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That’s right.  As of September 11th, Obama has 268 electoral votes according to a raft of polls that have come out since Labor Day.  268.  

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

Now, Gertrude Stein knows that polls are polls are polls; however, two things have emerged since late August.  First, not only has Obama been slipping in national polls which are largely meaningless, but he has also been slipping in statewide polling, particularly in states that have traditionally voted Republican.  Second, the map has not been redrawn.  It looks almost exactly like 2000 and 2004.

Earlier this summer David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign director, said that Obama could win without Ohio and Florida.  Sure.  But the odds are like drawing on an inside straight.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  All the Kerry states, plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.  But it sure doesn’t allow for much leeway, does it?  What happens if McCain wins just one of the Kerry states?

Well, I have news for Mr. Plouffe.  Obama DOES need Ohio and Florida this November.  Michigan and Pennsylvania, too.   Like it or not, the nation remains rigidly divided between red states and blue states.  The September polling map differs little from the election results in 2000 and 2004.

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

Only four – that’s right FOUR– states switch colors in these maps, three between 2000 and 2004, Iowa, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, and one according to recent polls, Colorado.  That leaves forty-six states that have remained the same color since 2000.  It would be wonderful to redraw the map, but it is very unlikely to happen.  And the last two months of the campaign ought to acknowledge this.

If anything, the choice of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential nominee has solidified John McCain’s support in traditional Republican states while galvanizing Obama support in strong Democratic states.  Looking at the polling map again, there are, at most, ten states in play – Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico in the West, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin in the Midwest, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in the Northeast, and Florida and Virginia in the South.  (Although Washington and Indiana are, at present, lighter shades of blue and pink, New Hampshire and Florida are more likely in play.)

Palin gave the McCain campaign a double exposure – Northern Exposure and Southern Exposure.  Southern politicians have dominated Congress since God invented dirt while the issues of Northern Tier states have often been invisible.  Palin brings both the cultural and economic North to the table.  Not only do large numbers of people in northern New England, the Upper Great Lakes, and the Pacific Northwest hunt and snowmobile, these areas have traditionally been more dependent upon resource-based industries – logging, mining, fishing.  What’s more, in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin the far northern counties have been traditionally Democratic – albeit Reagan/Clinton Dem.

Take Michigan for example.  Bill Clinton swept the Upper Peninsula in 1996; however, Yooper support for the Dems has been steadily declining.  Not to mention that the red ink is getting thick, statewide.

Data -
Modified Map - Johnnygunn

Same goes for Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The shipping and mining areas of Duluth, Superior, and Hibbing have been core Democratic areas; however, they have been slammed by closures and deindustrialization.

Data -
Modified Map - Johnnygunn

The Obama campaign must recognize the potential appeal that the Palin candidacy has in the Northern Tier.  Unchecked, it may make a difference in one or two crucial states.

Then there’s the Southern Exposure.  There is little doubt that McCain used the Palin veep position to shore up his support with Evangelical Republicans who had been lukewarm about his candidacy.  Although Sarah Palin left the more doctrinaire Wasilla Assembly of God Church for the less controversial Wasilla Bible Church, it is still Evangelical but not Pentecostal.

A quick look at the map of Evangelicals in the United States shows that the choice of Palin has enormous implications for the Republican base.  The GOP has won every state with an Evangelical population of greater than 15% in both 2000 and 2004.  In this map and in most comparisons, the label "Evangelical" applies to predominately white congregations.  Members of historically African American denominations, although often evangelical in theology, have significantly different social and political views.

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

The most important religious demographic for Democrats isn’t Mainline Protestants who break even politically or Catholics who trend slightly Democratic or Jews who vote strongly Democratic but are a small percentage of the vote.  The most important and largest demographic are those who categorize themselves as believers who are not affiliated with any denomination.  Caution is urged.  Since there is no comprehensive census on religious beliefs, it is difficult to infer who these people might be.  Are they lapsed Catholics, Jews, and Mormons who simply do not go to church, temple, or ward?  Do they reflect the larger religious mix of their community and state or do they stand in opposition to it?  Finally, in West Virginia, many Holiness believers are staunchly antidenominational; yet, are culturally more conservative than Evangelicals.  Still, the following map is illustrative because it suggests where resistance to Evangelical Republicanism might be centered.

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

But wait !!  There’s more !!!

There’s also a Western Exposure.  McCain and Palin are both Westerners.  The Democrats have NEVER run a Westerner on the ticket.  Perhaps the greatest myth of the West is that of the "rugged individualist".  No area of the country has been more dependent upon interlocking relationships, whether corporate or governmental.  From the transcontinental railroad to the great water projects to public lands grazing, Westerners have depended on Eastern capital and government subsidies.  Still, the image of the "maverick" is branded into the West’s hindquarters.  And it is this image, combined with their Western residence, that will boost McCain and Palin in the West.  A look at how Perot did in 1992 confirms this.  Perot even beat Clinton in Utah and came close in Idaho and Alaska.

