President Barack Obama will be hard-pressed in 2012 to hold on to three traditionally Republican states — Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina — that he narrowly won in 2008, GOP strategist Karl Rove writes in The Wall Street Journal.
That difficulty, coupled with Obama’s sketchy approval numbers in the crucial swing states of Florida and Ohio could spell trouble for his re-election chances.
All the Republican nominee needs is those five states, plus a victory in any one of nine additional states in which the Democratic president is now vulnerable.
“This is a good place for the party to be right now,” Rove writes.
Fourteen states in all with 172 electoral votes are up for grabs, according to Rove’s analysis. (A candidate needs 270 to win the election.)
In addition to the aforementioned five, likely battlegrounds include New Hampshire and Nevada, where polls show Obama trailing former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.
Polling in Pennsylvania shows Obama also faces a credible challenge there from Romney as well as a generic, unnamed Republican candidate.
Obama has numerical leads but not majority support in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Rounding out the list of nine, Colorado and New Mexico also present opportunities for a strong Republican challenger in 2012.
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