When voters choose Obama or Romney at the ballot box, they are choosing “Electors” who will represent them at the Electoral College. It takes 270 electoral votes to become president. The strategy of the campaigns is to win states with enough electoral votes.
The number of Electors is the number of seats the state has in the House of Representatives plus two senators.
Most analysts say Mitt Romney must win six states won by Barack Obama in 2008. Five of these states are Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana. Winning either Colorado, Pennsylvania or Michigan would give him the sixth state. In addition Romney is hoping to win Michigan, where his father was once governor. However, his opposition to the automobile industry bailout may hurt his chances.
Obama could lose any single state that supported him in 2008 and still be president.
The most important state is Virginia. It is a traditional Republican state that voted for Obama in 2008. The population growth of the state is in the northern suburbs near Washington, DC. It also has a growing Hispanic population. A recent poll has Obama leading Romney, 51 percent to 44 percent.
Experts say the economy will be the most important factor in winning the election. If the economy improves, so will Obama’s chances of being re-elected.