Paul Ryan shakes up the electoral map

Amy Walter, David Chalian, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Top Line

To the electoral college map! Today on Top Line we tackle how Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., as his running mate affects the path to 270 electoral votes. After months of campaigning, Romney has not fundamentally changed the electoral college map. A small number of battleground states, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina, will determine the outcome of this election, Mitt Romney has not altered that.

But Ryan may have shaken things up. Before the vice-presidential pick, Ryan's home state of Wisconsin was leaning toward the Democrats; it was a blue state. Can the Romney campaign now put the Badger State into play? Even if Romney can't win it, can he make the president and the Democrats spend more time and money in a state they'd rather already have in the bank?

It would be a tough win for Republicans because the Democratic demographic hurdles in the state at the presidential level are not easy for Republicans to overcome. Still, President Obama will likely spend more time in Wisconsin now that Ryan is on the ticket. Given the Democrats' limited resources, if they have to spend money on Wisconsin something -- or some state -- has gotta to give. Our guess? North Carolina will get a lot less attention after next month's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

But what about the downsides that come with the Ryan pick? How will older and white working class voters, in some key battleground states such as Florida and Ohio, react to the young congressman's policies? Check out this week's Top Line to find out.