Supporters of Barack Obama should hope Rick Perry or Herman Cain wins the Republican nomination, because either of them would be easier for the president to beat than Mitt Romney, according to noted statistician Nate Silver.

As we mentioned this morning, Silver directs the New York Times political stats blog FiveThirtyEight. (That’s the number of electors in the electoral college.) In 2008 Silver called the presidential winner in 49 states, erring only on Indiana, which Obama won by .9 percent. He also correctly predicted the winner in all 35 senate elections that year.