McCain Pulls Out Of Michigan
Dropping all TV ads, direct mail pieces, and radio spots, and also rediverting key campaign staff out of the Wolverine State, John McCain is making a big strategic decision today to end the fight for Michigan’s 17 electoral votes. Doing so a month before election day makes it that much harder for him to jump back in later if the numbers return for him. It also spells disaster for two incumbent House Republicans facing competitive races. In exchange, he appears to be staffing up in Virginia. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him start spending money in North Carolina and Indiana.
This shows you that the contours of the election has changed from 2004, where Michigan was one of the last swing states standing on Election Day, and shows you the power of being outraised and outgunned can mean for staying competitive. McCain is hurting, and on just such an occassion, I’ll update my electoral map.
White House 2008
Obama – 260
McCain – 200
Tossup – 78
Safe Republican (72) – AL, AK, ID, KS, KY, NE, OK, SC, SD, TN, UT, WY
Likely Republican (88) – AR, AZ, GA, LA, MS, ND, TX, WV
Lean Republican (40) – IN, MO, MT, NC
Tossup (78) – CO, FL, NV, NH, OH, VA
Lean Democratic (41) – MN, PA, WI
Likely Democratic (51) – IA, ME, MI, NM, OR, WA
Safe Democratic (168) – CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT
Under this map, Obama needs just 10 electoral votes from the 78 in tossup to win 270 electoral votes. If he wins them all, as he appears to able to in the current polling averages, he will have a comfortable 338-200 electoral-vote landslide. He’s got the clear edge now, although he’s not been able to move many states out of tossup category.
To understand this map, think of “Safe” as being states no one expects to be competitive in anyway. “Likely” is similarly solid for that side, but the vote margins will be smaller and we can’t completely rule out a competitive race – think of them as “states to watch”. “Lean” is part of the battleground, but campaign actions and polls point to a clear advantage. “Tossup” are the main front of the electoral war.
A lot of changes here, as I reshuffled states into categories that made more sense for today’s environment. The biggest change was Michigan going from “tossup” to “Likely D” as a result of today’s news of McCain pulling out of the state. These numbers dovetail pretty well with Pollster.com’s current map, except I’m a bit more conservative in what has a lean and what doesn’t among the battlegrounds.
I won’t belabor the point or explain specific changes here. Most of them are pretty explanatory, especially when you consider “likely” is really a “keep-your-eye-out-for-this-state” subset of “safe” in my terminology.