Looking at the RCP electoral college map The familiar maps of 2000 and 2004 come to mind. I think the best case scenario is we are still a narrowly divided country, and the electoral math will switch some safe Dem states away. Add in the reallocation of Electoral votes from IL, OH, MI adds slightly less importance to our district. Looking forward to November 2012 makes me wonder if Mitt Romney can change the math on these 6-7 states. IL is a lost cause and is Obama's home state..if Illinois is in play then Obama is losing by Mondale/ McGovern numbers.
In 2000 and 04 Bush won OH and IN twice and Iowa once, while barely missing Wisconsin both times. Iowa was Florida close in 2000, but Bush lost it once and then won it in 2004.
What has happened since 2004?
2006 was a cleansing year where the Dems took control of lots of swing congressional seats and control of both Houses. The GOP purged a lot of RINO's, in that same year. 2008 was the Hope & Change/ American Idol year..and the Dems held both House and Senate and the GOP lost even more swing seats, including extremely tight Senate seats like Minn. where Al Franken stole an election.
Then came the TEA Party, and the world was changed...But for how long? In 2010 the TEA Party almost re-captured the Senate having been down by 20 seats!, it re-took the House having been down by 75 seats. Including capturing HALF of the so-called "Blue Dog" seats. In the Lake Superior ring every single Congressional district switched from Dem to GOP control. MI #1, 2 seats in WI and one in MN. We have seen the retirement or defeat of long timers like David Obey, Bart Stupek, and now Dennis Kucinich is gone too! In 2010 GOP Gov's won in IA, OH, MI, WI, and Indiana already had Gov. Mitch Daniels. The GOP lost 2 very close races in both IL and MN for Gov..that took several days to sort out!
6 of 7 State Assbly's in these states are now under GOP control WI, MI, OH, MN, IA and IN. 5 of 7 State Senates in these states are under GOP control WI, MI, OH, MN and IN. There is no question that the TEA Party almost beat Harry Reid in Nevada, the Senate Majority leader. There is no question the influence of the TEA Party in 2010....but what about 2012?? We are about to see just how much influence this group of loosely organized activists will continue its resurgence and it's dramatic take over of the GOP and it's influence in purging the Dems of Blue Dogs, (Down by 7 from 26 already this year. and possible 3-6 more in November).
As I look at the map cited above, I can't imagine that the TEA Party and Mitt Romney's Michigan roots won't effect the electoral map this time around. Furthermore if Paul Ryan or Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty is the GOP VP it could add even more emphasis on the Mid-West and change the results. I don't see where Obama goes to get the EV's he will lose in the Mid-West. Obama won IN and Ohio last time, and it is true that no GOP President has ever won without Ohio if Michigan is in play for Mitt he could afford to lose Ohio if it was needed, but I think that is unlikely.
Romney and Obama are showing close races in Ohio and Iowa..and at the moment WI, MN and MI are leaning Dem at the moment and IN is leaning GOP; IL is solidly Blue at the moment. Nationally the Romney and Obama polls are very close to even at the moment. This Fall will also have several Senate races that could be very close. WI, OH, MI, and IN, and a special election in IL because the GOP Senator has decided to retire due to health reasons. MN has a Senate race but I think Sen. Amy Klobuchar D is safe at the moment.
With all of the strength of the TEA Party from 2012 and the newly "RED" power in these historically "BLUE" areas could be the beginning of the "Red" resurgence and the Rust belt could recover..as we change our Union attitude and embrace changes like lower taxes, control of spending, and Right to work laws like Indiana has done. I think the reputation of Mitt as a "Moderate" will actually drive the mid-west and the entire country well on it's way to the "Right". They used to call the South the "Solid South"..now it's Solid "RED"..Wisconsin is the next Red State..and Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and maybe even Minnesota are trending our way!
Also even though it's not in the "Mid-west"..keep your eye on Washington State.