Rich Galen

According to Rove, if Romney wins the states that McCain won, he will be 14 electoral votes closer to the necessary 270 than McCain got because of the 2010 census which moved Congressional Districts (and their Electoral College votes) from "blue states such as Massachusetts, New York and Illinois" to "red states such as South Carolina, Georgia and Texas."

The "3" in Rove's 3-2-1 analysis stands for "Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, a trio of historically Republican states" that "Obama won by narrow margins" 2008. North Carolina is trending toward Romney and Indiana is probably already out of reach for Obama.

That leaves Virginia which

"will likely remain a battleground through Election Day. Mr. Obama carried it by more than six points and remains ahead by a little more than three points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of state polls."

If Romney wins the "3" states, then that moves the Electoral College needle to 319-219.

The "2" stands for Ohio and Florida which Obama won in 2008 by margins of 4.6% and 2.8% respectively. Recent polling has Obama leading in Ohio but trailing in Florida. Although Rove doesn't mention this, putting Ohio Senator Rob Portman on the ticket might just be enough to nudge the Buckeye State into Romney's column.

However he does it, if Romney wins the "2" states that closes the Electoral College gap to "272 for Mr. Obama, 266 for Mr. Romney."

The "1" is "one more state - any state."

Rove points to New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as likely candidates as the state that puts Romney over the top.

Polling in May for an election which will not be held until November are worthless as predictors of the outcome. But, they do tell us where the race stands today and it stands to be very, very close.

Messina was correct when he told the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Senate that turnout is going to be the key to victory.

Both Rove and Messina are using the psychology of boosting turnout by telling their candidate's supporters that their guy has a great chance of winning.

One of them will be correct.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the article about Messina's trip to Capitol Hill and to the Rove essay in the Wall Street Journal. Also a Mullfoto of a new Mullfave watering hole and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at