Friday, September 05, 2008

Begin Electoral College Bingo!

I always recommend 270 to Win as my favorite Electoral College map site. They've been beefing up the site in anticipation of the GE and have lots of new features and gizmos.

One new map is a simulator that works on probabilities. It is pretty cool though not very accurate at the moment due to a lack of current polling data. The site says to start looking at it in earnest next week. Be sure to read the explanation of how it works carefully.

They have a static map that they update based on polls from SUSA, Rasmussen and Quinnipiac that tracks polling in the individual states. This is useful because they show levels of support and not just who has the most support, and so indicates where opinions are still fluid.

Ad then there is the interactive map on the home page where you can play "What if..." scenarios until the cows come home.

Looking at the static map, there are five states to watch carefully because they could swing abruptly. Most are mildly blue:
  • Washington - 11
  • Minnesota - 10
  • Wisconsin - 10
  • Michigan - 17
  • Pennsylvania - 21

The site shows Florida and Missouri as undecideds, but I think they have to be counted for McCain. The high plains - Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota - are unlikely to go blue. Virginia and North Carolina are likewise highly unlikely to vote Democrat.

That leaves Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Indiana and New Hampshire.

Now, there is a winning strategy for each of them that includes a loss of Ohio at this point. To lose Ohio and win the election, McCain must take all the states except Ohio. Obama could win with Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Minnesota, but lose Indiana, Ohio and New Hampshire. Let Nevada go red in that scenario, and you have a tied Electoral College at 269 each. I was amazed, but it could happen. (Actually, I have stumbled on three plausible tie scenarios.)

I still think Washington could very well go red because of the choice of Palin for the ticket combined with a very angry and aggressive Republican party that will be really turning up their GOTV effort to defeat Gov. Gregoire. If the Republicans can turn Washington and Minnesota, they can afford to lose Colorado and Ohio. Michigan and Wisconsin are also tepidly blue states that bear watching. The simulator has both Minnesota and Michigan turning red at various points.

All in all, a far closer race than anyone could have anticipated a year ago.



Pol C said...

Thanks for the site referral.

I'm a Michigan resident, and the state is pretty likely to go to Obama. Our general elections are inevitably decided in the Detroit suburbs: Oakland, Macomb, and the non-Detroit parts of Wayne County. As long as Obama doesn't get seriously burned, either by McCain or himself, he'll take the state. The key areas are so disgusted with the GOP that, two years ago, we reelected Jennifer Granholm, our incompetent Democratic governor, by a substantial margin. And in my Congressional district, the long-entrenched GOP hack Joe Knollenberg was almost beaten by an insurgent Democratic candidate who had no financial support from the state party. (A Dem party hack is now running against him, with the state party's full support.) Obama doesn't appear to be suffering from any lingering resentment over the primary campaign, and the one thing about him that would prove self-destructive around here--the reflexive yelling of racism when the chips are down--appears to have been removed from his arsenal.

scott said...

Washington and Minnesota have gone Dem 4 consecutive times, with the polling this year consistently favoring Obama in the high single digits and sometimes by more than 10. Wisconsin has the same recent electoral record and also has favored Obama in the last 3-4 months by similar polling margins. Michigan and NH have the same electoral history even though the polling has been closer this year, but Obama has been besting McCain there as well. It's interesting to play out the scenarios, but if McCain is going to make a move he'd better do it soon by generating movement he's failed to gin up so far. If I were him, I'd live in Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada for the next two months to leave Obama at 264 EV (Kerry states, 252, plus Iowa and New Mexico) and deny him the state that would put him over the top. Don't write off VA either - I live here, and Obama has consistently tied or led McCain by narrow margins for the last 3 months. Too close for comfort, though, I agree with that.

Esmense said...

"I still think Washington could very well go red because of the choice of Palin for the ticket combined with a very angry and aggressive Republican party that will be really turning up their GOTV effort to defeat Gov. Gregoire."

I live in Washington and I too think this is a possibility. Who will be most motivated? Young Obama supporters who may turn out in unprecedented numbers? Angry Republicans anxious to right the wrong they believe occurred in 2004? And where will the libertarian vote -- a huge contributing factor to Democrats' wins in statewide elections in recent years -- go? If Washington Republicans can win back some of those libertarians they lost with their Christian Right excesses in the late 80s-mid-90s, this becomes a much less blue state. On the other hand, Obama may have greater than usual appeal(tan the usual Democrat)for affluent, youthful libertarians.

Anglachel said...

Yay, good local observations!

Pol C, I think Michigan the least likely of the five states I singled out to go red, but the simulator is showing it going red in several instances. It's a state for Dems to lose and McCain & Palin are both campaigning there this weekend.

