UPDATE: For a little fun with numbers…
Hi there this will be a long post, I’m going to every so often make one of these analysis maybe once every 3 weeks are so. First we need our baseline of where the candidates are starting on the Electoral College playing field. (For a quick review to those where this is they’re 1st time involved in or for following politics I’ll provide some points for quick review
1) The Electoral College elects the president of the United States, not the popular vote
2) The Electoral College is made up of 538 votes, they are split up amongst the states, and are distributed basically by the amount of people that live in that state, the biggest state California has 55 EC votes the lowest amount of EC votes a state can have is 3, this is because they get 2 for each senator of their state plus 1 for their Represtative. Their are 6 states with the smallest amount of EC Votes breakdown can be seen in the image below of the dispursal of these votes for each state on the map.
3) Now the EC votes for each state are decided by the popular vote in that state (so yes we still live in a democracy just a complicated one lol), the electoral votes are winner take all in 49 of the 51 contests (DC is the 51st for those confused, No territories like Puerto Rico or Guam etc… have a say… this is just for states plus DC)
4) The two states that do not have a winner take all set up are Nebraska (a traditional red state) and Maine (traditionally a blue one) NE has a total of 5 EC votes 2 are winner take all for the winner of the state the other 3 are decided based on the 3 congresional districts and the voting done by the public in those districts, Maine has a total of 4 EC votes, 2 again go to the winner of the state, and 2 for how the voting goes in the congressional districts. There has never been a split since NE started this method in 72′ and alo no split for ME it started this method in 1992 (On a side note I do feel this is the most fair way to do elections and it doesn’t require an amendment to the Constitution, its definetly closer to the “one man, one vote” concept. I just think its unfair candidate x beats candidite y in Florida by less than 1% and get all of their EC votes, but that for another day back on topic)
5) The race to 270… The half way point of 538 plus 1 is 270 and ergo is the the number needed to be acheived by a candidate to win the presidency. A 269-269 tie is possible in a few scenerios of state combinations (including one that is convievable for this election. In the event of a tie the House of Represnatives decides who the next president will be, so basically who ever has control will vote in its candidate (its not quite a simple as that but all intenste of purpose it will be for this year) Democrats will have control and ergo Obama would be elcected so… Obama in reality needs to get to the 269 mark to win, where as McCain will need 270 to win.
Here are the results of the past 2 elections…
Bush beat Kerry 286-251
4 years earlier
Bush beat (?) Gore 271- 266
I show these 2 as images so the beginner gets an idea of just where each party has its stong suits, for the Dem’s its the “Left (west) Coast”, Midwest, and Northeast (minus NH which swings everywhich way), for the Republicans, their core has been the solid south, the plains and the mountain west. traiditionaly there were about 7 impotant swing states that pretty much decide every election… (NM, IA, MO, OH. PA. FL and NH) in 2000 and 2004 that number of important swing states came down to the 3 biggest (PA, FL and OH) who ever wins 2 of 3 wins the election basically.
Of Course with so few states deciding the elction each side has developed strategies for over taking areas that were traditional for the other party. The repubs had spent loads and loads of cash in PA in 00′ and 04′ and still couldn’t turn it, so they now have shifted to the midwest where democratic suport has waned in some states. (This year with the whole MI debacle in the primary further compounds this problem. The Dems spent loads of money in FL and OH to flip them blue and couldn’t so they have in turn started their 50 state strategy of going after votes everywhere in reality though the focus is on the Mountain of the west, states like AZ, CO, NM, and NV, McCain coming from AZ thows a kink into the works for that state of course.
Now of course that was the strategies of the parties, since the parties have now chosen their candidates they have strong suits or weaknesses as individuls that allow them to go after other individual states seperate for the party strategies… McCain being from AZ he will try to to counter balance the Dem push to win the west. Now Obama on the other hand has many strengths and attributes that opens doors in other states. With the storng turnout out in the primaries and changing demographics, he’s in a position to go after Virgina and North Carolina, and due to his youthfulness he can go after the two youngest states Indiana and Alaska where he’s in close polls with McCain
So lets get back to where I stated off at… the Candidates baseline (Safe and Likely States) that are theirs to win (this is based on history, polls, and my own analysis.)
