Presidential Forecast: The Eight Decisive States

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 13:40


What do Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin have in common? As I explain in the extended entry, right now they are the eight states that will determine who becomes the next President of the United States. They are the ultimate, decisive swing states for the 2008 presidential election.

Electoral College: Obama 276--262 McCain


Obama Integral States: 228 Electoral Votes
Currently Lean Obama (48): Colorado (9), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), Wisconsin (10)
Currently Lean McCain (35): Michigan (17), Nevada (5), Virginia (13)
McCain Integral States: 227 Electoral Votes

Explanation in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Presidential Forecast: The Eight Decisive States
So far in 2008, over 400 polls that measure national voter preference for the inevitable Obama vs. McCain general election have been released to the public. According to Pollster.com, during this time the two candidates have never been separated by more than 4%, indicating a third consecutive close election. Despite the overwhelming Democratic advantage in other electoral areas, this is not very surprising. After all, John McCain has long held an extremely high favorable rating, and is currently the most favorably viewed Republican with a national profile. By way of contrast, Barack Obama is a relative newcomer who is seeking to become the first African-American President of the United States. In all likelihood, it is only in a year that extremely favorable to Democrats, such as 2008, that Barack Obama would have any chance at all against John McCain.

While the national polling picture points to an extremely close election, national results do not determine the winner of the Electoral College. Instead, in an election this close, the eventual winner will be the candidate who can win the most electoral votes in the closest swing states. Unfortunately, while there is more than enough national polling data to produce an accurate measurement of the national popular vote, very few public polls have been released among swing states. In fact, over the past thirty days, only five states, California, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, have been blessed with public polls from three or more polling organizations. As such, our ability to measure who is currently ahead in the Electoral College is limited by a lack of data.

With few state level polls, in order to determine the coming shape of the general election, we are forced to turn to other data points. Taking the partisan voting index from the 2004 general election, and combining it with the demographic regression on fivethirtyeight.com, the following states are projected to be the six decisive, uber swing states for the 2008 general election:

  1. Colorado (9 electoral votes, projected +0.1%): 2004 PVI: -2.2%, 538 regression +2.0%.
  2. New Mexico (5 electoral votes, projected+1.5%): 2004 PVI +2.7%, 538 regression +0.2%
  3. Ohio (20 electoral votes, projected +1.6%): 2004 PVI +0.3%, 538 regression +2.9%
  4. Nevada (5 electoral votes, projected +2.3%): 2004 PVI  -0.1%, 538 regression +4.6%
  5. Wisconsin (10 electoral votes, projected +2.5%): 2004 PVI +2.9%, 538 regression +2.1%
  6. New Hampshire (4 electoral votes, +2.6%): 2004 PVI +3.8%, 538 regression +1.3%

The next closest states, in order, are #7 Florida (-3.1%), #8 Iowa (+4.0%), #9 Pennsylvania (+4.2%), #10 Virginia (-4.7%), and #11 Michigan (+4.9%). However, the unusual organizing situations in these states scramble the matter somewhat. By not campaigning as extensively in Michigan and Florida during the primary season, Obama should have a more difficult time winning in those two states than in the others listed here. By the same token, McCain should struggle, comparatively speaking, in Iowa and Pennsylvania, due to his relative lack of campaigning in those two states. These estimations are born out by current polling, which currently shows Obama stronger than expected in both Iowa and Pennsylvania, but McCain stronger than expected in both Florida and Michigan. As such, Michigan and Virginia move past Florida, Iowa and Pennsylvania in the rankings of decisive swing states, to become #7 and #8 respectively.

While there are other states that are close, realistically, only the top eight, and possibly only e top six, will be decisive. For example, while Obama leads by single digits in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, if he were to lose any of those states it is extremely unlikely that he would be able to win enough of the eight closest states to reach 270 electoral votes. By the same token, while McCain only leads by single digits in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina, it is extremely unlikely, if not impossible, for him to win enough of the eight closest states to reach 270 electoral votes. These more outlying swing states are all actually integral to winning coalitions for either Barack Obama or John McCain. As such, if we ever get to a point where Obama is leading in one or more of the four McCain states listed in this paragraph, or McCain is winning in one of the three Obama states listed in this paragraph, then the outcome of the election will be obvious and we won't need to examine electoral math minutia in order to project the leader / winner.