Scott, Wisconsin and Minnesota are not reliably blue states. Pre-convention, I would have said they were obvious Dem pickups. Not so certain now, especially Minnesota. A lot will depend on campaign momentum. Same with Virginia. I agree that McCain will be living in Ohio and will probably be seen in Colorado a lot, but I think he will not bother much with Nevada and prefer to spend time in the Midwest where opinions abotu the candidates are most uncertain and there are people to be won over.

Esmense, I'm a former Washingtonian, and I think you've nailed the situation. It's all about the libertarians. Will they go for "cool" or will they go for "no new taxes"? When I was recently visiting family up there, I took the Spousal Unit to the state capitol for a tour. The tour guide was sneering at Gregoire's "win" and the visitors from within state were making nasty comments in return. Resentment plus misogyny is a nasty mix.


Leila said...

I'm in WA state, in the Seattle suburbs. I have no doubt the state will go straight blue this fall.

The Puget Sound will be as blue as usual.

I was in Eastern WA this past week and was shocked at the number of Dem signs I saw... Peter Goldmark, who is running for Lands Commissioner being the big sign-winner. I was entire houses plastered with Dem signs, up and down ticket. This isn't something I've seen before. Now, granted, I don't live in Eastern WA, but I travel through several times a year, and I'd never ever seen this much D signage. Same with bumper stickers -plenty of Obama ones, not a single McCain-.

cutepeachpanda said...

I'm originally from Michigan. I think the state will likely go to Obama but it can definitely go red. I agree with pol c's analysis but Michigan is very racially segregated and more conservative than people realize. Besides Detroit (high AA population) and Ann Arbor (where practically everyone who lives there is affiliated with the University of Michigan), the working class Detroit suburbs and northern Michigan can very well go to McCain. The resignation of Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also does not help Obama win over white voters. It will be a closer contest there than expected.

sister of ye said...

cutepeach, I'm currently living in Detroit and I disagree with your opinion on the Kilpatrick resignation. It could actually help Obama because it removes a festering anti-Detroit point from suburbanites, and because the Dem guv's hearings proved key in finally getting him out.

That, of course, assumes Kilpatrick stays quiet now that he's out, no sure bet. Obama can disclaim Kilpatrick all he wants, but people around here know how involved he was in Obama's Michigan primary shenanigans, and the more publicity Kilpatrick draws to himself, the less likely voters will be to let themselves forget their association.

scott said...

Wow, this has been a great comment string from informed locals! Anybody with Colorado ties? As I said before, I think that state's critical, and I wonder if the whole convention experience helped Obama or not there. My understanding is that the best Dem hopes lie in running up big numbers in Boulder and Denver, enough to withstand getting mauled in Colorado Springs and the rest of the state. Any Colorado experts out there?

lakelobos said...

I feel obliged to add the Washington DC area impressions. I live in Maryland and work in DC (as we call it). My son, an Obama supporter, lives in Virginia. Maryland and DC are always blue. Virginia was red for ages. Northern Virginia, DC suburbs, has a large Whole Food Nation population. It is a large part of the state. The rest of state, except Richmond, Virginia Beach, and other AA dominated cities, is redder than blood. Virginia will go Blue if the North will go Democratic in large numbers.

Personally, I don't think that the Whole Food Nation is Democratic. They'll go with the candidate who promise them maintaining the status quo. McCain my be the one for them.

conservative mom said...

It is insightful, intelligent, interesting and highly intelligent posts and comments like these that keep this very conservative woman (my kids say that I make Ronald Reagan look liberal) coming back to this site. Just finally had to let Anglachel and her commenters know how much I appreciate them.
Keep up the good work.

bluelyon said...

Nevada will be a state to watch. The voter registration numbers appear to favor the state going blue, but a lot will depend on turnout in Clark County (Las Vegas) which has notoriously bad turnout.

McCain/Palin will appeal to the independent, libertarian bent of many here. And rural turnout is always much higher than than Reno and Vegas.

The caucus was huge in increasing Dem registration. Whether that will translate into GE votes is still to be seen. However, Gore and Kerry only lost by about 20,000 votes in 2000 and 2004, respectively, so my thought is that the state has a chance to go blue. GOTV on the part of the Obama campaign and the state party will be the deciding factor.

Not seeing "new" Obama signs or bumperstickers. But am seeing an increase in McCain signs and bumperstickers.

We have a very good chance of unseating Jon Porter in NV-03, and a reasonably good chance of Jill Derby taking NV-02. Turnout, turnout, turnout.

I won't be voting Obama, but will support all the Dems I can down ticket.