The Victory Chart (Updated with new polls)

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 13:04

As I noted yesterday, Obama is easily to the brink of victory, with leads exceeding 8% in states worth 264 electoral votes. From that point, he only needs six electoral votes to in, and five to tie. Fully six competitive states--Colorado, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia--are currently poised to put Obama over the top. A seventh state, Nevada, is poised for the tie, which would then tilt to Obama because of wide Democratic margins in the U.S. House.

This means that the easiest way to understand the presidential campaign right now is to look at polling from only those seven states. If McCain sweeps, then he wins. If Obama prevents the McCain sweep, then he wins. Here are the latest polls from those seven states, all of the polls having the majority of their interviews conducted over the past seven days:

Victory Chart
Obama needs one of these states to win it all
State EV's Obama % McCain % Margin # Polls
Colorado 9 50.5% 46.0% +4.5% 2
Florida 27 48.2% 44.8% +3.4% 6
Missouri 11 48.0% 46.7% +1.3% 3
Nevada 5 49.5% 45.5% +4.0% 2
North Carolina 15 48.3% 44.7% +3.6% 3
Ohio 20 48.8% 45.5% +3.3% 4
Virginia 13 51.8% 43.8% +8.0% 4

Rasmussen will produce new polls from Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Ohio and North Carolina later today.

I'd like to offer up this chart as an alternative to tracking poll obsession. These are the numbers that will determine the election. Specifically, McCain must sweep these states in order to win the election. Right now, however, Obama holds leads in all seven, and only North Carolina is smaller than a 3% lead.

This is the victory chart. I will try to update it every time a new poll from one of these seven states is released.

Update: New Missouri and North Carolina polls added. Obama pulls further ahead in NC, but McCain closes the gap in Missouri.

Update 2: New Virginia poll added. Obama still up by 8.0%.

Chris Bowers :: The Victory Chart (Updated with new polls)

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Excellent idea (0.00 / 0)
And yes it makes much more sense than the tracking polls. Although they are still good for getting lead indicators on shifts in voter preferences.  

Virginia (0.00 / 0)
with leads exceeding 8% in states worth 264 electoral votes

Virginia - 8.7%

Am I missing something here?  Doesn't Virginia put him at 277?

sure, but... (4.00 / 1)
What good would the table be if Obama wins even if McCain sweeps all the states in the tabl?

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Good point (0.00 / 0)
After all, WHAT would there be to post about, in an election thread - if all your analysis simply says "Obama wins?"

Ah, the dreaded, but necessary "drama" quotient.  The MSM has it bad, but even great progressives like Chris have to have some type of drama, to keep up the urgency two weeks before elections!

[ Parent ]
Sure (4.00 / 2)
Right now, polling clearly indicates that Virginia is the path to victory, or at least the easiest path. Still, it is good to press on in all seven fronts.

[ Parent ]
How about an even smaller chart? (0.00 / 0)
Love the idea Chris - but my victory chart for weeks has been only two states, VA and CO.  These are our firewall, our levee if you will - I always figured these were the lowest hanging fruit among the "tipping point" states.  I actually thought CO was the best target, but it appears to be VA as of now.  I'm curious as to why CO hasn't been polled more or gotten more attention in the MSM, given that if things tighten up it could decide the entire election.

I enjoy being ahead nationally, but the most optimistic thing I've seen the last few weeks is Obama's steady, large lead in VA.  If it's true - and there's an enormous amount of polling seeming to show it us - it's hard to see how we lose.

Because we want to know all the paths to victory (4.00 / 1)
If Colorado and Virginia start sliding, then we're going to want to know if Florida and North Carolina (for example) are moving up or holding steady.

[ Parent ]
I think Deeg is right (4.00 / 2)
McCain's campaign has always been predicated on the "rising tide" theory in which individual states aren't as important as the whole national campaign- if he is doing well across the board why worry about CO or VA as they will rise with the others.

