I am starting to work with the Electoral College EV-distribution for 2012, 2016 and 2020:
Here is a composite map of the "Kerry" (2004) and "Gore" (2000) states:
Watch what happens in a worst case scenario if just VA becomes cemented into the democratic column:
Yep. With VA we come to 270. This would be a worst case scenario for Obama and amazingly, he could still win the White House without 2/3 of the "Trifecta": Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. According to polling thus far, these states appear all but guaranteed for President Obama in 2012, even under bad circumstances, even Ohio and Florida.
But let's take into account massive hispanic growth, the fiasco over "papers only" in AZ, plus three other worthy goals for the President: adding GA, MO and MT to the DEM column. Here is a very possible outcome in a match-up between President Obama and ex-Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who stepped down in disgrace for having an affair with an intern while he was prosecuting then President Bill Clinton for having an affair with an intern. Yes, THAT Newt Gingrich:
And based on polling overall and assuming a good +15 to +20 point romp over the half-term, quitter ex-governor of Alaska, Ms. Sarah "Crosshairs" Palin, here could be a good scenario for a match-up between her and President Obama:
And of course, it is way too early, but the conjecture is fun and it is good practice learning the new electoral math and how it adds up. Assuming the traditional democratic column of the entire NE, the entire West Coast, plus the critical Midwest states that tend democratic and at least the one state in the Union with the highest proportion of hispanics (NM), with VA cemented into the democratic column (and this possibility is a very realy one, statistically speaking, due to the population explosion in the NOVA area of the state), then a rough-riding example for the President in a nail-biter election still shows an extremely competitive field.