Looking only at the eight states that are currently projected to be decisive, we quickly arrive at a much clearer and easy to understand picture of the general election:

Obama Integral States: 228 Electoral Votes
Currently Lean Obama (48): Colorado (9), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), Wisconsin (10)
Currently Lean McCain (35): Michigan (17), Nevada (5), Virginia (13)
McCain Integral States: 227 Electoral Votes

Overall, Obama currently holds a narrow 276-262 edge in the Electoral College. However, the lead is far from solid, and is well within the margin of error.

Now, I'm not arguing that the other forty-two states don't matter, and that Democrats and progressives should only focus on Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin this year. Simply as a matter of strategy, even if your objective is only focused on eight states, it does not make any sense to place all of your resources in only those eight states. Not only would such a narrow focus create a real image problem for the Obama campaign, but it would make it easier for an under-resourced opponent like McCain to pool his resources and stay competitive. Further, the point is not just to win this election, but to win in a way that builds a governing majority once in office. In order to achieve that end, it will be necessary to have a thriving Democratic Party in all, or nearly all, 50 states, and deliver vast downticket wins. If you want to govern the entire United States, you need to campaign in the entire United States.

What I am arguing is that if you want to know who is winning the general election, or if you have the opportunity to spend either personal or organizational resources on the general election, right now you should focus on Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. That list of states might change as more polling data becomes available later in the campaign, but right now those eight look to be decisive.  


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Wisconsin (4.00 / 4)
Anyone on here interested in helping to win Wisconsin, feel free to contact me.

I'm fairly heavily involved in progressive and Democratic politics here in our fine state, and I can plug you in.  Drop me an email at rickman (dot) peter (at) gmail (dot) com.


Of Course, If Feingold Is The VP (4.00 / 3)
you can go back to fantasizing about the return of Brett Farve.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
As long as he sticks with football (0.00 / 0)
Favre is a big Republican.  If he ever ran for governor, that dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks fella would win hands down.  

I can predict with about 99.999% accuracy that Feingold will not be within smelling distance of the VP slot - and likely not any cabinet gigs either.  


[ Parent ]
Football heros run to Republicanism, sadly (0.00 / 0)
Can't you hope that Favre will go back to Mississippi for his political career?  

Can it happen here?

[ Parent ]
That's OK. The Supreme Court Is Fine With Me (4.00 / 2)
Really.  Just putting him in there would probably give half the conservatives there a heart attack.

I don't want them dead.  I just want them retiring "for reasons of health."

Our health as a democracy, that is.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Great Analysis, But... (4.00 / 1)
as you note, (a) losing in one of the states like North Carolina would be fatal for McCain and (b) McCain is under-financed.  Therefore it would make excellent strategic sense for Obama to focus on North Carolina--particularly with Edwards as VP.

Such a strategy would likely stress McCain to the breaking point.

And, of course, it would help enormously in neighboring Virginia, too.

You are 100% correctamundo, however, that the proof of this pudding would show up in the states you indicate.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


almost (4.00 / 1)
makes we want an Obama-Edwards ticket. Don't you think, though, that when these national polls or state polls are taken that survey respondents who favor Clinton are causing a degree of underperformance by Obama?  I still have the sense that if Obama solves the problem of ardent Clinton supporters he will rise (a little bit) everywhere and that will really put McCain under stress.

[ Parent ]
Yes, I'm Sorta Counting On It (0.00 / 0)
I think we've got a real shot to beat McCain by 10 points nationwide.  And if we get our mojo going soon enough, the pressure could lead to a meltdown that might push that towards 20.

But we're nowhere near that level yet.

Point is, no matter what the national polls look like there's still going to be strategically important states, and NC looks to be one.  If it starts to look like Virginia already does--basically, like it's ours to lose--then maybe we start looking at Mississippi the same way.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
meltdown (4.00 / 4)
I'm still kind of hoping that the Pat Robertson wing (or Team Tancredo, for that matter) of the Republican party has some sort of freak out moment at the convention, like in 1992.  They probably won't, but it would be totally awesome.

[ Parent ]
Ron Paul Vs. Rod Parsley? (4.00 / 1)
"It could happen."
    --Judy Tenuta


"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
McCain's lead is now down to 3+ in NC, (0.00 / 0)
according to today's PPP release:
http://www.publicpolicypolling...

Via Dansac's D Kos diary, here:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyo...


