The Corner

Electoral Math

From First Read:

Obama’s Wider Map: About two months ago, we unveiled our early look at the electoral map. And this being the second official day of the general election, now’s as good a time as any to see where we stand in the McCain vs. Obama race.

Base Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT (153 electoral votes)

Lean Obama: ME, NJ, MN, OR, WA (47 votes)

Toss-up: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NM, NH, OH, PA, VA, WI (138 votes)

Lean McCain: AR, GA, IN, LA, MS, MO, MT, NE, NC, ND (84 votes)

Base McCain: AL, AK, AZ, ID, KS, KY, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (116 votes)

While both McCain and Obama get to 200 when adding up their base and lean states, it’s clear to see that Obama has an early edge with the map. Not only does he have a stronger base than McCain does (153 votes vs. 116), but he also has more potential pick-up opportunities. When you add toss-up and “Lean McCain,” Obama has the potential for another 222 votes outside his favored states. By comparison, McCain’s toss-up and “Lean Obama” comes to 185. Of course, potential sometimes means just that — potential. At the end of the day, Obama will likely win few, if any, of those Lean McCain states. But his reach right now seems much longer than McCain’s.

Update: Lots of dissenters already. A half dozen folks consider Florida at minimum a lean-McCain state. A couple e-mails:

I just saw that article you posted, and I am still shaking my head at its conclusions.  I looked at some of the states that are in McCain’s “lean” column, and I had a hearty chuckle.  I would like to know in what fanstasy world Georgia, Mississippi, and North Dakato are “lean states?”  Georgia is becoming one of the most rock-ribbed Republican states in the country, and even if Obama manages to swing 101% of the sizeable black vote in the state, he’s still losing in double digits there.  And yet California is assigned to a “base” Obama state.  Surely Obama will probably win, but how on Earth can he be pegged to be more certain to win there than McCain to win in the states I mentioned.  Yes, it’s a bit of a technical thing, but it undermines most of the argument.


I’m sure the author thought long and hard about it, but that’s pretty much the same thing we see every four years. It seems that every year since 1988 we get a stage setting analysis where the GOP is behind and the democrats have a bigger base.

Damn it! I thought this Obama guy was new. I thought he was bringing change. I want a new stage-setting analysis with the states all changed around!


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