Sunday, November 02, 2008

Prediction Time Part Two

Onward and upward as they say. Twenty-five states left, so let's get going.

Montana (3): Another one of those red states that shouldn't be in play, Montana demonstrates another one of Obama's electoral strengths: Native Americans. Obama has reached out to Native Americans more than most presidential candidates and they are likely to return him the favour in numbers. In both Montana and North Dakota, the Native vote is pushing Obama closer than he would normally be. However, Montana seems to be a bridge too far with Obama looking like he's going to go down by 3-5 points. Democrats are looking at Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) as a possible 2016 pick if anyone's interested.

Running Total: McCain 101, Obama 189

Nebraska (5): The other state to split its electoral votes, Nebraska like Maine has never actually done so. There are those in the Obama camp that think the congressional district around Omaha may be in play. Call it the Buffett effect. I don't buy it. While the Oracle may be backing Obama, I think his fellow Nebraskans will follow McCain

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 189

Nevada (5): Normally when people talk about Nevada swinging, they aren't talking politics. However, the Silver State is in play this time around. As with most Western states, the outcome depends how strong the Hispanic support is for Obama. With good early voting returns in Clark County (read Las Vegas), Obama appears to be in control here. If McCain wins on Tuesday it will be by pulling off upsets in states like Nevada. I just don't see him coming back here though. Not against a battle tested Obama ground game that figured out a way to lose the popular vote and still come away with 2 more delegates than Clinton in the winter.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 194

New Hampshire (4): If there's one race that's going to break John McCain's heart, it will be New Hampshire. The independent minded people of New Hampshire twice delivered for McCain in the primaries. However, in general elections, New Hampshire has taken a hard left turn since delivering the White House for Bush in 2000 (remember any state would have done for Gore). The Republican collapse in 2006 was visible from space in New Hampshire as they got swept out of congress and lost badly in the state elections. With former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) cruising to an easy victory against incumbent Sen. John Sunnunu (R), New Hampshire appears to be in a Democratic mood. Expect it to extend to the top of the ticket where Obama will finally have his New Hampshire win.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 198

New Jersey (15): Every cycle, the Republicans think they can get back to competitiveness in New Jersey. Then the polls show them ten points down and they abandon ship. This year is no different. The Garden State will vote for Obama.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 213

New Mexico (5): It is ironic that a Republican ticket with two Western candidates may lose the election because of a miserable performance in the West. However, that looks to be a distinct possibility and states like New Mexico tell the tale. New Mexico, in most years, is a swing state. This year Obama looks to be in command. Hispanics again tell a large portion of the story.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 218

New York (31): With the third most electoral votes, New York is a major prize. However, like states one and two (CA and TX), New York has not been competitive in a while. The Empire State may have voted more enthusiastically for their own junior senator but they will elect the junior senator from Illinois by a wide margin.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 249

North Carolina (15): John Edwards never could make his home state competitive for John Kerry in 2004. However, with Edwards mired in an affair, Obama-Biden is neck-and-neck in the Tar Heel State. While recent polls seem to favour John McCain, the early voting here (like Georgia) is jaw-dropping. Over 40% of North Carolinians have already voted and over half of those are registered Democrats. With Sen. Dole (R) facing a surging Kay Hagan (D) down ballot, I expect the Democratic ground game to put this one over the top. Obama on a hunch.

Running Total: McCain 106, Obama 264

North Dakota (3): If North Dakota falls, the Republicans may begin tearing their hair out. They'd be justified. This state has voted Republican in the presidential contest for a dog's age. However, recent polls in North Dakota show a dead heat. Like Indiana, I just can't believe Obama can win here. I may be wrong, but I think McCain may win by 5 points.

Running Total: McCain 109, Obama 264

Ohio (20): It is oft repeated that no Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio. It is oft repeated because it is true. However, Republicans have won Ohio and lost the election. Home to Joe the Plumber, McCain may pull Ohio out of the fire. It isn't that Obama can't win Ohio, I just feel like McCain-Palin's last minute assault on the state has worked.

Running Total: McCain 129, Obama 264

Oklahoma (7): Oklahoma is not a particularly interesting state politically. That won't change this year with McCain winning this reliably red state by a wide margin. They will also likely re-elect one of the most conservative Senators in the nation: James Inhofe.

Running Total: McCain 136, Obama 264

Oregon (7): In a different year, McCain could have won Oregon. In fact, earlier this year, I think he believed he could win Oregon. McCain's progressive views on global warming might have endeared him to this green state. As it is, Obama is looking like he's going to win in a walk. Things are so bad for McCain that Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) is running ads touting his work with Sen. Obama in the hopes of splitting off some of Obama's votes form his opponent.

