Earlier today, we laid out what we believe is the most likely path for President Obama to win the 270 electoral votes he needs to be re-elected in five day time. Now, we do the same for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Romney's path -- as we have long maintained -- must go through Ohio to have the air of plausibility to it. (There are ways to add Romney states up to 270 electoral votes without the Buckeye State but they require a bit of willing suspension of disbelief.)
The Romney map looks a lot like the map that gave George W. Bush a second term in 2004. In that race, Bush won the south -- up to and including Virginia, North Carolina and Florida -- swept the Plains and held his own in the Mountain West.
Romney's likely map in 2012 subtracts New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada -- all three of which he is currently trailing -- and adds New Hampshire from the Bush map.
Bush's map in 2004 won him 286 electoral votes. Romney's likeliest path nets him 279.