[ Parent ]
Well, I Wasn't Just Makin' Shit Up Out Of Thin Air (0.00 / 0)
Obama was tied in one poll a while back.  What I'm looking for is a move into the lead for, like, a 3-5 poll average.

Then we'll be talkin' somethin'.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Yeah. You've been at this NC point for a bit. (4.00 / 1)
I just finished a local piece reiterating what is fairly evident to the naked eye- that the blue areas here are flourishingly economically and will keep expanding, while the red areas (Charlotte excepting) are sinking n' shrinking.  

[ Parent ]
Link? (0.00 / 0)
I actually have a half-finished draft for a diary I never did on the subject, that I'm interested in getting back to.

I'd love to incorporate some of your analysis, as it sounds like it can give me a more down-on-the-ground perspective than I've got so far, and that's always a good thing.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Growth Map (4.00 / 1)
Here's a link to an NC growth map by county. There's a large swath of yellow "high growth" around the research triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) which is quite liberal. I can't really speak about the rest of the state since I am a newcomer.

http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/nc...


[ Parent ]
Thanks, Jawis. Stuff I saw was offline, (0.00 / 0)
and I'm not finding it on-.
    I'm also new- 5 months total residency. My on the ground observations would not be fantastically illuminating.

[ Parent ]
What can be so confounding about NC (0.00 / 0)
is the high percentage of voters who split their tickets and vote Dem for statewide offices and then vote for the Republican presidential candidate. Another factor to consider is the effect of newcomers to the state. This diary by Chachy on OpenLeft recently examined this factor in some depth and concluded that there was a significant influence on Obama's popularity resulting from "the Southern Cosmopolitan Theory: Obama's success among white Southern voters in a given state is in direct proportion to the cosmopolitanness of that state."

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
See the link I provide downthread (0.00 / 0)
in reference to a recent OpenLeft diary on the Southern Cosmopolitaness Theory. I think it illuminates a factor on the dynamics of political change in NC and other Southern States.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
I agree. (0.00 / 0)
I think focusing on Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri is important too. If we can force McCain to defend those states then we have a much better chance of taking him down in November. I do say this as a North Carolinian who would like some coattails to help Hagan and Perdue in the Senate and Governor's races.  

[ Parent ]
I am skeptical... (0.00 / 0)
Is there any evidence that vice presidential candidates still bring geographic advantages? The internet has shrunk the world and, with it, many of the classic "home state" advantages have disappeared, even at the top of the ticket. Gore only managed to perform five points better than Kerry in Tennessee, Kerry only two points better in Massachusetts. The Democratic difference in North Carolina between 2000 and 2004 was about one point. The only candidate in recent memory who significantly improved his party's standing in his home state is George W. Bush, who greatly outperformed the GOP's Texas margins from 1992 and 1996.

Beyond that, Edwards has competed in just one general election in the state, which will have occurred a full decade before this fall's election, and was considered an endangered incumbent going into his 2004 Senate election. What sort of standing does he maintain in the state outside of his presidential primary apparatus?

I like John Edwards very much, and I had planned on voting for him this year as he led the field in policy and served as anchor to the left for both Clinton and Obama. Still, I fail to see what he brings to ticket, except to reinforce Obama's relative lack of experience in federal office.


[ Parent ]
Have you read (4.00 / 1)
Paul Rosenberg's diaries on The Deep Logic of Edwards as VP?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
What Edwards brings to the ticket is not intuitively obvious. But there's significant evidence that he is the best asset to add to the campaign right now.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
Yes, and I have two problems with the series. While I wholeheartedly agree with the deep logic of Part 1 -- bringing reform-minded independents into the Democratic fold is necessary for a long-term progressive Democratic majority and the quickest way to do that is by nominating Obama and a running mate who reinforces an "outside-in" narrative of change -- I am not convinced that the polls register anything more than name recognition, and I am not convinced that Edwards is, in fact, the best candidate to reinforce a message of change.

First, in regard to the polls, I read Paul's counter-counter arguments, but I am not convinced. That Pawlenty and Sebilius -- two governors that are virtually unknown on the national stage -- are consistently shown to be the weakest running mates while Edwards and Huckabee -- two former office-holders who have run fairly successful national campaigns -- are shown to be the strongest makes me think that the bumps provided by the running mates is almost entirely based on name recognition. Yes, Edwards outperforms Rendell in Pennsylvania, but I don't see what that proves or disproves. If pollsters continue gauge support for running mates over the coming weeks and a pattern emerges that shows Edwards outperforming another national figure like Hillary Clinton, as well as various popular governors in their home states, like Bill Richardson in New Mexico and  Ted Strickland in Ohio, then I will be proven wrong. Until then, I don't see enough data to prove the Edwards bump is something more than name recognition.