Running Total: McCain 136, Obama 271 (Yes, he's over the top folks)

Pennsylvania (21): As demonstrated above, Obama doesn't need Pennsylvania state to win. It just makes his life easier. McCain threw the kitchen sink at the Keystone state. While Clinton threw the sink at Pennsylvania and came out on top, if broke, McCain is likely to come up empty. I think it may be closer than some of the polls, but still in the Democratic column. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) called his constituents racist, and it may cost him. If he does lose, he will be a rarity: a losing Democratic incumbent. It should be a very good night congressionally for the Dems.

Running Total: McCain 136, Obama 292

Rhode Island (4): Blue state. Blue year. Really no hope for McCain in this tiny state.

Running Total: McCain 136, Obama 296

South Carolina (8): If New Hampshire breaks John McCain's heart on election day, he will take some solace from South Carolina. Eight and a half years ago, Karl Rove perfected his craft in South Carolina and effectively ended McCain's quest for the White House. In spite of the large African-American population, which Bill Clinton reminded us handed Jesse Jackson the Democratic primary twice, Obama will not have enough votes to be competitive here. Look for this to be one of the first states to be called for McCain on election night.

Running Total: McCain 144, Obama 296

South Dakota (3): While some of Obama's momentum in North Dakota has pushed south of the border into South Dakota, it is nowhere near enough. South Dakota will predictably vote for John McCain. The NRSC will be kicking itself that it couldn't find a serious candidate to face recovering stroke victim Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD). Running against a guy who almost died in office is difficult and the Republican bench is surprisingly short in South Dakota. Still, Johnson barely won in 2002 and should have been at the top of the NRSC target list.

Running Total: McCain 147, Obama 296

Tennessee (11): The centre piece of Obama's education policy may be volunteerism, but he has no chance in the volunteer state. Since rejecting its native son in 2000, Tennessee has become a Republican stronghold. Look for that trend to continue with McCain carrying the state in 2008.

Running Total: McCain 158, Obama 296

Texas (34): Democrats on the ground are excited about the future. The future does not mean Tuesday, however. While Hurricane refugees, a growing Hispanic population and the lack of a Bush on the ballot may pull the state closer to the Democratic column, closer not close is the operative word. Expect this one to be in the 10-15 point range for McCain.

Running Total: McCain 192, Obama 296

Utah (5): There are a lot of ways in which Utah is a quirky state. Politics, however, is fairly predictable. Unless Joseph Smith is resurrected and runs for the Democrats, the majority Mormon state is going for the Republicans. If Romney was on the ticket, the margin might have been DC silly. As it is it will just be regular old silly.

Running Total: McCain 197, Obama 296

Vermont (3): Vermont may have given the Democrats their largest advantage in this election and it has nothing to do with its electoral votes (although they don't hurt). Gov. Howard Dean's Fifty State Strategy deserves at least some of the credit for Obama's competitiveness in deep red states. This state is ridiculously liberal for the US. Heck, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) actually describes himself as a socialist. Expect Obama to win here blindfolded with both hands tied behind his back.

Running Total: McCain 197, Obama 299

Virginia (13): Obama's red state strategy has been successful in a lot of states. However, Virginia may be the most dramatic. The whole "real Virginia" comment won't help McCain either. It is odd two days before a presidential election to be calling VA for the Democrats. However, I don't see how McCain can possibly win here.

Running Total: McCain 197, Obama 312

Washington (11): The race here is apparently for the Governor's mansion where the Democratic incumbent who won by a nose (and I mean a nose, recount and all) is running for re-election. In spite of that tension, the race for the White House here is non-existent. Like Oregon, McCain could have been more competitive here but it never really materialized. Obama shouldn't have a problem.

Running Total: McCain 197, Obama 323

West Virginia (5): There was a moment in this campaign that West Virginia seemed in play. It didn't last. In spite of having two high profile Democratic senators (Byrd and Rockefeller), West Virginia will go to McCain and probably handily.

Running Total: McCain 202, Obama 323

Wisconsin (10): Like Minnesota and Michigan, Wisconisn was once thought to be in play. However, McCain never really caught fire here. Obama relied on the students in Madison and elsewhere to deliver him a large primary win here. Expect a similar story on Tuesday.

Running Total: McCain 202, Obama 333

Wyoming (3): The home state of Dick Cheney is unsurprisingly about as red as they come. There are some competitive down ballot races but the top of the ticket will be predictable. McCain by a large margin.

Final Tally: McCain 205, Obama 333

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