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.
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