Second, in regard to the best available candidate, Edwards is not the greatest example of an agent of change or the greatest vote-getter. His New Democrat roots, his defense of Bill Clinton during the Senate impeachment trial, and his vote for the war in Iraq all tie him to the "old politics" that Obama has railed against. In his two North Carolina general election races, he garnered just 51% of the vote in his U.S. Senate bid and improved the margin of the Democratic presidential ticket by just one percent from 2000 to 2004. In the dozens of presidential primaries in which he's competed, he has won only two -- North Carolina and South Carolina in 2004. Regardless of polls say, Edwards has a history of NOT getting out the reform-minded independent vote.

The greatest candidate to reinforce a narrative of change -- change away from old politics of personal destruction, for reform against elites encroaching on the middle class -- Obama's running mate has to either have a proven record of vote-getting from a critical swing state or a history outside of politics. In my mind, this narrows the field down to Sherrod Brown and Wes Clark.  


[ Parent ]
Problems with your problems (0.00 / 0)
First, the logic of Edwards as VP is reinforced by your argument that his current high polling is the result of "name recognition." As Paul states, why NOT go with the candidate who already has positive name recognition instead of choosing a candidate with low name recognition who can be branded with negatives by a Republican smear campaign. That's the "logic" in Paul's argument.

Second, I think you're vastly under-rating Edwards' win over Lauch Faircloth in the 1998 NC Senate race. He was not an establishment candidate and used his outsider status to stake-out his life-long platform for a living wage, healthcare for everyone, and collective bargaining for fair working conditions. In NC in 1998, these were practically unheard of positions for a politician to take and indeed the state's leading liberal voice, Terry Sanford, had been tossed on his ear in the only previous election where anything resembling a progressive agenda had been part of the campaign. It was Edwards' ability to get out the reform-minded vote that won the day. And as for his impact on the '04 Presidential ticket in NC, the Democratic Party did not campaign in NC during that election, even though the Kerry-Edwards ticket actually out-performed the polls.

Finally, your contention that "his defense of Bill Clinton during the Senate impeachment trial" makes him a representative of "old politics" is bizarre. Are you suggesting that to do otherwise would have been more progressive?

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...


[ Parent ]
Impact of Edwards as VP on NC (4.00 / 1)
It is difficult to relate Kerry and Gore's home state numbers to the impact Edwards may have on North Carolina because neither Tennessee or Massachusetts were major swing states in 2000 or 2004 respectively.  

There is no way to really speculate what kind of affect Edwards would have on NC as the VP candidate, but considering how close NC is beginning to look it may be enough to put Obama over the top.  Also the secondary goal is to make McCain use valuable resources in NC and having Edwards as the VP candidate would certainly accomplish that.  


[ Parent ]
Home states (0.00 / 0)
I mentioned Massachusetts and Tennessee as examples of how top-of-the-ticket candidates are having increasingly little impact on their home states, let alone running mates. Also, Tennessee was very much in play in 2000, as was Arkansas.

I don't understand how you can say that "[t]here is no way to reall speculate what kind of affect Edwards would on NC" when he was already on a presidential ticket. Again, the Democratic ticket improved its performance in North Carolina from 2000 to 2004 by about one percent. That is not to say that Obama-Edwards would start out in the same position as Kerry-Edwards, considering Obama's ability to get out the vote and increased interest in Democrats across the board this year, but those are advantages that are going to make North Carolina more competitive regardless of Obama's running mate.


[ Parent ]
00, 04 Redux (4.00 / 1)
While I do not disagree with the states that are in play, it does make me a bit sad that we are, in essence, doing 00 and 04 all over again.  While there is some broadening in the map, it is really the same states that we focused on in the last couple of elections.  I hope (have a bit of confidence?) that the list will expand as the year progresses.  If not, I am worried for our chances in November (for President that it is; I think we will perform very well in the House/Senate races).  

I feel your pain, but... (4.00 / 1)
Looking back at the two previous general elections (Dave Leip's online atlas of elections provides extensive insight), there are some notable advancements.

