The Daily Rundown | February 27, 2012
>> deep dive, a brand new nbc news battleground map as we know presidential elections come down to electoral votes . there are 538 of them out there. you need 270 of them to win. usually electoral votes and popular votes line up. remember in 2000 it came down to florida . george w. bush barely won it and he beat al gore by five electoral votes there in 2004 it all hinged on ohio 's then 20 electoral votes . president bush beat senator kerry by 34 electoral votes but that one state would have swung it and could have had two straight elections where the person with the popular vote would have lost. in 2008 we saw a lot of red states go through. large parts of the midwest and a couple southern states turned for the democrats and gave president obama one of the more decisive victories in recent history. carrying both florida and ohio and beat the mccain/palin ticket with 365 to republicans 173. here's the new nbc news battleground map. as we show you back in november our scorecard had it at 196 democratic votes to 195 republican votes here 147 of them tossups. today it moved heavily toward the president. obama's favor. he picked up 1 of these up to 227 for democrats to 197 for republicans and 114 in tossup columns. the big changes in the map, we moved michigan , wisconsin and new mexico to democrat reflecting president obama 's improved strength in these states. we also moved new hampshire from lean republican to tossup and we moved iowa from tossup to lean republican. help me now to break down this, i have mark with me. quickly in the three moves that we made in four of the five moves that we made were in the president's favor all reflecting sort of the state of the current republican race and republican party .
>> that's right. there are a few things going on. the approval rating has inched up. better economic news. last time we did this in november, president was in debt ceiling blues with approval ratings and since that time we've been in the throws of this republican primary season and we've seen mitt romney 's numbers go down with independence and other republicans take a hit and we looked to see what has happened and biggest gains for president obama is reflected in public polling in michigan and wisconsin .
>> ohio is close. tough state for the president. he's still staying competitive and leaning even though the entire obama campaign is designed around winning without ohio .
>> the way to look back in november, you and i both like college football . we're at the 50 yard line. when you move michigan and wisconsin to lean democrat we're at the 40 yard line on the republican territory. if you move pennsylvania back into the lean and that's a state we should be watching in the next couple months, then the 20 or 25.
>> we did some math here and played around with this. there are six different ways, seven different ways for the president to get to 270 electoral votes without florida and ohio and they include some combination of pennsylvania , fastest way to get there, pennsylvania , north carolina and virginia . that gets him 48. he needs 43. he gets it there. they could win three of these four, pennsylvania , north carolina , virginia or colorado and then also make sure that they either win new hampshire or nevada. that gets them there. they have a bunch of paths without florida and ohio . that's the point. that's what they want to do. that's what makes it if you're the republicans , pennsylvania is so key to keeping it a tossup.
>>> all of a sudden come summertime if pennsylvania is a tossup contest, that means that republicans are now fighting on democratic turf. all these states that we're talking about, these are republican states. bush states. that were either won or heavily contested in 2000 or 2004 .
>> if you assume on the republican path that hispanic are a tough road to hoe for the republicans and you concede colorado and nevada to democrats, and you concede pennsylvania , there's only opath they have to win. florida , colorado , virginia . all four of them. that's a tough hoe.
>> this comes down to math. you see by summertime if republicans pretty much have to have a triple bank shot in order to win or if there are many other opportunities and right now what we've seen is we have eight plus months to go, things are looking better for team chicago than they were three or four months ago.
>> today they have more paths to 270 than republicans . good stuff. we'll have a way for everybody in the public to play this game very soon. i promise you.