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Nov 5, 2012 10:32 AM by CBS News

Obama has electoral vote advantage

Breaking down Mitt Romney's and President Obama's plausible chances of victory Tuesday reveal that the president has a much easier task of obtaining the required 270 electoral votes than his Republican challenger.

CBS News' Political Director John Dickerson said Monday on "CBS This Morning" that after proportioning the states that will definitively vote for each candidate, Mr. Obama has 237 electoral votes and Romney has 191. "Obama has a head start," Dickerson said.

He added that the president has 431 possible scenarios to win and Romney has far fewer, just 76. And if Romney wins Florida's 29 electoral votes, Ohio's 15, North Carolina's 15 and the 13 in Virginia, Dickerson said, Romney still needs another state.

National Journal correspondent Major Garrett said on the same program that if the Obama campaign wins Florida, which they are more optimistic about this week after early voting tallies, the president needs just one more state to clinch victory.

Garrett said the Romney campaign is placing their hopes on higher voter enthusiasm among Republicans who will turn out in droves on Election Day.

"Intensity and voter turnout does matter. Republicans do believe that's one of their embedded advantages that may surprise a lot of people come election night," Garrett said.

He added, however, that there is a big - and crucial - unknown: "We don't know the size of the political universe. It's not going to be 2008. It's not going to be that robust for President Obama it's not going to be that slack for Mitt Romney. It may be like 2004, which could mean for Mitt Romney it's really, really close."

Dickerson said Republicans need long lines of voters in Republican areas on Election Day. "For John McCain [in 2008], Republican turnout was down. He just didn't turn out the home team and that's what Mitt Romney has to do," he said.

As for Sandy, the massive storm that battered the Northeast last week, Garrett said Republicans believe that it "completely stopped Romney's momentum."

"What they have to hope is that Sandy diminishes as a memory and Monday and Tuesday become recalibration days and they think of the race as new," Garrett said.

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