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Romney trails in two key states with close personal ties

November 04, 2012 16:07 IST

It happened in 1844, and now 168 years later, Republican nominee Mitt Romney may need to duplicate a rare feat achieved by James Polk, the 11th US president, if he wants to defeat President Barack Obama in Tuesday's race to the White House.

According to latest polls, Romney, 65, faces the prospect of losing both the state of his birth, Michigan, and the state where he lives and served as governor, Massachusetts to Obama, a Democrat.

Obama, 51, holds a double digit lead in Massachusetts, but the race is closer in Michigan, with the polls tightening, though the president remains in front, CNN reported.

Polk, a Democrat, who was president from 1845 to 1849 is the only major candidate to win the White House despite losing the vote in the state where he was born and the state where he lived, the report said.

In the presidential poll held in 1844, Polk lost both his birth state of North Carolina and home state of Tennessee, but still managed to defeat Henry Clay.

Under the Electoral College system, each state is worth a certain number of electoral votes based on population. There are a total of 538 electoral votes available, and the successful candidate must win 270 votes.

While Michigan has 16 electoral votes, Massachusetts has 11 votes, ten per cent of the total Electoral College votes.

Winners who overcame the loss of a state with strong personal ties included Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon and both George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush.

Lincoln won his home state of Illinois, but lost his birth state of Kentucky in both of his presidential runs in 1860 and 1864. In 1968, Nixon won his birth state of California, where he also ran unsuccessfully as governor, but lost his home state of New York, where he had been working as a lawyer for a few years.

Both of the Bushes won the state where they lived -- Texas -- in their three successful presidential campaigns, but lost their birth states -- Massachusetts for the father and Connecticut for the son.

Many more candidates who lost either their birth or home states also lost the election.

Al Gore would have defeated George W. Bush in 2000 if the Democratic vice president carried his home state of Tennessee.

Democratic President Grover Cleveland won a larger share of the popular vote than Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but he lost his home state of New York and the electoral vote to his Republican foe.

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