Obama has been focused mostly on individual states and paths to winning.  VA and CO have recieved alot of their attention in this regard.

I think we are seeing a combination of both- Obama's rising tide has lifted many states, but VA, particularly (and possibly NC as well) have overperformed the other risers due to the extra attention (CO seems a little less responsive, probably do to demographics, to such attention).

Basically, I think a McCain rising tide will afford him a chance at gaining some of these states, but as Deeg indicated, VA and CO are likely to be the most resistant to any McCain tide due to the Obama focus, and hence, I think they are the key states to watch.

[ Parent ]
Focusing on states (0.00 / 0)
The main reason why Obama has been able to do more of this is largely that he has so much more money to work with than McCain does.  

Plus, since the national environment has been in the Dems' favor in this election from the beginning, the Repubs were always going to have to do more work swimming against that overall tide, while the Dems could focus more on their larger number of potential paths to victory in the electoral college.

[ Parent ]
A little birdy told me both campaign internals in VA are 4-7 points (0.00 / 0)
Chuck didn't say what I assume which is that McCain has it as 4 and Obama 7.

[ Parent ]
"Could the US election be stolen?" (0.00 / 0)
"There's more (attempts at voter suppression) that's been going on in the lead-up to this election than any I can remember," McDonald told AFP.

"The fact remains the people who have the power to make the rules are all too often willing to do so in ways that serve their partisan interests."

At the same time, McCon seems to have abandoned the idea of winning the popular vote, but not the electoral college:

Regarding that Obama's advantage in the swing states he needsa to win is only small, every confidence that he will really be elected is premature. This couldeasily become another 2000. there is more than enough reason for concerns.

Well I guess we all need to keep volunteering (0.00 / 0)
and doing GOTV for the campaign to make sure that doesn't happen. Right?

[ Parent ]
You also need election observers (0.00 / 0)
and Dem party task forces everywhere, prepared to investigate every single indication of irregularities and to fight back with all possible means.  

[ Parent ]
So have you signed up as an election observer? (0.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
Depends how close it ends up (0.00 / 0)
No way in the world they can steal it if Barack wins big enough.

[ Parent ]
Look at Chris table! Almost all states too close to call (4.00 / 1)
Do you expect a dramatic trend in the last days moving all those polls up to the level of Virginia? Wanna bet the election on this intuition?

Wishful thinking shouldn't keep Dems from preparing for the fight about every single vote!  

[ Parent ]
Of course there are concerns (4.00 / 2)
That's why there are huge voter protection efforts to try and cancel out the Republican voter suppression efforts.

Point is, no one I know thinks the campaign is over. No one following it closely thinks it is over. One of the reasons is voter suppression. And all we can do right now is keep fighting, including continued fighting on this front.

[ Parent ]
Let's hope so! (0.00 / 0)
"huge voter protection efforts" sounds good. However, where are any reports about them? Instead, we get lots of reports about right wing attempts at kicking liberal voters from the rolls, fraudulent late night robo calls, legal battles to neutralize the power of groups like Acorn, etc etc. Not very comforting, this...

[ Parent ]
Have you seen this Kos diary? (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
No, I never read anything at this madhouse (0.00 / 0)
even though I have to admit, every now and then there's a pearl stuck in all this mud. It's just too hard to dig for it.
Thanks for the link, Haggai! Good for soothing my strained nerves.

[ Parent ]
Instead of reading reports (0.00 / 1)
why don't you go down to your local Obama headquarters and volunteer your services to be part of those efforts? Seems more fruitful than hoping some gigantic operation is under way.  

[ Parent ]
victory chart (4.00 / 1)
this needs a kick ass graphic, like with an eagle or something.

In all seriousness this is a great idea as state polls will probably tighten along the lines of the national polling in a few days. This will help everyone keep perspective as the campaign enters the final stage.