Data -
Map - Johnnygunn

Recent polls point to a big McCain lead in Montana and North Dakota.  They are not likely to be winnable this November.  The Western Exposure may also peel away a few votes in Nevada and Colorado.  Its impact will be smallest in New Mexico.  But, the chances for Obama winning these three Intermountain states are lessened by a Republican ticket with two Westerners.

Thus, it may come down to ten states that will decide this election.
Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
It’s a sad commentary, but the other forty hardly matter.
Yet, again.


A 50-State Strategy for Congress is great. Kay Hagen can get elected in North Carolina.  Gary Trauner can get elected in Wyoming.  However, a 50-State Strategy at the presidential level is not only unrealistic, it is courting disaster at this point.  Unfortunately, the map is not redrawn.  The red states are still red and the blue states are still blue.  The winner this November is the candidate who can peel two or three into his column.  I want that candidate to be Obama.

Originally posted to johnnygunn on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great diary. (4+ / 0-)

    Would it help or hurt the O/B ticket if Bill Richardson were more visible?

    Success is the child of audacity. --Disraeli

    by ChuyHChrist on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:13:11 AM PDT

  •  Immensely useful diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theran, johnnygunn, TomP


  •  Polls Schmolls! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rclendan, bleeding blue

    Don't get sucked into looking at the pretty colors!  Democrats are killing Republicans in registering new voters.  There are more registered Democrats than Republicans (and most aren't being polled).  So when you see this car wreck, do not rubberneck, drive past and make sure you help to get those kids (18 to 25 year olds) to the polls!

    •  Well Mr. 166xxx - (0+ / 0-)

      I'm glad you have expressed yourself so forcefully.
      Care to add anything substantive?

    •  Such As - (0+ / 0-)

      Which states where Obama is polling at -5% or more are likely for Obama to win and why?  

      (Florida excepted since I have already included it in the ten swings)

      •  268 + 5 wins (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rclendan, Vicky

        Bring NV or NM into the fold and you don't need OH or FL to win!  I'm just trying to illustrate not to get your panties into a bunch over today's polls!  Keep canvassing, phone banking, and GOTV and look at the polls again after the debates!  RELAX!

        •  Did You Read - (0+ / 0-)

          Now, Gertrude Stein knows that polls are polls are polls; however, two things have emerged since late August.

          Earlier this summer David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign director, said that Obama could win without Ohio and Florida.  Sure.  But the odds are like drawing on an inside straight.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  All the Kerry states, plus Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado.  But it sure doesn’t allow for much leeway, does it?  What happens if McCain wins just one of the Kerry states?

          I know perfectly well that 268 + 5 equals 273.
          But 273 - 11 (Wisconsin) puts us back below 270.
          Not to mention that if Obama loses Ohio he is likely to do more poorly among similar demographics in Penna., Mich., and Wisc.

          Are you willing to put all your moolah on drawing to an inside straight?

          •  I'm all in (0+ / 0-)

            Not only will I bet on the inside straight, I'm also willing to say we flopped the nuts!  Incumbent party has the economy in the toilet with no specific plan for change.  We maul them in the debates and stick to our ground game and we will beat them.

    •  the youth vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is notoriously unreliable. We simply cannot assume they will come out. I hope and pray that they do, but we cannot count on it, as we have learned time and time again.

      Also, we can't assume all new reg voters will vote. It's seems crazy to me b/c I've always done it come hell or highwater - since i was 18. But we just can't assume anything.

      I think we also need to be very careful believing that Dems aren't being polled. never underestimate the enthusiasm of the evangelical voter. We've done that before to our detriment.

      That said, thanks for your lovely enthusiasm, and hope I'm totally and completely wrong and you are right.  :)

  •  The idea of the 50-state strategy... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was to keep them competitive long enough for McCain to use his limited resources to defend them, allowing us to pour money and time into those states where it counted. Now that McCain is pulling away soundly in those states, the strategy is moot.

    Now we'll have to rely on the good sense of the folks in Ohio and Florida to bail us out. It has been so effective in the past.

  •  Excellent analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pangloss, johnnygunn, Vicky

    Tipped and rec'd.

    I think Obama has run a cautious and conservative campaign. The emphasis on Sarah Palin in the mass media and the left blogs has played into the McCain campaign's hand, which is happy to fight a culture war over her qualifications.

    I was astounded to see in the Daigeo/Hotline poll that McCain leads Obama 58/33 on national security and they're nearly tied on the economy and energy. The message is sure not getting out.

  •  It will be 269-269 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scoopster, johnnygunn

    with the House voting for Obama 27 states to 23.

