Battleground states: The road to 270 electoral votes to win the presidency
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President Barack Obama has begun his re-election campaign defending traditionally Republican territory that he carried when he won the White House four years ago. Republican Mitt Romney is looking to reclaim any combination of these GOP strongholds now in flux. In the months leading to the Nov. 6 election, both men will talk about how they will galvanize the nation. But in reality, they will lavish travel, advertising and staff on only a dozen states, and even fewer as the vote nears. The political spotlight will shine brightly again on Florida, and the Upper Midwest, especially Ohio. But changes in the nation's demographics will mean heavy attention paid to the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest. If the election were held in April 2012, Obama would safely carry 14 states, mainly the East and West Coasts, and the District of Columbia, with a total of 186 electoral votes. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, probably would prevail in 20 states, primarily in the South and West, worth 156. It's a chess game aimed at reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
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