Politics

Electoral Snapshot: Red States Getting Redder, Blue States Getting Purpler…

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Newsweek's Andrew Romano writes that the race for electoral votes still favors Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain, but it tightening up:

A campaign that once boasted about redrawing the electoral map by targeting an unprecedented 18 battlegrounds has been forced to focus on a more familiar swath of states—and even play defense in places it had hoped to win easily. In the last week, the Red States have gotten redder—and the Blue States have gotten purpler….

It's not all doom and gloom for Obama. So far this month, he's seems to have solidified his narrow margin in Michigan and New Hampshire (states McCain is hoping to flip) while expanding his edges in the Bush states of Iowa and Colorado, where he now leads by 9.7 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. If he wins these states in November—along with Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Mexico—he wins the White House.

More here.

NEXT: The Secret Life of Sarah Palin

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  1. Republicans always outperform the first half of September (their convention, and even in midterm election because of 9/11) this even happened in 2006.

  2. Republicans always outperform the first half of September

    Your definition of always seems EXTREMELY short term.

  3. robc-

    Ok, since 2001, it’s been amazingly consistent.

  4. Potential popular vote/EV split? Wouldn’t that be fun.

  5. MCain keeps closing in. Palin’s right-wing populist appeal (regular folks should lead)spreads. MCCain will be the next president and, quite possibly, Sarah Palin will be president after him. Ignorant decisiveness will continue to rule!

  6. If that happens, joe, the electoral college is abolished by 2012, now that both parties would have gotten a taste of that.

  7. What’s the deal with Iowa being so solidly for Obama even after the other Midwest states have tightened up? Just ethanol whoring? Obama apparently has a stronger lead there than in New York.

  8. Or potentially left-over caucus enthusiasm?

  9. Obama won Iowa in the primaries, too. It’s just friendlier country for him, I guess.

    Less old industry? I dunno.

  10. Joe-

    McCain is against ethanol, and he snubbed the Iowa caucuses. Twice. That’s why.

    Really, it’s sad that McCain is losing Iowa for good reasons (IMHO).

  11. New York could totally go for McCain.

    If the City secedes from the rest of the state before November, that is.

  12. Okay, what’s the elephant in the room?

  13. Iowa staying strong-Obama insures that their opinion will be over-weighted in future primaries. “We were right all along!”

    (This is not to suggest that they don’t also like him for other reasons.)

  14. John McCain just had an Al Gore moment.

    Says he invented the Blackberry.

  15. Oh the irony of one of the ‘whitest’ states in the union going hard over for that sort-of black guy.

  16. BDB,

    Says he invented the Blackberry.

    “Sadly, the laughter in the room died when the assembled reporters realized that he was holding up the fruit.”

  17. BDB,

    Be fair, McCain’s staffer had an Al Gore moment.

    It is worse than Gore’s, however…

    Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce committee so [holding up a Blackberry] you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that’s what he did.”

    It ignores things like the Blackberry being Canadian in origin.

  18. Iowan–

    Great Plains/Upper Midwest states, though extremely white, are some of the least racist in the country.

  19. BDB,

    That comes perilously close to suggesting that familiarity breeds contempt.

  20. SF–

    It would, except that Appalachia is racist and extremely white. So I don’t know what it is, exactly.

  21. John McCain just had an Al Gore moment.

    Says he invented the Blackberry.

    It was a joke by a staffer, McCain never said that.

    As for the article, it is not that surprising. McCain is a very mainstream candidate, in the centre-left of the republican party. That is why he never did well with the right-wing of the party, and would not have been nominated if Huckabee had not taken votes on the right away from Romney. Plus, there is a very real antagonism between Bush & McCain.

    That is why the Obama cry of “third bush term” may fire up the base, but rings false to swing voters. So McCain will likely do better than Bush did with independants and centrist democrats.

    Obama should have stuck with his early message of transformation, picked someone as VP other than a party hack, and moved to the center for the general campaign instead of sticking to standard democratic party boilerplate.

  22. meerdahl-

    Can I try out your time machine and go back to 2000, too?

