Sunday, October 12, 2008

How the Presidential Race Stands Now (with interactive map)

Before I give you the update, this needs to be said. The blogosphere, such as DKos, is screaming right now that the mainstream media is way behind in updating their polls. Either they are very slow, afraid to show bias, or want to keep this a close race. If you look at election projection websites, including far-right leaning sites and polling firms, all show what is now an Obama landslide:

Election Projection: Obama 364-174 Obama 349, McCain 174, 15 tied
Fivethirtyeight: Obama 347.6-190.4 McCain Obama 320, McCain 158, Toss-up 60
Cold-Hearted Truth (right-wing): Obama 320, McCain 203
Hedghog Report (right-wing): Obama 358, McCain 180
Federal Review (right-wing): Obama 358, McCain 169
Real Clear Politics (GOP Polling firm): Obama 277, McCain 158, Toss-up 103

Now look at the the polls for the mainstream media:

MSNBC: Obama 264-174 McCain
CNN: Obama 264-174 McCain
New York Times: Obama 260--200 McCain
CBSNews: Obama 259-163 McCain

I have borrowed the map used by CBSNews and adjusted it a bit. It's interactive, so feel free to play with it as you wish:

Now for my analysis:

The gray areas are the swing states as of Oct. 12, 2008. Obama will sweep all of the Kerry states. Period. McCain's best shots were PA, NH, and MI. Obama has double-digit leads in all of them now. There are several combinations he can enjoy with one big state, a big and a small, or three small states. RIGHT NOW, Obama has a healthy lead in Iowa and New Mexico: they will certainly flip to Obama.

This means that Obama needs one of the gray states, just one, and he will be the next president.

Indiana is now in play, as polls show a statistical tie. North Carolina show a slight lead for Obama, which means that it is a statistical tie as well. No network is including West Virginia as a battleground or in the Obama column, but the latest poll by ARG shows a big lead for Obama. I would need to see more polls to put this in Obama's column, but at the very least, it should be considered a toss-up.

Obama is currently leading in the other swing states--a congregation of the polls show they range from the margin of error to slightly ahead of the margin of error in each one.

In order for McCain to win, he must run the board on the gray states: He must win EVERY SINGLE ONE.

If Obama wins just one, he wins. (Note: if Obama just wins Nevada, it will be an electoral tie, 269-269, which means Obama will still win because it will get thrown to the House.)

If McCain manages to turn things around, it will be the greatest turnaround in presidential history. I know a lot of his supporters are counting on the Bradley effect, but the last time it played a role was 20 years ago when I was working for the Wilder campaign in VA. Add to the mix the hundreds of thousands of new voters Barack has registered, along with the number of younger cell phone users who aren't polled, and I think it would be balanced out. Regardless, the Bradley effect generously gives 6 points, (generously a generation ago), and Obama has a healthy lead over that in swing states such as Colorado and Virginia.

What Obama should do now is travel to every state that the Senate race is competitive (MN, NC, MS, OR) and try to raise money and support for the senators in close races to get to the magic 60 that Obama needs to fulfill his agenda.

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