Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama a 'map-changer'?

One of the big claims of Team Obama, has been that their candidate will run a "50-state strategy" (the pet idea of David Sirota). He is, they say, a "map changer."

David Plouffe famously named Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina as red-to-blue targets for Obama -- but two of those states are currently rated "likely Republican" by Rasmussen, and the third is "leans Republican," while two major "swing" states (Florida and Missouri) are also still in the "leans Republican" column.

Looking at the Rasmussen state-by-state charts overall, while the Democrat is overall in better shape -- as can be expected, given the generic problems for the GOP this cycle -- there is not really evidence that Obama's living up to the "map-changer" hype.

Three Republican "red" states from 2004 (New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado) are currently rated "lean Democrat" by Rasmussen, but three of the more recent four polls show McCain slightly ahead in Colorado, and while Iowa and New Mexico remain problematic for Team Maverick, those two states have only 12 Electoral College votes between them.

Meanwhile, two blue states in the "lean Democrat" column -- Pennsylvania and Michigan -- remain in play. Obama's failure to put Michigan out of reach is his biggest vulnerability, and this is mainly due to local political conditions in the state.

What McCain must do to reach 270 Electoral College votes (EVs) and clinch the election is:
  • Hold onto the states currently listed as "lean/likely Republican" (227 EVs);
  • Win the three "toss-ups," Ohio, Virginia, Nevada (38 EVs);
  • Win Colorado (9 EVs).
That simple formula gets McCain to 274 EVs. If he can add either Pennsylvania or Michigan -- he's got a margin of error in case, for instance, Obama picks Evan Bayh as VP and thus carries Indiana.

Doing all this won't be easy -- Virginia could be a big fight, and Ohio is sure to be a real battleground again -- but it is both feasible and simple. It's not a political longshot, and doesn't require a lot of complicated "strategery."

Despite months of adulatory press coverage, Obama is still not at 50% nationally, Maverick is hard on his heels, and that all that Democratic hype about a "50-state-strategy" with a "map-changer" candidate is starting to smell a lot like something that isn't "Hope."

No comments:

Post a Comment