As we’ve heard non-stop for the last several weeks, the election must go through Ohio. While it makes for a really good newscast, I don’t think Ohio is really that important. Sure, if Romney wins Ohio he wins the election, but he’s simply not going to need it. The math is working in his favor.

With Vegas giving Mitt Romney only a 30% chance of winning the election, his chances seem grim. Likewise, Rasmussen, arguably the most respected poll in the nation, currently has Romney sitting at a thirty-one electoral vote deficit to incumbent Barack Obama, 206-237. To come up with this number, Rasmussen has assigned all of the electoral votes from the “safe” states to each respective candidate. In addition, it has already gone ahead and assigned five “swing” states to the candidates. Mitt Romney gets Montana and North Carolina while Barack Obama gets Connecticut, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. I think that the model is correct on four accounts; Pennsylvania is still largely in play. In any event, I will use these base models for my predictions in assigning the ninety-five remaining electoral votes.

The first thing that stands out to me is Florida sitting in the middle with its twenty-nine electoral votes. Despite the fact that Obama won Florida in 2008 by nearly three percentage points, I don’t think he has a fighting chance to carry the state this year. Romney has campaigned heavily in Florida, and the Republicans even held their convention in the great city of Tampa. Furthermore, several pollsters have completely pulled out of Florida citing an inevitable Romney victory. Those twenty-nine votes nearly even the score at 235-237.

For Obama, Virginia suffers the same fate as Florida. Many pollsters on the ground have realized that Obama has no shot of winning Virginia, especially considering the fact that after Obama carried Virginia in 2008, the citizens of the state went on to elect Republican Bob McDonnell for governor by a resounding 17 percentage points. They also elected both a Republican Lieutenant Governor and a Republican Attorney General by similar margins. Look for Virginia to be called fairly early, giving Romney his first lead of 248-237.

Colorado is another state that Obama won in 2008 that he will have a difficult time securing in 2012. Rasmussen’s latest poll in the state shows Romney ahead 50%-46%. With this statistic being right outside the margin of error, and the momentum that Mitt Romney has enjoyed in the state as of late, look for Romney to add Colorado’s 9 electoral votes to his tally, giving him a 257-237 electoral advantage.

New Hampshire is the state that interests me the most. With all of its border states displaying a dark blue hue, New Hampshire somehow remains in the “toss-up” column. Currently, Rasmussen has Romney ahead by two percentage points at 50%-48%. Mitt Romney just might be able to pull this one off. With his term as governor of Massachusetts, which borders New Hampshire to the south, I have to believe that Romney can carry at least one of these northeastern states. New Hampshire and its four electoral votes are his only chance to do that. 261-237.

Call the pick what you want, but choosing Paul Ryan as the VP nominee may have been the wisest electoral decision of all. So far, I have Romney ahead 261-237, which means he needs just nine electoral votes to clinch the presidency. Lucky for him, Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin has ten. What seemed like an impossible state for the Republicans to win has quickly turned into the quintessential toss-up. Rasmussen currently shows the two candidates in a dead heat at 49% each. With all else being equal, I fully expect Romney to edge out Obama in Wisconsin because of the Republican VP candidate’s heritage. Paul Ryan should be able to drag Romney across the finish line and deliver him the presidency with at least the 270 electoral votes needed. 271-237.

With 271 electoral votes already tallied up, Ohio, or as Vice President Biden calls it, Iowa, is completely irrelevant. Romney will not need Ohio, but I fully expect him to still win. The campaigns have poured the majority of their remaining resources into Ohio for a final get out the vote effort. This is a must-win state for Obama, but as I’ve demonstrated, I don’t think the same is true for Romney. In any event, Romney, who is currently polling two percentage points ahead of Obama, will ultimately win Ohio. That brings our tally to 289-237.

There are still two swing states that I have yet to mention: Iowa and Nevada. Obama is polling two percentage points ahead of Romney in Nevada, and with Harry Reid as one of their sitting Senators, Obama should win Nevada’s six electoral votes quite decisively. Likewise, I think Iowa is a lost cause for Romney. Despite the dead heat in the polls, I think it will be very difficult for him to make up the ten percentage points that Obama defeated McCain by in 2008. Iowa could surprise, but I don’t think so. Iowa’s six electoral votes result in a final total of 289-249, advantage Romney.

Despite what the media wants us to believe, Romney will not need Ohio to get the job done. He can simply make it happen by picking off some of these other states in the toss-up category. That also seems to have been his plan all along. If Romney truly thought that his only chance to win the presidency was to take Ohio, he would have opted for Senator Rob Portman as his VP nominee. Instead, he had the foresight to know that winning some of these smaller electoral states was a better strategy. Besides, he still might win Ohio. In any case, if Romney can pull off the miracle upset in Pennsylvania, he can afford to lose several of these toss-up states and still landslide this election. It’ll really be over then.

So without further ado, I’m putting in the electoral call of Romney 289 and Obama 249. Mitt Romney will be the 45th President of the United States.

Jeff Max | Texas Wesleyan University | @JeffMaxxx