  23. BDB,

    I was explaining that to someone from somewhere else a long time ago.

    He responded, “that’s because you don’t have to live with those damned {pick you favorite ethnic slur}”.

  24. Yeah, but as I said, then there’s Appalachia and we all know how well Obama did there. It’s not familiarity. It’s something else. What, I don’t know.

  25. Regarding the Blackberry thing, that was a staffer saying something that totally didn’t make sense.

    McCain wasn’t even there. He didn’t say a word about Blackberry, no more than Obama said anything about sex ed for five year olds.

  26. How is red getting redder, and blue getting bluer, when there is talk of Texas going blue, and NY going red?

  27. McPalin will be in Iowa for a campaign stop on Thursday. Seems odd if Iowa is really trending towards Obama.

  28. They’re probably just stopping there on their way to WI and MN (which, though closer, will also go Obama). The Upper Midwest is his territory, even if McPalin comes close during his convention/VP bounce. McPalin has a much better chance in the rust belt.

  29. BDB… Dude, you are very bad about stereotyping and judging people based on where they live. You just can’t go around doing that if you want to have any credibility. You’re being narrow minded through your assumption that everyone in a certain place is narrow minded. It’s like saying everyone in San Francisco is flaming gay, or everyone in Detroit is a lazy, corrupt freeloader like their mayor, or everyone in California is a fruity liberal.

  30. That is why the Obama cry of “third bush term” may fire up the base, but rings false to swing voters.

    No, that’s why it rings false to Republicans.

    It would, except that Appalachia is racist and extremely white. So I don’t know what it is, exactly.

    Someone once wrote a comment about West Virginia, and how black people might as well be unicorns there, but still, people walk around talking about how much they hate the damned unicorns.

  31. It would, except that Appalachia is racist and extremely white.

    There has been a high percentage of Afri-lachians since the Civil War. In some areas it’s higher than the national average. Poor white and poor black have always had to co-exist in the South.

  32. “It’s like saying everyone in San Francisco is flaming gay, or everyone in Detroit is a lazy, corrupt freeloader like their mayor, or everyone in California is a fruity liberal.”

    That’s not true? (kidding)

    I’m talking about places Obama did well in vs. didn’t do well in in the primary. Calm down.

  33. It was a joke by a staffer, McCain never said that.

    It was a claim by a staffer.
    Just because it will result in endless jokes at McCain’s expense doesn’t mean the statement was made as a joke.

    McCain is self-deprecating enough that he can probably turn it around and gets some good laughs off it himself.

  34. Oops…close tags or be mocked.

  35. It’s not all doom and gloom for Obama. So far this month, he’s seems to have solidified his narrow margin in Michigan and New Hampshire (states McCain is hoping to flip) while expanding his edges in the Bush states of Iowa and Colorado, where he now leads by 9.7 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. If he wins these states in November-along with Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Mexico-he wins the White House.

    The article Nick Gillespie linked to doesn’t seem to reflect what is going on at pollster.com , which has been rapidly trending toward a dead heat since the Palin pick, with New Mexico flipping from marginally Obama to a tossup since this weekend, and McCain now leading in all the tossup states except Michigan and New Mexico.

  36. The only thing that would make it less likely for Obama to win would be a running mate named something like Abdul Sayid Mabumba. McCain/Palin = White/Familiar

    Anybody who seriously thnks Obama can win has an exaggerated opinion of American sophistication at the beginning of the 21st century.

  37. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are the whitest states.

    Are they roiling hot-beds of racism? (You know, compared to other places?)

  38. Well, again I’m only basing this on the primary vote (how well they accept a black candidate, not on how racist they are) but Vermont went for Obama, NH for Clinton (narrowly) and Maine for Obama. So, at least in that respect I guess not. Obama wasn’t too “exotic” for New England.

  39. So, Lefiti, if his name was Barry Dunham he would win? You have a low opinion of other people.

  40. Obama isn’t too exotic for upper-class, educated whites, but they’re a minority. He’s way too exotic for the vast middle, the folks who get excited about the addition of a fundamentalist Christian creationist to the Republican ticket.