Looks like the only real problem for McCon is Virginia (0.00 / 0)
Winning a state where the polls showed him trailing by 8.7% can't be easily explained by McCon. In all other swing states, however, a victory could be rationalized by the polls systematically underestimating republican voter strength, GOP GOTV beating Obama's, the Bradley factor, etc etc. Also expect a last minute rethuglican attack on Obama as an alibi for the surprising vote swing.

And don't expect the media really investigating the fraud. They will never go anywhere near anything that looks like a conspiracy theory. Not to speak of the Dem party, that has already shown it's missing spine in letting all those GOP attempts at disenfranchising liberal voters in the last weeks happen. Even prominent progressive populists like Kos leave much to be desired when it comes to fighting right wing vote fraud. And can we really expect Obama to fight harder than Kerry for every single vote to be counted?

No, don't fool yourself, this nationwide election fraud can happen, and it will happen, if the Dems don't trump up their efforts to prevent it. So far, their measures have been underwhelming. And right wing con men like Mark Jacoby are having a great time. !No pasaran!

Virginia probably has honest elections (4.00 / 3)
If the GOP was going to steal a race in Virginia under everyone's noses, they would have done it in the 2006 senate race. The pre-election polls showed a toss-up, and the actually results were damn close. If they had a way to fix the vote in Virginia, Jim Webb would not be a senator today.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
You can't pull such a stunt every two years or so (0.00 / 0)
But the presidential election is more important than ebverything else. I guess we all know that the GOP will pull out all stops. Stealing even Virginia isn't totally outside the realms of possibility. They already got away with scandalous manipulations in FL and OH, this may embolden them to go even further with VA. Who's gonna stop them? The Supremes???

[ Parent ]
Virginia's governor is a Dem (4.00 / 2)
That makes it harder for them.  Dems also control the state offices in Ohio now, and while the Repubs are trying some bad stuff there, it's already a lot harder for them to pull it off than it was 4 years ago.  

Also, don't forget that the '06 Senate race in VA wasn't just any old election.  It was literally the difference between the Dems being the majority party in the Senate or not, so the motivation for potential shenanigans was very high.

[ Parent ]
Hmm, you have some points... (0.00 / 0)
but pls excuse me for staying alert of the disturbing possibilities instead of succumbing to the false comfort of believing this election is already decided. Imho premature confidence now can result in Dems snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

[ Parent ]
I think everyone's alert to this stuff (0.00 / 0)
Voter suppression is a near-constant subject of discussion on pretty much every major liberal blog these days, and I think it's quite clear that the Obama campaign is doing a lot to fight back against it.  I'm also pointing out some of the simple structural limitations facing such efforts by the GOP in a couple of the most important states.  So I don't see what there is to be gained from freaking out about this.    

[ Parent ]
Who's freaking out? (0.00 / 0)
But there's nothing wrong with being concerned. And seeing that ACORN doesn't nearly get the necessary support from Obama or other prominent Dems now is not really evidence for everyone being alert. Imho too many see this a simply another conspiracy theory and don't believe this can have an impact on election day. That's a dangerous stance, imho. Your mileage may vary, of course.  

[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
The Obama campaign is pushing back hard on the Acorn stuff, certainly harder than I could have imagined. They're on top of it.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
looking at this google news search, I don't get the impression that the campaign pushed hard against the accusations:

In the media, the attacks seem to vastly outnumber the responses. And the only thing I remember seeing at the NYT was a lame story about the Dems pushing for a special prosector. Not even Rawstory shows any headline implying that Obama fights back.

Well, to me this doesn't look like pushing hard, but like purely defensive moves. And not a single attack against the politisation of the FBI and the DoJ that is showing in the way these largely unbased accusations are artificially blown up to national scale. Excse me for remaining unimpressed about this.

[ Parent ]
Suggest something (0.00 / 0)
Suggest something to do about this, or else you are just trolling with this line of discussion.

[ Parent ]
Well, someone HAS to raise this line of discssion (0.00 / 0)
Simply pretending all is fine and well and there will be fair elections is a dangerous stance. What's so trollish about throwing a topic into the debate that hasn't received the necessary attention? I seem to remember only Paul voiced some concerns so far...

