Broad trends and the national political undertow can’t be adequately captured in any single statistic — but if Mitt Romney had managed to push the electorate in a handful of states a few clicks in his direction, he’d be the president-elect, rather than an also-ran. Via Jim Geragthy:

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of, 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda speculation is a useless exercise at this stage; the fact remains that Romney didn’t. But these numbers also demonstrate how a campaign’s granular-level decisions about priorities — how it allocates time and resources, etc — really can impact the trajectory of an entire nation. As I reported on Friday, the Romney campaign’s internal polling wrongly indicated that three of the four states listed above were relatively safely in the Republican’s column.