President Obama is ahead, by 20 Electoral College votes of the 270 Electoral College votes required for re-election.
However, simply running a mouse over the key swing states at the link-not on the map above on the states of:
Ohio/Virginia/Iowa/Nevada/Wisconsin, it can be seen that this lead is tenuous. In fact in most of these states he has only around a 2 point lead.
Thus a small shift, as the map below shows, in Iowa/Ohio/Wisconsin would bring a 269/269 tie and throw the election into the House of Representatives. There are a number of ways in which a 269/269 tie could be reached, this example is one of the most plausible.
Maine, which assigns its Electoral votes by Congressional district, could be the tie breaker under another scenario as one of its Congressional districts is showing Romney in the lead. If that happened on election day, and the rest of the states played out as per the map, then Romney would win 270 to 268.
In this scenario President Obama would not have the 270 electoral college votes needed for outright victory, being tied at 269 with Romney. Under the constitution Romney, the presumptive GOP standard bearer, and President Obama, would, be the candidates the House would decide from.
Every state would have one vote based on the result of each states party representation. Thus, for example New York's one vote would go to Obama and Wyoming's one vote would go to Romney.
Given it would be unlikely that the GOP would lose control of the House in the 2012 elections and that, on the most recent analysis, the GOP would have a majority of the 50 states votes voting based on caucus outcomes when balloting.
This scenario played out before. In the election of 1824 Andrew Jackson finished first with more electoral votes than John Quincy Adams, William Crawford came third and Henry Clay fourth. With Clay eliminated he threw the support of his states to Adams, who was duly elected, based on the fact of his having the majority of states.
Interestingly the combined Adams/Clay popular vote was 43.9% to Jackson's 41.3% so in effect electoral justice was done. Similarly in the map below the combined non-Obama electoral vote is 278-eight above the minimum of 270, and thus electoral justice would also have been done 187 years later
Much depends on the state of the economy on election day. If there is a new economic shock with increased unemployment and President Obama is below 50% in the polls, as he is now, then this scenario could very well play out.
The full constitutional scenario is set out below the map.
The constitution is very clear on the matter. Article 12 states, inter- alia:
"The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice."
Thus, if the no candidate with an electoral college majority scenario plays out, and presuming there are no other candidates who have won electoral votes, the House would meet to choose the next president by January 20th 2013, with the states having one vote each, whilst the Senate would meet to choose the Vice-President.
Based on the current composition of the House, and if voting went strictly on party lines, with no vote switching or abstentions in states with a close proportion of Republicans and Democrats, Romney would be elected.
According to information supplied by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the current composition of the house by party is:
States with a Republican party majority of Representatives 31
States with a Democratic party majority of Representatives 18
States with an equal number of Representatives (Minnesota) 1
The Republican election landslide of 2010, brought about in no small part by the Tea party and Palin supporting activists would thus bringing a Republican president in 2012