Is McCain Sailing Into The Sunset?
The four debates are over, the newspaper endorsements are coming in, and Colin Powell finally declared his intention to vote for Barack Obama, as many expected. Now comes word that Obama raised $150 million in September alone. Is McCain sailing into the sunset? Here’s how I see the electoral map:
White House 2008
Obama – 286 (+26)
McCain – 174 (-26)
Tossup – 78 (unch)
Safe Republican (68) – AL, AK, ID, KS, KY, NE (4/5), OK, SC, TN, UT, WY
Likely Republican (69) – AR, AZ, LA, MS, NE-02, SD, TX
Lean Republican (37) – GA, IN, MT, ND, WV
Tossup (78) – FL, MO, NV, NC, OH
Lean Democratic (26) – CO, NH, VA
Likely Democratic (70) – IA, MN, MI, NM, PA, WI
Safe Democratic (190) – CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, ME, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA
In the “WTF?” column, is the decision by McCain to continue fighting for Iowa and Maine’s 2nd congressional district – neither or which are even on the polling radar. Likewise, most of his early blue state targets are looking solid for Obama. Not good.
But then, based on my own map, McCain needs to win every state leaning his way, all of the tossups, and 18/26 electoral votes in the Lean Dem column. That’s a tall, tall order barring a sudden shift in the polls.
Note: For those just now seeing my projections, “Tossup” is a status where I can’t rule out either side winning it, even on a bad night for their side. “Lean Rep” is for states where I think McCain will win, but could be ripe for an upset, but really only if he’s not doing well. “Likely” is virtually the same as “safe” in my book, but where I think the margin is smaller and where future rating changes – in either direction – could be made if recent polls back it up.
So, everything being equal, Obama is probably headed for somewhere between 286 and 364 electoral votes. My guess is closer to 330, but it could drop to 300 if the race tightens.
Of the states I’m least sure about, Nevada probably is more “lean Dem” than tossup, but I also thought that in 2004, so I’m hesitant to switch it yet.