Monday, September 22, 2008

The Battleground Map (22 Sept. 2008)

Having studied the map on a demographic and party ID basis I've "reassessed"* the battleground landscape. Firstly, here's what Chuck Todd's gang thinks the state of play is this week:

First Read:
Likely Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NY, RI, VT (157 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: IA, MN, NJ, NM OR, PA, WA (76 votes)
Toss-up: CO, MI, NV, NH, OH, VA, WI (78 votes)
Lean McCain: FL, IN, MO, MT, NC (67 votes)
Likely McCain: AL, AK, AZ, AR, GA, ID, KS, KY, LA, MS, NE, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (160 votes)

And here's my new map:

Likely Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA (207 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: WI, MI, NM, PA (53 votes)
Toss-up: CO, MT, NV, NE-cd2 (1ev), NH, OH, VA (55 votes)
Lean McCain: FL, IN, MO, NC, (64 votes)
Likely McCain: AK, AL, AZ, AR, GA, ID, KS, KY, LA, MS, ND, NE (4evs), OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (159 votes)

  • MI looks to be for McCain what NC is for Obama - so temptingly close but seemingly forever just a fingernail away. As such, the Wolverine state moves (just) to Obama's side.
  • PA could move into Toss-up but as long as Obama can retain the lead even when facing a party (dis)loyalty factor of just 72% it his territory.
  • MT moves from Toss-up (where still has it) to Lean McCain. All it would take to go back to Toss-up is just one good poll for Obama there though.
  • NE-cd2 moves from Lean Obama to Toss-up as my heart bows to my head and I await some actual data from the district before deciding how the critical 1 EV might actually go.
  • NH is still Toss-up (on the basis of the only two post Convention polls being conducted by the idiots at ARG and Zogby Interactive) - real data for NH is desperately needed. Look to see NH become Lean Obama soon.
  • The temptation to make IN Toss-up is huge, especially after my favourite pollster Ann Seltzer had Obama up 3, given it's ruby red history though I'll be more conservative then my heart desires and keep it as Lean McCain for now.
  • FL also teeters on the brink of being a toss-up but a good poll with Obama out in front is needed to push it into the coin-flip category.
  • MO remains a Lean McCain, but I imagine it will move to Likely McCain if and when Obama pulls out (probably transferring the staff to IN and OH).
  • NC remains in Lean McCain but should be moving to Toss-up as soon as a credible poll has Obama out in front there.
  • ND goes from Toss-up to Likely McCain - a huge shift due first to my state analysis of the demographics and party ID numbers and then confirmed by the news that Team Obama is pulling out of the Peace Garden State.
  • GA now moves from Lean McCain to Likely McCain as we likely say goodbye to the: win 31%+ of whites + stellar AA + Barr makes 5% = BHO steals the state with just 47% dream.
  • And SD moves from Lean McCain to Likely McCain as polls confirm.

In sum, I think that post-bounce, mid-Wall St crisis, pre-debates, Team Obama is well positioned in the battlegrounds with 260 EVs from Lean and Likely Obama states - just 10 EVs short of victory. Obama's negative object danger comes from Michigan and Pennsylvania (in that order) with his best positive object opportunies from the Toss-ups in CO, VA, NV and OH (in that order). Obama's further paths to victory include IN, FL and NC (in that order).

Thus, despite the loss of AK, GA, ND and SD from the playing field, the wisdom of the Obama campaign's expand-the-map strategy shines through this analysis: Obama continues to have simply far more paths to victory then McCain.

* = see: "head" not "heart".

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