The shift of the population from the North and Northeast to the South and the West recorded in the 2010 census means Obama would have won six fewer electoral votes in the 2008 election, suggesting a slightly tougher road ahead toward reelection.
States like New York, Massachusetts and Illinois, reliable Obama strongholds, will have fewer electoral votes in 2012. The gain in Texas is the biggest deal for Obama’s GOP opponent, with a win there meaning four more electoral votes than in 2008.
Now, a major reason for the shift is the increasing Hispanic population in these states. But Obama still ain’t winning states like Texas, Utah, or South Carolina, all of which gained votes.
This certainly wouldn’t have helped John McCain, who would have gotten swamped anyway. And it probably won’t make a difference in 2012. But it could.
The changes will also of course mean better odds of Republicans holding or increasing their gains in the House. The Washington Post has a good interactive map showing which states pick up and which lose House seats in 2012.