Republicans’ electoral map problem — in one chart

at 05:02 PM ET, 04/30/2012

In our Monday Fix column, we argued that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney faces a very narrow path to the 270 electoral votes he needs to claim the presidency in November.

What we were most struck by while writing the piece was the fact that it’s been more than two decades since the Republican presidential nominee broke 300 electoral votes. During that same time, Democratic presidential nominees — Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and President Obama in 2008 — have won more than 350 electoral votes.

It’s also a remarkable turnaround from the three successive elections in 1980, 1984 and 1988 in which Republican presidential nominees received more than 400(!) electoral votes.

Here’s a chart we put together detailing the electoral map up and downs for each side in the past three decades:

Nothing in the chart above suggests that Romney can’t win this fall. Rather, it highlights the fact that Romney’s margin for error is both small and smaller than that of President Obama.

 
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