President Barack Obama faces a changed electoral map in 2012 as the reapportionment of Congressional districts announced Tuesday by the Census Bureau translates to a net loss of six electoral votes for Obama if he were to win every state he carried in 2008.
The new electoral vote tallies for each state would hardly put a dent into his overwhelming margin, as he cleared the 270-electoral-vote threshold with 95 votes to spare two years ago.
The looming re-election battle has yet to really take shape, with more than a year to go before Republican voters begin to choose a candidate to challenge the Democratic president. But at this early stage, it isn’t clear Obama can hold all the states that backed his 2008 bid. Obama won states such as Indiana and Virginia, neither of which had voted Democratic since 1964. Republicans have seen gains in both states since, and GOP operatives say the party is poised to bring both back into the fold in two years.
Democrats were perhaps hit hardest in the 2010 elections in Ohio, where the party lost the gubernatorial race, five House seats, the open-seat Senate race and the state House. Obama won the state two years earlier by 5 points and will likely target the crucial swing state again in 2012.
But like many other states that are necessary for a successful Democratic presidential nominee, Ohio continues to lose Congressional districts as Americans leave the Northeast and Midwest in favor of the South and West.
The loss of two more Congressional districts will give Ohio just 16, which is eight less than when the state peaked at 24 districts in 1960. It has steadily lost districts in every reapportionment since.
Florida’s influence continues to grow, with the state picking up two more districts to give it a total of 27 — 15 districts more than it had 50 years ago. Obama won the Sunshine State by just 3 points in 2008.
Pennsylvania, another Obama state, had 33 districts in 1940, 27 in 1960 and will now be down to 18 after reapportionment. Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York — all Obama states — will also lose seats.
In addition to Texas' gain of four seats, these states won by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008 gained one seat: Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Obama states Nevada and Washington gained one seat each.
These McCain states lost one seat: Louisiana and Missouri.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan dismissed concerns that Obama faces a tougher re-election bid.
“No one imagined the map in 2004 that played out in 2008,” Sevugan said. “But just as it was two years ago, I imagine it will be the case two years from now that the president will be competitive everywhere including in states that went to John McCain and may pick up votes in reapportionment.”
Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.
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