Friday, October 19, 2012

CNN John King

CNN John King, It is a very different year - and very different mood -- as Democrats gather for their convention. But there is one carryover from 2008: To win the White House, Barack Obama will once again have to make history.

Four years ago, it was a groundbreaking victory for the first African-American to win the presidency. Now, to win four more years, it is a less glamorous but still significant barrier in his way: only Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected with unemployment this high.But while the historic statistical models would suggest defeat looms in November, the president arrives in Charlotte with several key advantages in the race, and with an easier path to 270 Electoral College votes and victory than his Republican rival.

Among the advantages:

? Incumbency: Yes there are downsides to this, but the stage and powers of the presidency are on the whole an advantage, especially in a close, competitive race.? More room for error: Mitt Romney needs to win Florida and Ohio, and at least two of these three -- Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin -- to have a realistic shot at 270. Obama, on the other hand, enters his convention with several paths to cobble 270 together.

Zelizer: What Democrats need to do in Charlotte

? Demographics: As long as the GOP has a crisis with Latino voters, there is a built-in Democratic edge in several key states. New Mexico, not long ago a presidential swing state, is barely mentioned as a potential GOP target. And Nevada is a competitive tossup despite the highest unemployment rate among the states and a punishing housing crisis.

Yet the challenges are obvious.

While his path to 270 has more room for error, it is very different from the lopsided Democratic advantage in 2008.

Then-Sen. Obama won three states that hadn't voted Democratic for president in more than a generation -- Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia. His campaign already concedes Indiana is an almost-certain red state this year, and North Carolina and Virginia are tossups. So are Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado -- all states where the president's margin was fairly comfortable four years ago.

Poll: Romney 47%, Obama 43% in North Carolina

The economy is of course the driving force behind the very different 2012 map and mood.

The unemployment rate in February 2009 -- Obama's first full month is office -- was 8.3%. Last month, it was 8.3%
Title: CNN John King
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