Sunday, November 02, 2008

Prediction Time

With mere hours left until the polls open nationwide south of the border it is time to get going on my state by state predictions. Here we go in alphabetical order. I might divide this into two very long posts.

Alabama (9): The Obama campaign is surging across the south. Not so much in Alabama. African- Americans may vote in record numbers but this is safe for John McCain.

Running Total: McCain 9, Obama 0

Alaska (3): Had John McCain chosen anyone else as his VP, this state would have been, like North Dakota and Montana, in play. However, if nothing else, Sarah Palin has given him her home state. Even the likely defeat of a sitting Republican Senator (convicted of corruption) and Republican Congressman (suspected of corruption) won't help Obama's fortunes here. Palin/McCain hold this red state.

Running Total: McCain 12, Obama 0

Arizona (10): The home state of John McCain was expected to be a non-contest for most of this election. Then someone decided to actually poll the place and found Obama competitive. However, competitive is not the same as winning. I expect even with Hispanics voting 2:1 for Obama, McCain will hold on.

Running Total: McCain 22, Obama 0

Arkansas (6): If somehow Obama loses this election the Clinton supporters will harp on what is expected to be a poor showing in Arkansas. While this state has no problem electing Democrats to statewide office, Obama has been unable to make a move here. Another safe state for McCain.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 0

California (55): Arnold aside, California is about as Blue as they come. McCain originally thought he could win over independents in the home state of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, but that strategy was quickly abandoned. Yes, the pollsters overrated Obama's primary support, but not by twenty points. Chalk the largest electoral prize up in the Obama column.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 55

Colorado (9): If McCain loses this election, it will be places like Colorado that cost him. This is a state that voted for Bush twice and home to one of the largest evangelical churches in the nation. However, a growing hispanic community has pushed voter registration and this state in general into the Democratic column. They picked up a senate seat here in 2006 and are poised to snag the other one this year (one of the brothers Udall). This state has been polling strongly for Obama. Also, in spite of the efforts of the evangelicals (who are the ones who traditionally use advanced voting), more Democrats than Republicans voted early this year. Will it be close? Probably. Will Obama win? Probably.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 64

Connecticut (7): In a different year, the endorsement of independent Senator Joe Lieberman in this New England state might have made McCain competitive here. Joe-mentum though is usually an overrated commodity. This state has been reliably Democratic for a while, expect it to continue. There's a reason Lieberman, who spoke at the RNC, hasn't joined the Republicans: he wants to get re-elected. Obama wins here in a walk.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 71

Delaware (3): In arguing against choosing Joe Biden, I said that it didn't give Obama any states, Delaware being one of the bluest states in the Union. The only interesting thing in Delaware is who they get to fill Biden's Senate seat if Obama wins on Tuesday. His son, Beau, the state's Attorney General is seen as a natural successor. The only problem? He's in Iraq right now fighting for his country. At any rate, Obama picks up the electoral votes.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 74

District of Columbia (3): The least competitive race on Tuesday night will be at the centre of it all. DC is famous for its absurd Democratic margins and expect it to get downright silly on Tuesday with an African-American on the ballot.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 77

Florida (27): What would a presidential election be without the annual appeal to the elderly voters of Florida? With Jews looking increasingly comfortable with Barack Hussein Obama, and a major shift expected in Cuban-American voters to the Democratic ticket, I like Obama's chances here. If I was doing this prediction in a more intelligent way (i.e. not alphabetically) I would have left Florida until a later post. It really should be a coin flip. At the end of the day I favour Obama's ground game.

Running Total: McCain 28, Obama 104

Georgia (15): The very fact that Georgia's electoral votes are in question shows how bad a fall it has been for the Republicans. While the huge African-American turnout is certainly a large part of the story, there should have been enough white Republicans for McCain to take this in a walk. As it is, I expect a close race. However, I just can't believe Obama can pull this off. I do expect Senator Saxby Chambliss to be pushed to a run-off here.

Running Total: McCain 43, Obama 104

Hawaii (4): One of the convenient things about the two states outside the continental United States is that they basically cancel each other out. Alaska is as red as they come. Hawaii is similarly blue. Hawaii is excited about electing their native son to the White House. Obama may see his largest margin of victory here. It is interesting to see Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) standing up for his contemporary Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

Running Total: McCain 43, Obama 108

Idaho (4): This is probably the reddest state in the Union. It is home to the last school Sarah Palin went to (Univ. of Idaho). There is a competitive house race here. See what competing everywhere gets you Canadian Liberals? McCain wins easily but not easily as previous Republicans.