Obama aims to take as many as three states from Bush's 2004 column (CO/NM/NV).  Only NM (eventually) sided with Gore in 2000.  Iowa, while relatively small, represents a chance for Democrats to take back a state that had sided with them for over a decade before the 00/04 nightmare.

What's more, I still expect Obama's strength in places like NE's 1st and across the south to take McCain back to traditionally red states.  The longer Democrats can sequester him to his base, the better.  In the meantime, states that have moved solidly blue(-r) like my homsestate of Pennsylvania will provide little room for Republican gain.  In these ways at least, the precedent set by 00/04 is in our favor.

So yeah, don't expect Obama to reinvent the wheel this election year.  At the same time, he may be uniquely qualified to conquer the 21st Century strategy.

John McCain: "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."


[ Parent ]
Re: Pain (0.00 / 0)
Yes, as I noted, there is some expansion of the map (VA, in addition to those you mentioned).  I just had hoped that at this point we would see a bit less solid red.  Also, I hope that we can broaden the field to a bit more of the "red" areas so that we do not have to rely on the same states "plus one".  I hope that we can implement the 50 state strategy in a more dynamic way.  I think, given the extraordinary party building generated by the extended primary, we have a unique opportunity to really expand the map, and I hope that it is not wasted by micro-targeting in a few states.  

[ Parent ]
Pretty good take (4.00 / 2)
I think once the GE heats up and Obama campaigns more Michigan will go over to something more like what New Hampshire is.

It's really kind of hard to tell at this point though because I think a lot will become clearer a few weeks after the nomination campaign has ended. After a few weeks of Clinton and Obama onstage campaigning together will the Clinton people get back in the fold and give Obama a big boost? That will be one major moment. The second will be the VP selection. After learning more about the vp choice people will solidify there opinions of Obama more. Then the convention and then the debates. Those are the big "moments" and a failure in any of those could effect the battleground deeply. I think the debates and convention will be big pluses for Obama. The VP choices on both sides will be interesting though beacuse Clintonites on our side and most of the party on there side are still not fully sold on their canidate.

Obama is also going to have a money advantage in t his election so t hat is another thing to take into account.

We haven't won this yet but we're in a pretty darn good situation to win. However what we need to work on is making it a big win so we have a big progressive window.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


The other reason to run in 50 (4.00 / 1)
is that if the electoral college is close but there is a blow-out in the popular, then it becomes much harder for the Supremes to give it to McCain.

Jeff Wegerson

The Good News of this Analysis (4.00 / 1)
In these 8 decisive states, there are 4 chances for a Senate pickup. While that means that mistakes can drag everyone down, I feel good enough about those Senate candidates (Shaheen, Warner, Udall and Udall) and about Obama that I think we end up in real positive feedback loops.

Throw in Hagan in NC, too maybe?


Michigan... (0.00 / 0)
Can someone please 'splain to me why ANY Democrat is trailing in Michigan in 2008? Gore and Kerry both won MI; is life that much better over there now?
Yes I know that the MI Dem Party is partially to blame; there was no real campaigning in MI this primary season.
But even so... the fact that this state is in play in 2008 of all years is extremely worrisome.
I'm in liberal heaven San Francisco so I haven't kept up with all the news from MI, but since I used to live and went to school there, I'm always interested in what goes on over there.
Any information would be appreciated!
thanks...

Two thoughts (4.00 / 1)
1) Michigan has always had its share of right-wing types. The decline of the unions and rise of the Christian Right turned it into a more competitive state, which elects its fair share of totally nutty Republicans.

2) Although Gore and Kerry both won it, I believe it was still considered a swing state by both of them, much like Pennsylvania.

As the race heats up we'll see whether it is likely to remain in our column.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
I would say that another likely issue.... (0.00 / 0)
....is just good old fashioned despair.

Michigan has been taking it very hard of late with respect to job losses, and the good ol' days won't be coming back anytime soon in the auto industry.


[ Parent ]
A third thought (0.00 / 0)
related to 1):
right wing hate groups
MI has about the same number as NC and other states that Chris' map shows Obama having difficulties in polls right now.

Save Our Schools! March & National Call to Action, July 28-31, 2011 in Washington, DC: http://www.saveourschoolsmarch...

[ Parent ]
article (0.00 / 0)
the article that talked about the McCain lead by the way... http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb...

sample size = 600

in a state where no Democrat really campaigned. I'd like to think that this will change and soon...


