Sunday, October 5, 2008

300-Plus Electoral Votes is Possible for Obama

A guest post from Denis Campbell, editor-in-chief of

My EU media colleagues have a hard time understanding that daily national tracking polls mean little. On November 4th, voters will enter and cast ballots in 50-statewide winner-takes-all contests. There are 538 electoral votes up for grabs, this is how the race is decided and the first person to 270 votes wins. California is the biggest prize with 55, several small states including Alaska and the District of Columbia have 3 votes each and the map shows how they break down and voted in 2004.

George Bush beat John Kerry 286-252 with Ohio’s questionable 20 votes the margin of victory. The map’s mid-section was solid red in the 2004 presidential election but Barack Obama’s organisation has targeted several “red” states this year and in the map below is doing surprisingly well in a number of them. New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Montana are four that he would love to have and could win them all. The ‘New West’ independent states have chosen Democratic state governments and popular governors who are helping Obama. The South, a GOP stronghold since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, also has a number of interesting contests in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia. That leaves Ohio and Florida, two controversial states from 2000 and 2004 as key battlegrounds where Obama is leading in both.

Using my prognosticator cap and barring another violent swing in what has become the 3-minure media cycle, Obama could be headed to a landslide victory in a number of those states which could put his election in the bag before polls close on the West Coast of the USA.

With 1-month left, the usually cool, calm and collected Barack Obama is clearly winning out over mad-dog John McCain. Pointed, deliberate and powerful jabs and combinations to the mid-section of McCain by Obama are softening him up and trumping the kitchen sink, frenetic, Hail Mary pass downfield, gambling approach of John McCain. McCain is looking more and more like an angry, desperate old man and neither of his ‘trophy’ partners can dig him out of the hole he now finds himself in.

And it’s only going to get worse for McCain.

McCain operatives conceded Michigan, pulling advertising and staff out and now see that attacking Obama’s inexperience is not working, their candidate is running out of money and so now expect the 527 group ‘Swift Boat squads’ to throw every sleazy advert they can to attack the character of Obama and force him off his issues-based solid ground game of repeatedly tying McCain to Bush.

Here is why I am so bullish:
• A Wall Street Journal poll of “new” voters shows they support Obama over McCain by 61% - 30%.

• Add this to the hustling, organising ground game of Senator Obama using his 57-state and territory organisations, targeted add buys outspending Senator McCain 3:1, buckets full of cash on hand (and still coming in) and the Chicago kid is doing much better than either of his City’s baseball teams facing 0-2 playoff holes from which to rebound.

• Obama’s got a ground game. In July and August his funds went to building the field organisation. As a community organiser he understands and knows that nothing trumps SPIN better than face-to-face answering of questions.

• The McCain/Republican SPIN doctors that worked so smoothly in the 2000 and 2004 are stranded on a sandbar of ridiculousness. Now they just sound pathetic as they believe green is purple and will convince you they know it is and you’re an idiot for not seeing it.

• Sarah Palin is an unmitigated disaster as VP choice. The base loves her, everyone else is terrified.

I invite you to close your eyes and go back to 11 September 2001. The President is in the air unable to land because we don’t know what is going on. VP Cheney is in the secure bunker underneath the White House coordinating events. Now keep your eyes closed… and picture Sarah Palin sitting in Cheney’s chair…

Did you wake up in a cold flop sweat?

Run from the room screaming?

As the old telly advert said, “this drugs (you see a hot frying pan as an egg cracks and then begins sizzling). This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

The Obama team has done a good job of anticipating attacks and swatting them aside. They’ve played a solid, if not altogether boring game of moving the ball steadily downfield and, after having the gruelling Hillary Clinton primary experience, know exactly what to do to punch the ball into the end-zone.

They have attacked when needed and played a mostly patient game whereas McCain has lost his cool and looked anything but Presidential in his choices since the week before the convention. His gravy train lobbyist staff will parachute to safety, earn their 7-figure salaries peddling influence and point fingers as the Clinton team did. This failure will then have only one author, John McCain.

My final EV prediction: 325-213 to Obama.

Any questions?

1 comment:

S said...

The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes-- 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.