Electoral College Projection: O 256, M 205
As I promised, I’ve outlined my own Electoral College projection to accompany my Senate projections from last week. I’ve tilted states as much as I thought they’d go, to minimize tossups. But anything in “tossup” or the two “lean” categories could conceivably be considered “the battleground states”.
Safe Republican (65) – AL, AR, ID, KY, NE (except NE-02), OK, SD, TN, UT, WV, WY
The only thing to write about here is that Nebraska’s Lincoln area is worth watching – otherwise, none of these states are going for Obama short of a massive landslide. But don’t be surprised if the southern states on this list give McCain more than votes than they did for Bush (racist DINOs) while the western states could see Obama improve on Kerry’s showing.
Likely Republican (89) – AZ, GA, LA, MS, KS, NE-02, SC, TX
Many of these red states are on the list for Obama targeting, or are showing weakness for the Republican Party. If Obama starts picking up steam in the popular vote, I could see an upset or two from this list. But I don’t expect any of these to go blue this time. (For example, I put Texas here instead of in Safe because of recent polling, but Texas is big and expensive to play in, so I doubt Obama will push to win there.)
Lean Republican (51) – AK, FL, MT, NC, ND
The polling here has had Obama tied or even ahead, even those these red states should go to McCain as long as he’s not losing too badly in the overall vote. Still, upsets here are possible even in a close contest. And yes, I put Florida here – it’s only voted Democratic twice since 1964 (Carter in 76 and Clinton in 96), and an expected tossup governor’s race in the Democratic year of 2006 ended in a solid romp for Charlie Crist, a rumored-to-be-gay “moderate” who is rumored-to-be on McCain’s VP short list.
Tossup (77) – IN, MI, MO, NV, OH, VA
If it weren’t for the polls that consistently show the state tied, Indiana would be in the “lean Republican” category. Michigan and Ohio are almost “lean Democrat” states, but polling and Obama’s primary experiences show weaknesses here that the post-2006 dynamic isn’t helping to totally erase. Missouri is the site of a rare McCain advertising advantage, reportedly as much as 3-1, as he tries to move the state out of contention. Nevada was a tossup the last two elections, and seems to only be getting closer. Virginia, down-ballot, is moving to the Democrats, but as Kerry proved in 2004, the margin in the presidential race still tilts Republican – add that up and you’ve got a classic swing state, possibly THE Ohio or Florida of 2008.
Lean Democratic (49) – CO, NH, NM, PA, WI
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are currently part of McCain’s top 4 targets (i.e., where he is spending the most advertising dollars). However, all of these states give Obama the current edge, although all are within single digits. A McCain victory would probably result in a winning a couple states in this category, but for now are not his top priority.
Likely Democratic (43) – IA, ME, MN, NJ, OR
McCain would love to win any of these states, but the public polling has put them out of reach for his campaign. New Jersey has particularly been tantalizing but disappointing for Republicans (see 2006 Senate). However, if Obama starts to stumble, an upset in any one of these five can’t be ruled out.
Safe Democratic (164) – CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, NY, RI, VT, WA
Some states on this list might end up within single digits, but are still not likely to be targeted by McCain (despite his public daydreams about competing in California or Lieberman’s Connecticut). Particularly for California, the state is simply too huge and too expensive for McCain to make a play there that would risk him losing support in the battlegrounds.
Of course, this map could change depending on the Veep selections and movement in the polls. I will revisit this projection in early August. So, do you agree or disagree?