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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Census numbers could give GOP a boost in 2012

Last week’s release of new Census numbers may have been a boon for Republicans across the nation.

Mark Rountree, a Duluth political consultant, ran the numbers and said that while the increase in electoral votes wouldn’t have pushed John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008, the news could be different for 2012.

In all, the McCain states grabbed six more votes in the Electoral College, gaining congressional districts in those areas, while many of Obama’s states experienced a loss of population.

While Obama won North Carolina, Indiana, Florida and Ohio in 2008, Rountree pointed out that those states used to be considered dependable red states, and the president had a small margin of victory there.

“Obama’s numbers have collapsed in these four crucial red states, with the GOP making huge gains in all of them in 2010. Polls say that McCain would clearly win these four states today,” Rountree wrote in a press release from his company, Landmark Communications.

The shift would add 73 more votes to the 179 McCain won in 2008, giving the 2012 Republican nominee a base of 252 electoral votes in 2012, 18 short of the 270 needed to win.

According to Rountree, the electoral math makes Virginia and its 13 votes the first key battleground state, and he pointed out that the GOP elected a new governor there in 2009. That would leave the party with one more state needed for the win, and he recommends Nevada (six votes), Iowa (six), Colorado (nine), Wisconsin (10) or Minnesota (10). All five have had GOP gains since Obama’s election, he points out, with Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa now having Republican governors and majorities in the House and Senate.

“The 2010 reapportionment essentially gives Republicans an additional crucial mid-sized state of six electoral votes toward the goal of 270. The GOP now needs to switch only one traditionally blue state to red in order to win,” Rountree said. “Reapportionment could be the defining moment of the yet-to-be-held 2012 presidential election.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.