Running Total: McCain 47, Obama 108

Illinois (21): From one of Obama's homes to another. The best party on earth may be in Chicago on Tuesday night. This state is where the Republican Party's historic collapse may have begun. Obama was the first of many Democrats to benefit from the Republicans having a lousy Senate opponent. We shall see if the NRSC finds someone to run against whoever emerges from the Democratic primary in 2010. Jesse Jackson jr. is among the contenders so you know it will be interesting.

Running Total: McCain 47, Obama 129

Indiana (11): How is this reddest of red states in play? Well, a lot of people credit the economic collapse combined with the competitive Democratic primary. Had Obama picked popular Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) as his running mate, he probably could have had this state locked up. As is, it is a definite toss-up. However, I expect Obama to fall just short as he did in the primary against Clinton.

Running Total: McCain 58, Obama 129

Iowa (7): Remember the Iowa Caucuses? The people of Iowa do. They remember that Barack Obama went around talking to them and earning their vote while McCain held 100 townhalls in New Hampshire and ignored the Hawkeye state. Combine this with McCain's less than enthusiastic support for ethanol and Obama will carry this state that voted for Bush in 2004 easily.

Running Total: McCain 58, Obama 136

Kansas (6): There is the off-chance that had Obama chosen Gov. Kathleen Sibelius (D-KS) as his running mate, he would have had a chance in his mother's birth state. As it is, this state will go to McCain in a walk.

Running Total: McCain 64, Obama 136

Kentucky (8): The primaries are usually not a reliable indicator of future success. However, Obama's abysmal showing in Kentucy is likely to be repeated on election day. McCain should win easily. More interesting is the senate race where minority leader Mitch McConnell faces the fight of his life. If McConnell loses the Democrats may get to the sixty votes they need to have fillibuster proof senate.

Running Total: McCain 72, Obama 136

Louisiana (9): Louisiana is a bit of a curiosity. If it weren't for Hurricane Katrina, there might be enough African-Americans here to make Obama competitive. However, if it weren't for Katrina, the Republican Party would probably not be in such desperate shape. All in all, I expect the recent poll that showed Obama within 3 points here was an outlier. I expect a McCain victory by 7-9 points. The only potentially vulnerable Democratic Senator is Mary Landrieu (D-LA). However it appears that she will win re-election. The only question on Tuesday will be whether or not she can avoid a run-off.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 136

Maine (4): Maine is one of two states that divides its electoral votes. Two go to the overall winner and one goes to the candidate who wins in each of its two electoral districts. There was a time, when pundits thought that Maine might be close enough (a lot of hockey moms in Maine) to actually deliver one of its electoral votes for McCain. It seems increasingly unlikely. It also seems increasingly unlikely that Tom Allen (D) will unseat moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 140

Maryland (10): Although not as Democratic as DC, Maryland is a reliable blue state. With record turnout expected among African-Americans, expect Maryland to go overwhelmingly to Obama.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 150

Massachussetts (12): In spite of Gov. Deval Patrick's (D-MA) decreasing popularity in the state and the recent revelation of a Democratic state senator accepting bribes, Massachussetts will continue to be a true blue state. Will Obama match hometown Sen. Kerry's margin? Maybe not. Will it matter? Definitely not.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 162

Michigan (17): Pundits may point to John McCain's decision to pull out of Michigan as the moment when he lost the election. It isn't so much that McCain lost because he didn't campaign in Michigan so much as the fact that he couldn't win Michigan meant that the Republican ticket was sunk. This is a state that Romney probably would have put in play. With convicted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) off the front pages, Obama should win by a decent margin here.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 179

Minnesota (10): The GOP held its convention in the twin cities with the expectation that the northern midwest (MN, MI, WI) would be in play. They haven't been and it increasingly looks like the GOP wasted its time in the land of a thousand lakes. If Gov. Pawlenty (R-MN) was on the ticket, the outcome may have been different. As it is, this state will be called quickly on Tuesday.

Running Total: McCain 81, Obama 189

Mississippi (6): Mississippi is a state that will be shaped by the size of the African-American turnout. If it is as high as expected Obama may get within 10 points here (a sizeable achievement). It may also be enough to carry former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) to victory over appointed Sen. Roger Wicker (R) in the special election to replace Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS).

Running Total: McCain 87, Obama 189

Missouri (11): The bellweather of bellweathers, Missouri is definitely a toss-up again this year. The question here, as it is in most swing states is whether or not Obama can actually turnout the massive crowds that have come to his rallies (100,000+ in St. Louis). If McCain loses here, it will be a very long night for the Senator from Arizona. I expect this to be one of the last states to be called on election night in spite of the fact that its polls close at 8pm. At the end of the day, I'll take McCain in a squeaker. A result which will in all likelihood make Missouri a little less bellweathery.

Running Total: McCain 98, Obama 189

Okay, by my count that's 25 + the district down, 25 to go. Good time to take a break.

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