  41. BDB

    I have a realistic opinion of the state of race relations in the country.

  42. Maybe it’s not that some places don’t go for Obama because he’s black or exotic. But perhaps they just don’t agree with his political platform.

  43. BDB,

    Not to dismiss your comment, so don’t take it that way…

    But, when faced with Hillary or Obama, picking Obama shouldn’t be viewed as evidence of a victory for colorblind politics. While Obama was favored over Hillary by many people, he was also a protest vote against her entitlement and high negatives.

  44. which has been rapidly trending toward a dead heat since the Palin pick

    Actually, pollster.com had the country “Leans Republican” until two days ago, and is now “Tossup.”

  45. I’ve got this feeling that the Lehman crash also brought down the McCain/Palin surge and that Obama has won (unless he does incredibly bad in the debates). I’ll vote for Bob Barr,
    but I expect him to get about 1% in the end.

  46. Oh, and the growing IQ gap. I’m realistic about that, too.

  47. SugarFree-

    You’re point is well taken.

  48. Obama lead McCain for five solid months nationally, until the period immediately after the Republican convention.

    This should be definitive proof that he, or another black candidate, can win the election. Not will, but can. You don’t have an uninterrupted five month period as the fronrunner if your inherent attributes make it impossible for you to win.

  49. I still don’t get why Obama lost Mass and Rhode Island, though. I thought they’d vote for the more liberal candidate in the primaries.

  50. BDB,

    Who’s the more liberal candidate? The one who proposed a universal health care system, or the one that did not?

    Anecdotally, my mom and aunties all voted for Clinton, because her gender was the tiebreaker. They’re all also going to happily vote for Obama, and said they’d do so if he won the primary, even as they were backing Clinton.

  51. I am assuming, of course, that Lefiti conveniently places himself in the “smart, elite and open-minded category”, which given his revealed prejudices and ignorance, is laughable at best.

  52. A lot of MA people I know voted Clinton because of her universal healthcare plan and greater air of authority/experience. It’s pretty unsurprising, really.

  53. Neu,

    A tid-bit related to our “partisan insult” conversation yesterday.

  54. “You don’t have an uninterrupted five month period as the fronrunner if your inherent attributes make it impossible for you to win.”

    Obama has never had that big a lead, which is amazing given the Bush record and the state of the economy. The fact that it has been close and that a Sarah Palin can move the numbers so dramatically should tell you other factors are at play. Everything Arab and Middle East has a boogryman quality in post-9/11 America. In addition to being black (and super smart–(Americans hate intellectual elitism) Obama has an exotic Arab-sounding name. He can’t fucking win!

  55. I’d say the one who has the last name which has become synonymous with DLC-ism and was on-board for the Iraq War is the less liberal one.

  56. You people need to put down the crack pipe. You want an indicator? Try looking at Virginia, Colorado – shoot, even Indiana is competitive and they haven’t voted for a Democrat for President since LBJ. You think “desperately in need of a personality implant” McCain can pull it out? Perhaps I can interest you in some of my Lehman Brothers stock.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/charts.html
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/

  57. “Lefiti = BDB?”

    No.

  58. Obama has never had that big a lead

    That’s a lie. two weeks ago Obama was up almost eight points, which is a pretty freakin’ big lead.

    of course, if Lefiti’s preferred candidate doesn’t get elected, it must be because we’re all a bunch of unsophisticated racist hicks. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be for any other reason, oh no…

    About advancing a falsifiable premise there, Trollier McTrollerston?

  59. Ouch.

  60. “of course, if Lefiti’s preferred candidate doesn’t get elected, it must be because we’re all a bunch of unsophisticated racist hicks.”

    That’s been the explanation in one faction for the defeat of Democrats at the Presidential election (see: Bill Maher).

    It’s also a pretty fucking stupid and self-defeating one.

  61. Eight points is a big lead? You must be unconsciously thinking of your dick. In fact your dick probably explains the “Angry Optimist” shtick.

