Most people here know that I don’t really follow National politics too closely. Sure, from time to time I will post some things — but there are enough bloggers out there following the candidates.
They have a cool interactive map with some interesting data. You can click on each state you think will be carried by the Republican or Democratic candidates to see how the electoral college will shake out.
Here is a screen-shot of my map. (It’s a Flash object, so I can’t embed it here on State of Sunshine):
I put the race at Democrats 264 – Republicans 254, with 270 needed to win. To me the race comes down to one state: Ohio and its 20 electoral votes.
The most recent Quinnipiac Poll shows the Democratic candidates beating the Republican candidates virtually across the board.
What about the “swing states?” You ask?
Well, 270ToWin has Ohio among its 12 states in its “2004 Very Close” configuration. Here is my analysis of each:
Florida – Although Florida will remain competitive, I give the edge to the Republicans here because of the popularity of Governor Charlie Crist. This could change if property insurance, property taxes, and other issues start to curtail his support. However, I don’t see such a significant downturn.
New Hampshire – It used to be a solid Republican state, but as more and more Massachusetts transplants move into the southern half of the state, it’s becoming more liberal. (And more libertarian as it was selected for the Free State Project, but I digress). Since 1988, the only time New Hampshire went Republican was the 2000 election (had it voted Democrat, Gore would have been president.) I’m giving the state to the Democrats this year.
Pennsylvania – Other than the three “Reagan era” elections, Pennsylvania has gone Democratic. It was also the home of some major gains by Democrats in Congress, and the ouster of former Senator Santorum is only more proof. Chalk this one up to the Democrats.
Michigan – From 1972 to 1988, Michigan voted Republican. From 1988 to 2004, Michigan voted Democratic. With a Democratic Governor and two Democratic Senator, I can’t see the trend changing this year.
Wisconsin – Since 1960, Wisconsin has voted for exactly two Republicans: Richard Nixon (who campaigned to end the Vietnam war) and Ronald Reagan (who campaigned to end the Cold War). Since the campaign will hinge on “ending” the Iraq war, a position espoused by the Democrats, that’s two strikes against the GOP. Wisconsin goes to the Democrats.
Minnesota – Quick, name the last Republican to win Minnesota. If you said Richard Nixon in 1972, you’d be right. How this could be on any list of “close” races is beyond me. The Dems will continue to win this state.
Iowa – Ah yes, one of 2004’s hinge states. Although, to be fair, this state voted Democratic from 1988 through 2000. It could, in theory, be close again… but I’m willing to bet the Democrats could win again.
New Mexico – This could be a swing state again in 2008, given a Democratic Governor and a split membership in the US Senate. The Hispanic vote will be big, and immigration will be a huge issue. It’s hard to tell for sure, but I think New Mexico goes to the Democrats.
Colorado – The last Democrat to carry Colorado: Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. This state is home to Focus on the Family, after all. The antithesis of Minnesota, this one should go the to GOP in a walk.
Oregon – I have extended family in Portland – great people – all Democrats. The state is an odd one, but it hasn’t gone Republican since the 1984 Reagan landslide. They do have a GOP Senator, but that’s probably not going to help. Give these votes to the Democrats as well.
So, that leaves us with Ohio.
The Battleground of all battlegrounds. The primary season won’t help much, as Ohio will vote on March 2nd, when the race could be over. The Democrats won several congressional seats here — and I would attribute their victories to fierce opposition to the Iraq war.
If the situation in Iraq doesn’t improve considerable, with troops starting to come home next summer with a plan for almost total withdrawal by early 2009, then the GOP can write off this state to the Democrats.
Bottom line: No turn around in Iraq = President Hillary Clinton.