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Romney’s Challenge: Getting 270 from 7.9

In the second in a series of posts ahead of the impending Presidential Election, The Commentator’s Contributing Editor, Dr. James D. Boys offers his thoughts on whether Romney can lock up the electorial colleges

Romney needs to fight... hard
Dr. James Boys
On 2 November 2012 15:04

In the second in a series of posts ahead of the impending Presidential Election, The Commentator’s Contributing Editor, Dr. James D. Boys offers his thoughts on whether Romney can lock up the electoral colleges


As the 2012 Presidential Election heads into its final weekend of campaign rallies and seemingly endless TV commercials, the numbers game is beginning to dawn on many who had previously discounted such political arithmetic.                                                                              

American Presidential polices, after all, is a numbers game. Electoral mathematics is ultimately the most important game of addition that can possibly be attempted. In American politics, numbers abound:

50: Number of States

270: Number of Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency

7.9: National unemployment rate

171,000: New jobs added to the economy this month

4: Days to go until Election Day

2 billion: Amount expected to be spent on the campaign

Days before the election the final economic figures reveal a total contradiction, offering ammunition to both sides. The national unemployment rate is up to 7.9%, but 171,000 jobs have recently been added.

With an economic record this mixed, the only question is; how come Obama is still favourite to win re-election? Indeed, now that campaigning has resumed, this has become a key question.

Rather than this being reported as the election that Obama couldn't lose, stories are now emerging that ask how Romney could have squandered the election considering the state of the economy! This is indeed a turnaround from last week and reveals a fascinating insight into the inner workings of the media.

For weeks the Romney surge was discounted and is only being addressed retrospectively, at a time when it appears to have possibly stalled. This is being presented as evidence that the Republicans have somehow thrown away a comfortable victory, yet this is far from supported in the polling or in the election narrative to date.

Indeed, as the days grow short, and polling gets closer, the US media outlets are turning their attention to what we in Europe are thinking.

Rather, this has been a case of a Republican surge in recent weeks that has threatened to overwhelm the incumbent to a point whereby the White House has been desperately attempting to get voters to the election booths early, lest they be swayed in the final days of the campaign into voting for Romney.

The media outlets, of course, need an easily relatable narrative, but the emerging tale of a last minute Republican capitulation is simply inaccurate and serves only to further distort the record of this election season. With gas lines forming on the eastern seaboard, will voters be reminded of the 1970s and the final days of the Carter Administration?

For Mitt Romney the final 4 days of the campaign have a single rationale: Getting 270 Electoral College votes out of 7.9

Dr. James D. Boys is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. He is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, Associate Professor of International Political Studies at Richmond University in London and a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Policy Institute. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @jamesdboys


Read more on: electoral college, US2012, us elections, US Election 2012, Mitt Romney, and barack obama
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