  62. Lefiti, eight points in the popular vote would translate into an Electoral Vote landslide.

  63. classy response, Lefiti.

  64. I have working-class roots.

  65. Lefiti is a pretty good troll to ignore: varying between less substance than ultimate-anonymity spam and angry to slightly more substantive and even more angry, he rarely adds to any discussion.

  66. “Lefiti, eight points in the popular vote would translate into an Electoral Vote landslide.”

    But it hasn’t held, has it? Sarah Palin is such an imposing political figure, I guess.

  67. he rarely adds to any discussion.

    Only because you don’t want to discuss the obvious role of race, fuckwit.

  68. Lefiti, do you know Mr. Nice Guy by any chance?

  69. Thank you.

  70. Never heard of him. Do you know Mr. Bo Jingles?

  71. seriously, I think Lefiti is MNG’s even eviler side coming out.

  72. Seriously, race has been a net positive for Obama in this race.

  73. Obama isn’t too exotic for upper-class, educated whites, but they’re a minority. He’s way too exotic for the vast middle, the folks who get excited about the addition of a fundamentalist Christian creationist to the Republican ticket.

    This is dumb comment for a couple reasons. First, anyone who gets excited about the addition of a fundamentalist Christian creationist (which Palin isn’t, exactly, much as dislike her) to the Republican ticket isn’t voting for a Democrat anyway. His name could Steve Austin Armstrong McWhite and they wouldn’t vote for him if he was a Democrat.

    Second, I think there’s some truth to the name thing if the election were a year ago. But people have had a long time to get used to a black guy named Barack Obama being President. While those biases exist on a general level, they’re much weaker on an individual level. To illustrate, it’s the difference between racists hating black people, but liking black persons. There’s a difference between voting for a generic African American with a funny sounding name, and a particular African American with a funny sounding name who we’ve be seeing on the TV for years and years and who, to some extent, we’ve gotten to know a bit more personally.

    Kinda like how the first time you hear a band’s name, it sounds really dumb. Then you listen to their music for a while, and all the sudden the name doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

    Granted, the name is going to be enough for some people, but chances are those people weren’t voting Democrat anyway.

  74. TAO,

    In fairness, the 8 point lead was at the peak of the convention bounce. The usual convention bounce is usually about 6 points. That convention bounce got washed out pretty quickly by the RNC. What we’re seeing now is the tapering of that bounce. None of the polls are really meaningful now. I’d wait another week or two for the “true state” of the polling. Here’s a good, non-partisan analysis of the bounce made prior to the conventions.

    It’s like saying everyone in San Francisco is flaming gay, or everyone in Detroit is a lazy, corrupt freeloader like their mayor, or everyone in California is a fruity liberal.

    Did you crib that from the Romney, Giuliani and Palin RNC speeches?

  75. I hate cosmopolitan places, hate them!

  76. And I hate eastern elites!

  77. “Did you crib that from the Romney, Giuliani and Palin RNC speeches?”

    No, I read statements like that around this forum all the time. A lot of people walk the very same narrow minded line as the ones they criticize, but act like their version is justified. It must have struck a nerve to make you so defensive.

  78. It must have struck a nerve to make you so defensive.

    Dude, it was a fucking joke. You need to take your own advice.

  79. Oh really now?

  80. Either way, we be fucked.

  81. I’ve seen that chart, Mo.

    The RCP average has tracked it almost perfectly. If anything, Obama’s bounce was taller and briefer, and McCain’s a little taller, but dropping off a bit faster.

    I can’t wait for Nate Silver to put out a chart on his prediction vs. actual results.

  82. Nate Silver’s “bounce” chart has been amazingly accurate so far.

  83. Who could have guessed?

    A challenge mounting for the Obama campaign, according to the survey, lies in a growing lead for McCain among white Ohio voters. The Republican presidential nominee garnered support from 55 percent of surveyed white voters, versus 37 percent for Obama. That 18-percentage point lead is up from an 11 percent edge a month ago.

