O-H-I-O. Not Just a Song By the Pretenders. Or CSNY.

Long-time readers of this blog – all two of you – might remember that in 2008 I was posting a lot in terms election prognosticating.  I haven’t done nearly so much this year.  Part of the difference is that I’ve been flat-out busy the last month or so with paying work and the other part is that I’ve concluded there’s almost zero value I can add to a discussion on this topic.  Everybody I know checks Nate Silver every morning (and afternoon and evening) along with Real Clear Politics, Votamatics and the other sites that aggregate, evaluate and weigh polling data.  What was once the purview of high-priced consultants and their client campaigns is now available to all of us for the price of a mouse click.

As of this morning, Silver is making the following predictions:


Continue reading “O-H-I-O. Not Just a Song By the Pretenders. Or CSNY.”

As If the Debate Weren’t Enough…

The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza notes today that in almost every state, Team Obama is massively outspending Team McCain PLUS the Republican National Committee and in so doing, forcing the McCainites to make tough choices about which battleground states to contest and to spend their finite money defending their own turf.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, Obama spent more than $20 million on television ads in 17 states including more than $3 million in Pennsylvania and more than $2 million each in Florida, Michigan and Ohio. McCain in that same time frame spent just $7.2 million in 15 states. Even when the Republican National Committee’s independent expenditure spending in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin is factored in (a total of $5.3 million), Obama still outspent the combined GOP forces by roughly $8 million in the last week alone

Cillizza notes that the air war is not confined to battleground states; in states like Virginia and North Carolina – which have voted Red since 1964 – Obama is pouring advertising in at a prodigious rate: In North Carolina, Obama spent about $1.5 million on television commercials last week while McCain spent only $137,000. In Virginia, Obama spent $1.6 million on ads last week while McCain and the RNC together only spent $909,000. Not surprisingly, perhaps, both states are now toss-ups in many pollsters’ calculations. accounting services fine

First Cut at the General Election Map

At the risk of being accused of jumping the gun, I spent some time this evening with an electoral map looking at the battleground states. After divvying up the safe Red States (169 electoral votes) and safe Blue States (214), I came up with 155 electoral votes in play this November in these states:

  • Colorado 9 votes
  • Florida 27
  • Indiana 11
  • Iowa 7
  • Louisianna 9
  • Michigan 17
  • Missouri 11
  • Nevada 5
  • New Mexico 5
  • Ohio 20
  • Pennsylvania 21
  • Virginia 13

Some of these are probably not truly in play; I doubt the Dems can actually take Indiana and Louisianna, for example. That said, the GOP is going to have to work extra hard to keep these normally reliable states in their column and that will be a challenge in and of itself (in an interesting role reversal, it’s the GOP that’s short cash this cycle). Others, though, like Virgina and Nevada, are truly contestable.

In truth, though, the election will probably come down to a couple of big states – Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – as it did in 2000 and 2004. The winner will probably need to take 2 out of those 3 to get to the 270 electoral votes needed to win. The latest polling I’ve seen on head-to-head matchups in those states between Senators Obama and McCain has McCain slightly up in Ohio and Florida and Obama up in Pennsylvania. All, however, are within the margin of error and there remains a sizeable number of undecideds, others, etc.

I’m a nerd and old so I spent hours creating my own map which is too big to be easily viewed here. Nonetheless, since I managed to color so neatly in the lines, I’m posting it here. If you click on it, it should take you to a larger version where you can actually read it. In battleground states where I was able to find recent (i.e. from May) head-to-head McCain-Obama numbers, they’re displayed in a McCain/Obama/Other format.

Those of you who want to play “what if” using your own assumptions can do so much more easily by using the interactive electoral map at a web site called 270 to Win. The interface is very slick and there’s lots of historical data on the site in case you want to review – say – the electoral results for 1828 when Andrew Jackson kicked ass in the popular vote (and brought home the most electoral votes) but because no candidate won a majority of electors, the House of Representatives picked John Quincy Adams.

1828 makes 2000 look legitimate by comparison and the 2008 debate about the role of superdelegates seems like a tempest in a teapot.

– Austin

PS – For some reason, I can no longer see the map I pasted into this post (I see a little empty box instead). Since I can’t figure out how to fix this, here’s a link to the map. free invoice templates fine

Thin Beer…Good Tactic

As a contrast with Loveland’s post below of Senator McCain getting snippy with his press corps, I offer up Senator Clinton’s trip to the back of the plane, beer in hand, for a similar press availability:

Please don’t think for a second that this was anything other than a deliberate set piece created by the campaign to show that Ms. Clinton remained relaxed and confident a day before her last chance to stay in the race (the video was shot last Monday, the day before the Ohio and Texas primaries), but the important observation is that the set piece worked. While she doesn’t look entirely natural quaffing a cold one, she does come across as calm, comfortable and in control, a contrast to the conventional wisdom of the day that she was “resigned to losing” the nomination battle and/or in a “grim, last-ditch fight.”

B+ for campaign performance art.

– Austin professional tax software kind


The Obama presidential campaign seems to be concluding that they lost in Ohio, and kinda sorta in Texas, because negative works. So, they can’t be patsies anymore, and must also go nuclear!

I’d argue this is the real lesson of Ohio: Obama lost because they responded to negative, and susequently let Senator Clinton frame the debate on her issues. In the process, they surrendered the approach that had won them 26 of 37 primaries. The Audacity of Hope became the Paucity of Hope.

Yes, Clinton’s “kitchen sink” strategy worked, for her. Yes, working the media like a basketball coach works refs with claims of victimhood worked, for her.

But Obama has a completely different campaign to run than Clinton, and the old lessons don’t work here. The Obama staff are like old generals going back to the arsenals they’ve used in past wars. But they don’t seem to understand how different this candidate’s appeal is.

If Obama’s campaign goes nuclear, they risk surrendering Obama’s unique base appeal. You can’t go negative with a candidate whose central premise is a break from the negative. You can’t go whiney and victimy with a candidate whose central premise is optimism and hope. You can’t make a case against an opponent’s tired, failed and divisive approach by taking the same approach.

– Loveland

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