change, and his campaign is carving out multiple paths to 270. But in a wave election amid a harrowing economy, even the deepest electoral vote cushion may not be enough to deliver a second term.