According to the RealClearPolitics compilation of state polls, President Obama is well ahead in 19 states and the District of Columbia for a total of 247 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Romney appears certain to win 23 states with 191 electoral votes. That leaves only Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia in play.

If Gov. Romney delivers a compelling message on the economy and jobs and congressman Ryan convinces seniors the ticket has answers to runaway Medicare spending that do not threaten them, the GOP candidates should be able to snag Florida, Iowa, Colorado, and North Carolina. Obama's margin is currently less than 1.5% in each of those states.

Of the remaining states, victories in Ohio and Virginia, with 18 and 13 electoral votes, respectively, would put Romney over the top.

With a robust manufacturing base and history, Ohio voters have a strong affinity for labor unions, and Gov. John Kasich's failed bid to curb public employee collective bargain rights is burdening the GOP. However, with unemployment still at more than 7% in the Buckeye State, Governor Romney has a decent shot at making his case on jobs.

Virginia has a large number of federal employees and contractors and a growing number of African and Hispanic voters. With unemployment at only 5.7%, the state could prove very tough for Romney to capture.

However, choosing Ryan puts Wisconsin, with 10 electoral votes, back into play. If Ryan can deliver the Badger State, Romney likely will become president.
Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.

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