[ Parent ]
Soon you will be able to move Virginia's (4.00 / 1)
13 electoral votes to Sen. Obama's column.  This is because Gov. Mark Warner will be tapped for the Vice Presidency.  It won't be long now!

Bad idea... (4.00 / 4)
We need that Senate seat... BAD!! We'll need a fillibuster proof majority!

[ Parent ]
LOL... (0.00 / 0)
Yes, I'd like for us to gain that senate seat too!  But, I think there is a pretty good chance that Gov. Warner is on Sen. Obama's short list.

[ Parent ]
Isn't pushing the 4 integral states also important? (4.00 / 3)
If we can force McCain to defend Florida, Indiana, Missouri and/or North Carolina then we are good deal closer to winning in November. I say this as a North Carolina graduate student who could perhaps help in Virginia, but I think staying home could have a big effect as well since we also have competitive Senate and Governor's races. Obama's coattails could have a big effect in those races.  

General election hardball (0.00 / 0)
For all the talk of Clinton's scorched-earth campaigning, the truth is that she never really hammered Obama on his greatest weakness--his lack of qualifications and experience.   She said she was better prepared, but a good case can be made that Obama is completely unprepared. The Republicans will be happy to make it, and a lot of states will come into play, regardless of where Obama chooses to fight.

It all depends (0.00 / 0)
how Obama handles this. Judging from how he's been so far, he knows how to handle it. If Obama fires back with something like even with McCain's years of experience he was right on board with "stay the course", and that all this experience doesn't prevent McCain from being flat wrong, I think we'll be good.

[ Parent ]
I don't see any evidence for this. (0.00 / 0)
Obama has been fighting the inexperience attack throughout the whole campaign. His usual tactic is to deflect to his better judgement. People generally already know that McCain has been in government longer. I don't see this attack changing many minds at this point. I think he should get a big bounce from a Clinton concession and endorsement, and the list of states in play will slowly shrink as we approach November.

[ Parent ]
Uhh (4.00 / 1)
For all the talk of Clinton's scorched-earth campaigning, the truth is that she never really hammered Obama on... his lack of qualifications and experience

...you seriously believe this?


[ Parent ]
Oh good (0.00 / 0)
This thread needing a concern troll comment.

John McCain opposes the GI Bill.

[ Parent ]
New CT Poll is bad... (0.00 / 0)
I don't think CT will flip, particularly after having seemingly learned their lesson with Lieberman, but Rasmussen only gives Obama a 3 point lead there right now... Hopefully this will expand enormously once Obama is the official nominee.

Beyond Swing States: Map Changing Strategies (0.00 / 0)
Thanks for considering more closely the 538.com methods. In the fast moving world of election predictions, you have to look at more than polling. We all know how useful pollingreport is, but poblano (aka Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus) has added a lot to our analysis.

With few state level polls, in order to determine the coming shape of the general election, we are forced to turn to other data points. Taking the partisan voting index from the 2004 general election, and combining it with the demographic regression on fivethirtyeight.com,

Poblano has a lot of good insights, and his website presents a ton of insight on the makeup of the Democratic Coalition. The Obama-Clinton race has yielded several PhD theses of insight into the makeup of our party, and how it is distributed across the country. He should PDF the series and sell it as a package. Then do the same for the general election. I don't think you can get more inside unless you are looking at a candidate's demographic polling and focus groups.

Anyway. One insight of Poblano is that if you are winning some of these swing states, you are likely doing well everywhere, and that increases the likelihood that you win them all. In other words a sweep can lead to a big sweep.

Secondly, look at have regional and demographic co-variance.

It therefore pays to note the fact that Western states like CO, OR, WA, NM are swinging our way, which leads to "similar" states like MN and NH due to demographic factors. Also, Southeastern states like VA and NC, suggests including looking at GA and possibly FL. Finally, you have (what used to be called) rust belt states like MI, OH and PA.

Going beyond Swing States, Obama should pursue a National strategy, along with Regional-specific tactics: Western, Southeastern and Industrial-heartland.


One more insight: (0.00 / 0)
Get a thesaurus.

[ Parent ]
National Popular Vote for President (0.00 / 0)
The real issue is not how well Clinton, Obama, or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes-that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule which awards all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state. Because of this rule, candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. Two-thirds of the visits and money are focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people are merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote...  

Susan


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