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Panel: Obama has electoral college advantage

A panel of political analysts on CBS' "Face the Nation" dissected President Obama's and Mitt Romney's chances of winning Tuesday's election, and they agree that the president has an easier path to 270 electoral votes.

"I still think the electoral college is easier for the president to get to 270. It's not impossible for Governor Romney, but all the pieces have to fit together for him; there are a number of must-win states. And so it's just more difficult," Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report said. However, he noted the popular vote could be a much closer race. "I think anybody would be crazy to confidently predict how that's going to go."

A split in the popular vote - the total number of votes nationally - and the electoral vote has happened only a few times in American history, including in 2000 when a Supreme Court decision led to George W. Bush winning Florida's electoral votes and, therefore, the election.

CBS News' polling director Anthony Salvanto provided details on the state of the race. "Certainly Virginia is neck-and-neck, that's a toss-up. I think Colorado is razor-close, I think Wisconsin is really close as well. And you know we talk a lot about Ohio and it's obviously critical, but let's not forget that somebody's got to take at least two or three, three I think, of those, to get over the top," he said.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said the three tossups in his analysis are Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire. "We've called all the other states and we think the president is likely to win with 277 to 303 electoral votes," he said. "I do think the president has an edge in Ohio. I expect him to win Wisconsin. I think he's going to win Iowa. And frankly, given the Democratic base in all the other states, that's all she wrote."

Earlier on the program, CBS News' Political Director John Dickerson said Romney has far fewer paths to 270 than the president. "If you look at the nine states that are the battleground states, the president has 431 possible ways to get to that magical 270. Mitt Romney has 76...if the president were to win Florida, that leaves just one route to the presidency for Mitt Romney. The president on the other hand can lose Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and still have a route, not a really great one but he would still have a route," he said.

If Republicans do well Tuesday, Republican pundit Leslie Sanchez said, it is because Republican momentum continued from 2010. "With Republicans it was a continuation, 24 months later, moving to change the government."

Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, meanwhile, said the president is going to do well among independent women because of the Republican's views on women's issues. "I think you're going to find at the end of the election, with all the post-election research, that these issues didn't define the election, but for some voters, especially independent women - who are sort of the Holy Grail in this election - they were very important."

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