    Hopefully we can convince the right wing to go along with scraping the electoral college.

    A vote for Palin is a vote for the Shadow Government

    by Paul Goodman on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:27:44 AM PDT

    •  Scraping or Scrapping? (0+ / 0-)

      Although I agree that "scraping" is more appropriate given what is on the bottom of my shoe.

      Don't expect the E.C. to go anytime soon.
      It requires a constitutional amendment -
      2/3s of the Senate and House
      Plus 3/4s of the states.

      Small states will not support scrapping the E.C.
      I fear we are stuck with it - speaking of shoes.

  •  259 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have him at 259.  McCain at 247.  Giving Obama all the Kerry states plus Iowa, and McCain Florida and Ohio.  It will come down to Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

    Where are the attack ads?

    by Paleo on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:28:07 AM PDT

  •  if you count the 1 he can win in nebraska (0+ / 0-)

    then they would be tied

    "You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil' Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school." ~Barack Obama~

    by mobilio316 on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:33:34 AM PDT

  •  Economy every day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn, Vicky, smellybeast

    Lord knows there's enough ammunition.

    "Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war." John McCain at the RNC, August 31, 2004

    by Pangloss on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:34:16 AM PDT

  •  "Non" Denominational Includes Many Evangelicals. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There's an armada of Baptist clone evangelical/ fundamentalist churches that I saw rolling out in the very early 70's first on college campuses (because that's just where I happened to be).

    Oh, man, we're not with any denomination, like, we just get together and read the Bible.

    Lots of megachurches are in this category today. "Christian" is all they call themselves, it's a formal program to rebrand the term to mean only them.

    I have no idea how to proportion non denominational but we'd be crazy not to weight a good chunk of them evangelical.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:39:47 AM PDT

    •  ARDA (0+ / 0-)

      Apportions - i.e. estimates - membership in "Nondenominational" churches.
      Unaffiliated means people who are not affiliated with any formal church, temple, mosque, or ward - whether or not that institution is part of a larger denomination.

      Census collection of religious information ended in the 1920s with one last attempt in the 1930s.  ARDA has the largest database - including many conservative Evangelical denominations and independent churches.  It lacks information on historically African American denominations, Jewish congregations, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Holiness believers - - people who have been subject to the greatest religious persecution.

  •  Obama's Firewall states (0+ / 0-)

    In my opinion , he should quietly start moving logisstics and bodies into those states for the fial battle:


    I strongly believe these are the 6 states in which Obama should play close attetion to.

    The reason why is because , i could see all the "national" polls showing him losing by 3-4 points , but still fight off breaches inside hi firewall.

    He should regard thi battle as hi last stand.

  •  Its worse for the other side. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn, Vicky

    If McCain lost Virginia, Florida,Ohio or North Carolina his math to 270 would get very complicated.
    No poll can predict the turn out models of African Americans with the first African American candidate.
    Northern Virginia will go to Obama by incredible margins. These polls are giving McCain a slight edge based on previous models which i think will not apply in November.
    McCain chances of losing Virginia or Ohio are greater than Obama chances of losing PA , Wisconsin or Michigan. Its harder to mass up enough votes in the rural areas to compete with the major population centers.

    •  Actually - (0+ / 0-)

      Suburban/exurban counties now have more pop than urban counties.
      That's where the action is.

      The urban/rural vote may cancel out in many key states.

      •  Then how did Kerry come so close in Ohio (0+ / 0-)

        Kerry lost almost every county in Ohio except for the major population centers.
        Even then 200,000 African Americans did not vote and he still came very close.
        Same way Obama won MO is the primary.
        Same way democrats win in PA. They always lose the T by huge margins but come out of the population centers with such a lead that they end up winning anyways.

        •  You Make My Point - (0+ / 0-)

          Kerry only won three counties and St. Louis City in Missouri in 2004 and lost the state by 7%.  He failed to win the suburban vote.

          In Ohio, Kerry did much better with the suburban vote in northern Ohio, but didn't win the suburban vote in southern Ohio - not to mention the rural vote.  He (supposedly) lost by 2%.

          •  I do not think Missouri is in serious play (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Ohio, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina are.
            Obama could afford to lose all four but McCain cannot afford to lose even one of them.
            For the Obama campaign to abandon the 50 state strategy and not put pressure on McCain in North Carolina and Virginia would be political malpractice.

            •  While i agree. (0+ / 0-)

              I think Obama should concentrate in states where we have +5 party registration advantage.

              This is why i think MI and PA may be trap state for McCain.

              With the exception of the bogus MI AI poll which has McCain beating Obama by 13 among the 17-29 demo , i havent seen one poll showing Obama trailing in Michigan or PA.

              To me , this is the good news here...McCain is at his peak and national poll has him +2.8 , but no lead in PA or MI yet.

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