Electoral College Math

In 2012, Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes. Mitt Romney won 206.

It is against this back drop that the entire race for the White House in 2016 has been staged.

This dynamic is the critical one in the election, and it is easy in the deluge of daily national polls to lose sight of the realities of the Electoral College.

Donald Trump's Pathways

Donald Trump has to come up with 64 electoral votes and hold all of the Romney states.

Donald Trump has been leading or ahead in polls in two critical states -- Ohio and Iowa, which would net him 24 electoral votes.

What next? Florida is the next closest race, where the polls have shown a within the margin of error tie. Florida has 29 electoral votes, and it is hard to see a path for Trump that doesn't go through Florida.

But, that still leaves him 11 short. Here are some targets:
• New Hampshire (4)
• Nevada (6)
• Maine Congressional District Allocation (1)
• Michigan (11)
• Colorado (9)

That's partly why the Trump campaign has also traveled to Michigan in recent days.

Hillary Clinton's Pathways

For Hillary Clinton to win the White House, she has to maintain enough of the Obama states to stay above or at 270.

The map is far more flexible for Hillary Clinton. But the key appears to be North Carolina. That is one red state, with 13 electoral votes, that Mitt Romney won where Clinton has been competitive in the polling.

Wins on election night in Pennsylvania (20) and Virginia (13) are critical "firewall" states...if either of those swing to Trump, that would be very problematic for Clinton.

Nevada, Michigan and Colorado are all states that have generally shown Clinton in the lead in polling, but some indications of tightening in the last week.

But, an early win in Florida or the aforementioned North Carolina will likely put Ms. Clinton in the White House.