The presidential election in November 2012 will be decided by a few voters in a few swing states. Most folks have chosen their side and most states are not in play.
Some polls estimate that there are only 10% of voters to be had. These voters are not partisans. They are not demographically-challenged. They are thoughtful and pragmatic.
Real Clear Politics predicts there are only 11 states that are toss-ups. President Obama won nine of them last time around, but President Bush won ten of them in 2004. "Toss-up" is an understatement.
Since there is such a small number of voters in key states, it might only take a nuanced notion to tilt the scale one way or the other. And the very public mishandling of two major Supreme Court cases by the Obama administration may be enough to send Mitt Romney to the White House.
Obama supporters have made it very clear that the president is the smartest guy in the room. So it would naturally follow that he must be appointing quality people for important government jobs. His Solicitor General Donald Verrilli must, then, be a rock star – right?
But Verrilli has stumbled and mumbled his way through two public show trials – the fight against the ObamaCare individual mandate and the Arizona immigration law case. Since he is Democrat-appointed and thus not available for being the target of the Obama “blame game,” there must be another reason for his poor performance.
It is simple. The government’s arguments in these two cases did not make legal sense and attempted to stretch the Constitution beyond a reasonable limit.
A problem for the president is that the target electorate – undecided voters in swing states – get this. An even bigger problem for the president is that five of the 11 states in play are ones most attuned to these two cases.
Swing voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia will lean toward Mitt Romney because they will view President Obama as the “Over-reacher- in-Chief.” These states will put Romney within 18 electoral votes of the magic number. Then a win in Ohio – or wins in likely states like North Carolina and Missouri - will seal the deal.
It’s not just the economy, stupid – it’s also the math.