As for suggestions, thx to Haggai, I think these links at DKos offer ways to engage in fighting for fair elections:

Also, I think it would be good for more people to write letters to the media, or post comments there, demanding a stronger focus on vote disenfrachisment issues. The manipulations of the voter rolls should get much more public attention. This is stuff for the evening news, not for page umpteen stories!

[ Parent ]
Debate time is pretty much over. (0.00 / 1)
It's time to go out and volunteer. Otherwise you're just arguing to hear yourself talk.  

[ Parent ]
NC (4.00 / 1)
Just a few minutes ago a new NC Poll from PPP has Obama up 7.

"Keep the Faith"

To be a contrarian (4.00 / 2)
There's a kind of fallacy in this kind of state-by-state analysis, and it doesn't show that the tracking polls or other such measures are not important.  

Think of it as an analogy to what happened in the sub-prime models of mortgage securities.  Folks said, "Well, some of those mortgages will be bad, but not all of them, so if we chop them all up and mix them around, nobody will be accepting much risk."  We know how that turned out.

Here too, we may think, "Well, McCain may pick off one, or two, or three, of those states, but things won't be so bad that he gets all of them."  Sound familiar?

The lesson, I think, is that badness doesn't necessarily occur only in isolated pockets.  When one apple is bad, others are likely to go bad as well.  Once things get bad, they are apt to get bad all over.  If McCain could get two or three of these states, there's a substantial chance that something's going on that will give him all of them.

That's why the tracking polls are important.  They will signal if there's something rotten going on that could infect all these states.  I don't expect this, but it still could happen.  

Continued, (0.00 / 0)
if anyone's still here.  If what's shown in the graph here, ttp://, happened, it would surely affect the electoral college.  The graph (I don't know whether it's accurate, but it's not ridiculous) shows Al Gore making up about 5% in the last few days before the election in 2000.  Basically, looks like all the undecideds broke for him, or something.  That would clearly make a big diffenence in most of the states in the chart, and could produce a McCain win.    

[ Parent ]
269-269 (0.00 / 0)
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but an electoral vote tie will be decided by a state-by-state vote in the House, i.e., each state delegation gets a vote. So the math becomes about having democratic majorities within at least 26 state delegations. According to the 12th Amendment, " ... in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote."

Right now D's control 27 delegations, so all's well, and, without getting into the murkiness about which Congress chooses, the sitting or the new, it's likely that number will hold. Just sayin.

The best discussion of 269-269 ties is at (0.00 / 0), especially the first post (May 18, 2008), which lays out state-by-state projections.

[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
The current makeup doesn't matter.  Per Federal Law, the vote would take place after Congress counts the EVs.   This takes place after the next session of congress is sworn in.. its one of the first duties the do.  

So Congressional races are a HUGE deal this year, especially in light of the possibility of a 369-269 tie.  So work hard to win your local race.

[ Parent ]
MIssouri Has Its Reputation to protect (0.00 / 0)
the one of having voted for the winner in every election since ???? whenever they last got it wrong. They'll come around just for that reason.

Jeff Wegerson

I'm a Little Worried (0.00 / 0)
about that deranged pastor, Wright, who might want to grab attention one last time.  I hope they have some big Brothers sitting on him for the next two weeks.

UH OH! - CNN: McCain Pulling OUt of Colorado? (0.00 / 0)
How can McCain afford to signal he may be pulling out of Colorado? Isn't that the ball game?

Nice summary! (0.00 / 0)
The Victory table captures the suspense left in the race, and while the prospects are looking solid, there is still a possibility of national polls tightening in the last several days which would raise the potential that McCain can draw an incredible insight straight, by winning all these remaining states.  Hopefully, the massive GOTV efforts should also ensure this can't happen particularly among younger voters, where turnout history needs to be made in this election.



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