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2010 Census Results Delivered a Major Blow to President Obama's Re-election Chances

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The 2010 Census results are in and President Obama's 2012 re-election odds just decreased. The Census Bureau announced last Tuesday announced that the nation’s population on April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538 up from 281.4 million a decade ago. Every 10 years, the bureau releases population figures that are used to distribute the 435 seats in the U.S. House. Fast-growing states pick up seats at other states' expense.

Following each decennial census, the House of Representative’s districts are redrawn to make them roughly equal in population - although each state gets at least one seat regardless of the population. The House now comprises 435 districts. Not surprisingly, redrawing districts usually triggers contentious partisan wrangling if new lines help or hurt either party.

Texas was the big winner this decade; it gained four new House seats. Florida gained two seats. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington gained one new congressional district each. Meanwhile, Ohio and New York lose two seats each, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lose one each.

2010 census results

Note- most of these gains were made by “red” states. Yes… Florida and Nevada were blue states in 2008, but they certainly have their share of conservatives living there.

Most of the states, with the exception of Louisiana, losing seats are “blue states”.

This will mean there could be possibly be ten or more Republicans in the House of Representatives in 2013 just based solely on these population shifts.

Besides, having less influence in Washington, these “loser” states also lose votes in the Electoral College, the body that actually elects the President every four years.  This may have some sobering implications for Obama’s re-election campaign because each state’s electoral vote is equal to the number of congressional seats it has, plus two more for its senators.

Let’s examine these changes based on the 2008 campaign.

John McCain won 173 electoral votes in the 2008 presidential election, but needed 270 to win. However, based on the 2010 Census numbers, the states that McCain won have experienced a substantial net increase in population, while the states won by Obama experienced a net loss of population.

These population changes result in a net six (6) additional Electoral Votes in the "McCain states." In other words, states that voted for McCain now hold 179 Electoral Votes. 270 votes are still required to win. No problem for Obama, right? Wrong.

Much has changed in two years since Obama's election in 2008.

First, the 2010 gubernatorial election results in the swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio will make it much more difficult to win in these two states without the assistance of a friendly governor and part-time cheerleader like Pa. Governor Ed Rendell.

There is more bad news for Obama.

In elections prior to 2008, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Ohio were widely considered to be "Red States”.

Obama won in states that now clearly and strongly oppose his re-election. On virtually the most popular day of Obama's life in November 2008, the President only won North Carolina (which has 15 Electoral Votes) by 1%. In Indiana, with 11 Electoral Votes, Obama just won by 1%. In Ohio, now with 18 Electoral Votes, Obama won by only 4%; and Obama won Florida's 29 EVs by just 3%

Obama's numbers have collapsed in these four crucial Red States, with the GOP making huge gains in all of them in 2010. McCain would probably win these four states today.

In three of these states Republicans now hold total control: Ohio, Indiana and Florida. These three have Republican governors as well as majorities in both the House and Senate. In North Carolina, the GOP controls both the House and Senate, though the governor there is a Democrat (who was elected in 2008, before Obama's numbers collapsed).

What does this mean in terms of the Presidential Election?

The 2012 Republican nominee starts with a base of the 179 "McCain state" Electoral Votes (post-reapportionment), plus an almost certain additional 73 votes from North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Indiana.

That means the Republican nominee starts with a base of 252 Electoral Votes in 2012, 18 short of the 270 needed to win.

Virginia, with 13 Electoral Votes, becomes a key battleground, and today it would clearly go Republican. Republicans took back this state in 2009 with the election of a new Governor. Winning Virginia means the GOP would have 265 Electoral Votes, five short.

If the GOP wins Virginia, it only needs one more state to win the required 270+ Electoral votes. The easiest state-by-state path to success would be through Nevada (6 EV), Iowa (6 EV), Colorado (9 EV), Wisconsin (10 EV), or Minnesota (10 EV).

Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa all have all changed since Obama's election, and today the GOP holds dominant control in all three: Republican Governors as well as GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate. Nevada now has a GOP governor, and the GOP holds the House in Colorado.

The 2010 reapportionment essentially gives Republicans an additional crucial mid-sized state of six Electoral Votes toward the goal of 270. The GOP now needs to switch only one traditionally Blue State to Red in order to win. Reapportionment could be the defining moment of the yet-to-be-held 2012 Presidential Election.

The mantra “Yes, we can!” could very well be drowned out by a sea of red states in 2012.

 

Contact Erik Uliasz at euliasz@philly2philly.com