Advertiser Disclosure

Presidential Poker: What States Does Romney Need To Win?

Nov. 1, 2012
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

by Susan Lyon

As they say in poker, it ain’t over ‘til the last hand is dealt.  Such is the case, too, for the 2012 election.  The polling may be very close in key battleground states, but Romney’s statistical odds of winning are at just 20% as we head into the final days before the election.  Most analysts predict an Obama win.

The question remains: what combinations of swing state would Romney need to pull off to win the White House?  NerdWallet’s Presidential Poker Swing States infographic breaks down the combinations of undecided swing states that, if called for Romney on election night, could deliver him just enough electoral votes to win the election:








Romney will have to make it to 270 electoral votes in order to win.  Why 270?  This is the number of electoral votes – out of 538 total votes in the Electoral College – that either candidate will need to win the Presidency.

As of the most recent polling information, Romney is assumed to have about 206 safe votes, while Obama has 253 safe votes.  This means that to get to 270, Romney would realistically need to get at least 64 additional electoral votes to win.  This is out of the 79 up-for-grabs votes on the table – votes not yet assumed to be “safe” for either Obama or Romney.

Romney’s winning equation is: 

206 (safe votes) + at least 64 (swing votes) = 270 (total votes needed to win)

It comes down to 4 critical combinations of these key swing states that could get him at least 64 more votes, laid out in the infographic as the “winning hands” Romney would need one of:

  • Florida (29 electoral votes)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Virginia (13)
  • Colorado (9)
  • Iowa (6)
  • New Hampshire (4)

Whether Romney wins or Obama does, Presidential Poker will end up looking a lot like the card game either way: winner takes all!

About NerdWallet’s Election Prediction Model:

The statistical odds change slightly every day as we incorporate new polling data coming in from crucial swing states into our election prediction model.  Check back daily up until election night for new polling updates.