The Road to 270

By Ciera Echols

After over a year of watching primaries, debates, and presidential campaigns, it’s hard to believe that the presidential election will be over Tuesday. After spending the past six months working on the greatest campaign ever—President Barack Obama’s—I am confident and ecstatic that the election results on Tuesday will be in our favor.  However, we must not stop working now! We must keep our foot on the pedal until the last vote is counted.

As many of us have learned over the past years, the Electoral College ultimately decides the presidential election. In order to win the presidential election, a candidate must receive at least 270 votes from the Electoral College. President Obama has a narrow lead in the polls going into Election Day, due to massive early vote turnout in key battleground states.  There are seven key toss up states in this election. These are states that could go to either candidate on Election Day. The common tossup states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ohio. These states have a total of 89 unassigned electoral votes. Unfortunately many analysts are predicting that North Carolina will lean republican in this election.

One of the shortest paths for President Obama to win the election is through winning Wisconsin and Ohio. If the President wins Ohio and Wisconsin, he will win the presidential election. This is assuming that President Obama wins Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, and Pennsylvania (all states projected to lean left). However, if Mitt Romney wins Ohio then this election could be a lot closer than we think. If Obama wins New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Iowa then he will have 263 electoral votes. If Romney wins Virginia and Florida then he will have 243 electoral votes. This scenario makes Colorado and Ohio the most contested states in this election. No Republican president has ever has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. This is just one of the many scenarios that could unfold tomorrow night.

However, despite the many scenarios that may unfold on Tuesday, some analysts are projecting that the election may not end on Tuesday. It is possible that the results will be a 269 – 269 electoral split, which would cause the race to go to the Republican controlled House of Representatives. This body is constitutionally given the right to decide who becomes president if such a scenario were to unfold. Consequently the House would pick Mitt Romney for president. The Senate is the body that would decide the vice president of the United States. Thus the Democratic-led senate would pick Vice President Joe Biden. Therefore, we could possibly have a Romney-Biden ticket. Though the odds of this bipartisan scenario are low, it would be a shocking finish to one crazy election year.

Moreover some analysts are projecting that one candidate will win the popular vote, while the other candidate wins the electoral vote. This is a much more likely scenario than the scenario aforementioned. However, as history has proven (in 2000), the Constitution is very clear about this type of outcome. The candidate who wins the most electoral votes will win the election.

Thus hold on to your seats, Duke! The election outcome tomorrow will truly be one that we will never forget! Make sure to attend one of the numerous election night parties taking place around campus!

Published by Maggie Spini

Maggie Spini is a senior at Duke University, majoring in English.

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