In addition to employing millions of people for a few months, the decennial Census measures population shifts that determine the apportionment of congressional seats among the states. Consequently, it also alters the makeup of the Electoral College, which we're still using. And in that respect, the official figures for the 2010 Census released today are not good for President Obama. For the most part, states he lost in 2008 gained seats, while states he won in 2008 lost them. Texas, for example, gained four congressional seats and four electoral votes, while two seats and two electoral votes were taken from New York. In total, if Obama won the same states in 2012 as he did in 2008, he would have six fewer electoral votes. That could mean the difference in a close race, but it won't change the campaign the same states that are always battlegrounds will remain battlegrounds, and the election will pretty much hinge on who gets Ohio and Florida, which is great for those two states.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images