The Winning Team in the past election goes first so we’ll start with McCain…
As one can see very quicly McCain’s baseline follows the general area’s where Republicans are expected to do well, except there are some holes, first NC/VA have become swing states and GA is all of a sudden in play becasue of Liberatarian candidate Bob Barr, MS is also not colored safe. Although i would still bet that MS will stay red, there is a very interesting mathematical equation for MS, 34% of the voting popualation there are black democrats… so in theory if Obama were to keep his extremely high almost 100% rating with the AA community… Obama would need to get only 16% of the states white vote to win, this also comes into play with GA and NC and mark my words Obama will pick off one of these 3 states in the south. Also of note in the north Great Plains and Big sky region, ND and MT are not so safe for McCain, again these states will likely be red but its going to be much closer than some think. COLORODO this state has been red for a while, but a huge change in demographics, this year’s DNC will be in Denver and all polling has had McCain behind. Also of note is Alaska which recent polls have showed the state running close, Obama is even running ad’s here. Key is that AK is the youngest state in America… this bodes well for Obama with the enthusisasm of his youth movement.
All in all this isn’t a good looking baseline only 133 of the 270 EC votes needed are relatively secure.
On to Obama…
Not too bad for the up start… 242 EC votes are fairly secure… leaving him only 28 EC votes away from thw 270 needed to win… No suprises here except that some might say I’m being too generous in states like PA. IA, OR and NH… I will admit that in the case of NH that this state can swing from one direction to another in an instant and McCain’s good image there may help him but current polls are holding Obama well ahead and at least at this point it is a likely Obama win. In regurads to PA… Obama keeps improving here in each poll and is now winning them all some by significant margins. About Iowa Obama’s roots in the beginning of the democratic will really help him here and again this state’s polls are consistantly showing Obama well ahead… In Oregon, the most recent poll has me a bit nervos as it showed tightning but it could just be a bad poll until I see another one showing a drop this state should be safe… Wisconscin was the closest state in the 04′ election but Obama’s impressive victory in the primary and again polls lead me to believe that this is safe bet at least for now. MN always goes blue, this year though we have some potential issues though here… 1) RNC is being held here (aka they think they can win) 2) Polls are pretty close but still Obama win 3) McCain may pick MN Gov. for VP mate which could further add to trouble… But history is in the favor of the Dem’s here. And over all this shoud be an Obama state but does need to be watched.
So what we have here in reguards to a baseline:
Obama: 20 states 242 EC votes vs. McCain: 16 states 133 EC votes
Again 270 will be needed for McCain and 269 for Obama to win the presidency
On this next image I will be showing the lean states (states that are close but clearly leaning in one direction or another) for both candidates, blue and red for each of course… I’ll also show the states that are truly a toss up for either to win. (purple for toss ups, the baseline states have been greyed)
Basically This Is Your States That Are In Play For Either Candidate
Ok so there are some very interesting things to note right off the bat here Obama again only needs 28 EC votes
1) With Obama’s baseline map plus holding on to his lean states he’s up to 273 Electoral votes and is already over the top, key here is just holding on to Michagan for Obama…
2) For argument sakes say that McCain takes MI away on election day… Obama if he holds on to CO and NM he will only need 13 for 269 or 14 for 270 just to make it a clean win… V
A with its 13 will get him to the 269 mark or OH will get him over 270 or he can get MO or IN and tack on NV… or the both of MO and IN
Lets take NM away
Now Obama would need 18 for 269 or 19 for 270
3) OH will still be enough by itslef or VA and combine it wit either IN or MO
Now of course Obama will have the $$$ advantage so he can really go on the attack in the other close states, If Obama can take FL its over… there is almost no path to the presidency for McCain if he loses FL, but if Obama can take GA or NC its basically the same deal…
The point here is that there are many options for an Obama win… here are some likely scenarios that will play out in an Obama win… (If it were close)
Remeber this is mindfully trying to keep it close just to make the point of just how many options are really out there…
Now for McCain barring some kind of miracle being pulled in PA its very diffiult for him to win, if he were this would be the most likely scenario…
But in reality based on current polls and computer model forecasts this is the most likley outcome…
Which is a very significant win for Obama…
As for what other analysts are saying at this point
Now 538.com is a very interesting site, this guy runs a very expansive systemwith compute models loaded not only with poll data as is seen at Electoral-vote.com, but instead there is data loaded based on trends from previous elections back to 92’… Also demograghics and demograghic changes, news stories are factored in and also the trends themsleves in polls… the model is run 10,000 times per day.
In the next chart check out the % on an Obama landslide over 40%… WOW