    “There is a troubling trend for Barack Obama of undecided white voters in many of the swing states moving into John McCain’s camp,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a release. “He’s going to be in trouble if he can’t get that turning back in the other direction.”

  84. If Obama wins, he’ll be the first candidate since John F. Kennedy to do it without Ohio.

  85. “Granted, the name is going to be enough for some people, but chances are those people weren’t voting Democrat anyway.”

    I’ll bet a lot of those white voters swinging to McCain in Ohio and elsewhere have vote for Democrats. I can’t understand this whistling in the dark about American racism and role it’s playing in this campaign. Talk about being in denial. Fuck!

  86. I can’t understand this whistling in the dark about American racism and role it’s playing in this campaign. Talk about being in denial. Fuck!

    Did I miss something? Did his name change in the last two months? How does his losing a portion of the white vote disprove anything I said, or show that anyone is ignoring the effect of racism?

  87. “It’s also a pretty fucking stupid and self-defeating one.”

    BDB
    It’s one though if it were the guiding theory for the Dems would be hard to square with their subsequent nomination…

  88. Leftiti’s right, to an extent. Obama just has too many factors that create a “strangeness” factor that makes him a very hard sell in many places.

    What gets me is a guy who did not have that factor would still have gotten all the hard core Dems vote but would have been able to bring more of those weirded out folks on board as well.

  89. MNG, the polls really aren’t as terrible as you seem to think. Obama is up in Virginia (50-46) and Colorado (48-46), and holds his own in every state Kerry won.

  90. “I am assuming, of course, that Lefiti conveniently places himself in the “smart, elite and open-minded category”, which given his revealed prejudices and ignorance, is laughable at best.”

    Our sensitive conservative has reported in!

  91. BDB
    I may exagerrate when I’m raging about the foolishness of Obama as the pick. Sure, he’s running strong still, my point is that this being such a good year for the Dems he should be running stronger.

  92. The Dems cannot logically hold on the one hand that America is fool of racist hicks who would not vote for someone of Obama’s race and with his name and still enthusiastically choose him as the nominee, unless they simply enjoy self-flagellation…

  93. MNG, if I told you a year ago that in mid-September 2008 you would have a nominee who is up four points up in Virginia and within the margin of error in Indiana, would you have believed me?

  94. Good point BDB.

    I would however have told you that OH, PA, FL, CA and NY should be in the bag by now.

  95. MNG–

    Republicans win NY and CA the day pigs fly (no, that wasn’t a shot at Palin).

    Florida is a red state getting redder.

    Pennsylvania is locked. The Republicans always make it close, never win.

    Ohio will be a footnote.

  96. He wins with Kerry states +NM, IA, and (pick one or all) Virginia, Colorado, Nevada.

  97. my point is that this being such a good year for the Dems he should be running stronger.

    Al Gore’s margin of victory in 2000 was 0.5%.

    Races without incumbents are different from races with an incumbent. Since the end of World War 2, the average margin of victory in a non-incumbent race has been 3.8%, compared to 8.something in incumbent races. Two of those (1960 and 2000) were virtual ties.

    Asserting that McCain should be suffering from an incumbency disadvantage because of Bush is faulty analysis.

  98. joe
    No snark, but I should think the Party with the sitting Prez with approval ratings in the 30s should be weak.

  99. So, joe, you admit the “McSame” strategy just isn’t working?

  100. BDB
    If you go to the pollster.com site and add the yellow states where Obama has a current lead with the other Obama states you get 250 EV, not enough.

  101. MNG–

    Put all the Kerry states in. Now add Iowa and New Mexico. Then add Virginia, OR Colorado, OR Nevada.

  102. Of course you can’t get it now. I’m talking about projecting to election day. McCain is over-performing still.

  103. bdb-

    Can I try out your time machine and go back to 2000, too?

    Please do, I’ll join you.

  104. Sugarfree,

    Neu,

    A tid-bit related to our “partisan insult” conversation yesterday.

    So it really is a political attack machine.
    Interesting.

  105. I think the number of people who will not vote for Obama because he is black is pretty much equal in votes, money, and enthusiasm from people who want to see him win because he is black.

