When all the votes from the Nov. 6 presidential election are counted — they’re still tallying ballots in California and New York — President Barack Obama will have beaten Republican challenger Mitt Romney by close to 5 million votes.
Yet it was the president’s combined margin of victory of 389,821 votes in just three states that magnified his victory in the Electoral College tally: 332 to 206.
Obama won by 74,309 votes and 0.9 percentage points in Florida (29 electoral votes), by 166,214 votes and 3 points in Ohio (18 electoral votes), and by 149,298 votes and 3.9 points in Virginia (13 electoral votes), according to official election data compiled by Bloomberg.
If those three states and their 60 electoral votes had gone to Romney, Obama’s Electoral College lead would have shrunk to to 272 to 266 — in line with the squeaker between George W. Bush and Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race.
Of course, had Romney really won those three states, he also would have been more competitive in states that were a bit further out of his reach on Nov. 6. Romney lost four states — Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Iowa — by between five and six percentage points. In fact, among the 10 states that were decided by fewer than 7 points, Romney won only in North Carolina, by 2 points.