    But unfortunately he has some serious weaknesses as a candidate. He won his senate race by getting sealed court records opened on both the favored democratic primary opponent, and the general election republican opponent (thank you chicago tribune!). Axelrod (coincidentally, formerly of the chicago tribune…) out-gamed hillary on the caucuses, and she made some really dumb mistakes. But you’d have to be worried about a democratic presidential candidate who did not win the primaries in NY, CAL, PENN, FLA*, and OHIO.

    In the current mood, economy, and media environment, he should be doing much much better than he is, like Clinton in 1996 better. The problem is that, in many ways, he is an empty suit. Hillary would have been doing much better at this point.

  106. MNG,

    No snark, but I should think the Party with the sitting Prez with approval ratings in the 30s should be weak.

    I used to think that, too, but looking back over the history, I’ve got a hypothesis:

    Incumbency advantage doesn’t accrue by party in presidential elections, only to the actual incumbent. This is why Eisenhower’s and Clinton’s VPs couldn’t get to 50%. Elections largely turn on the non-partisans in the middle, who are people who, by definition, “vote for the man, not the party.”

    Hence, the public will punish Jimmy Carter for the lousy economy under Jimmy Carter, but they won’t punish John McCain for the lousy economy under George Bush.

    Now, in Congress, the Republicans are looking at a blowout, but 1) most of those races involve incumbents and 2) people vote more by party in Congressional races.

  107. BDB,

    So, joe, you admit the “McSame” strategy just isn’t working?

    I think it is, but the point is, they have to work at it. Obama has been making that case and has to prove it, whereas it would just be assumed if Bush was running again.

  108. Everybody seems to have their talking points going full force here.

    For me, it’s McCain/Palin this time around, and in a key battleground state no less.

    Read em and weep.

  109. “Iowan–

    Great Plains/Upper Midwest states, though extremely white, are some of the least racist in the country.”

    Totally false. They just hide it better.

  110. Joe may have a good point (one he cites actual evidence for). The Obama campaign probably should drop the McSame strategy. Not that it matters much because McCain is going to win anyway. Let’s hope he lives out his term. What do you think Palin’s chances are in 10012?

  111. Sorry in 2012

  112. Barring an unusual occurance, I don’t think Obama has a credible chance of winning this election. Democrats need about a ten-point lead going into the election for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that Repbulicans tend to show up more on election day.

    On policy, I tend to think of it like Coke vs Pepsi. Pepsi will win any taste test, but consumers don’t buy it because it isn’t as enjoyable over time. Ideas like “free healthcare” sound okay at first, but upon reflection voters are smart enough to realize the tax consequences implied.

  113. While I like Palin, it’s a bit early to call the election in ’12. She’ll be challenged by the establishment, in fact I’d vote her most likley to get assinated. McCain may run again, and if he ends the war the Democrats will have little to offer the American public. I think she has chance if she really wants the job.

  114. Sarah palin in 2012? Yep, she has the intellect and learning to tackle all the issues that will be crucial in the 21st century: When does life begin? Did God put dinosaur bones on Earth to test our faith? Will Alaska be a sanctuary during the battle of Armegedon? Is global warming a liberal hoax? What is God’s plan for Iraq? Should we second guess Israel if it wants to nuke its neigbors?

  115. lpcowboy

    What exactly does assination involve?

  116. Choice:

    – an experienced wizened moderate American hero who has served the country with dignity and honor all his life and instills these values in family and all that surround him.

    or

    – a shady little lying racist godless socialist with attitude named Hussein who has no experience running anything (public or private) let alone a complex government, who’s assoiates and advisors are questionable at best, who has no conceptual understanding of economic nor military stratigic policy, and who in reality is nothing more than one of the leeches of society (lawyer) with the gift of gab. Not the audacity of hope but the audacity of ignorance!

  117. Choice:

    – a hypocritical old fart who would sell his soul to the devil to win

    or

    – a brilliant, charismatic young man

    Of course it’s not black and white.

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