Kylebell.com’s Election Projection 2008

Kylebell.com is switching from primary to general election mode by introducing the 2008 Election Projection page and map. I will include two maps: one will be based on polling, state demographics, historic trends and previous results and the other will be my personal projection for November 4, 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain. Both maps are included below. I will update the site with state-by-state analysis as soon as I have the time.

The Democrats start off with a huge advantage. This week Scott McClellan came out with details from his upcoming book. The information he reveals is nothing really new (we already knew that the White House lied to the American people and used propaganda). That said, his book goes to show how deep the dislike for the Bush administration runs… it goes all the way to former administration officials.

McCain is going to have to deal with an unpopular president, a recession, the war, $4 gasoline and the fact that Democrats have millions of new voters. On top of that, he will trail Obama dramatically in cash-on-hand and will face a 50 state organization in Obama’s that we haven’t ever seen before. The poll in Mississippi showing Obama behind by 6 points, the polls in Indiana having him up and Virginia where it is in single digits – all states that have voted Republican for decades (two of which have since 1964 – are clearly in play. Of them, I only expect Obama to win Virginia, but forcing McCain to compete in deep red Republican states almost guarantee victory.

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The next map is of states that I expect to be in play this fall. These “swing states” are largely familiar to those that have followed politics since 2000. Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania. But Obama is expected to bring a number of states to the table that both Al Gore and John Kerry were unable to win.

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Four of the swing states are in the Southwest: Nevada, New Mexico Colorado and Texas. They account for 53 electoral votes, or roughly 1/5 of the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. The other bloc of states are in the South: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and yes – Mississippi – account for 61 electoral votes or nearly 1/4 of the needed 270. People fail to remember that Mississippi has the highest percentage of African Americans in the United States. The Northeast, which includes liberal New England, is trending heavily Democrat. New Hampshire elected a Democratic governor in 2006 and two Democratic House members. Former NH governor Jeanne Shaheen is expected to beat Bush Republican John Sununu and take his Senate seat. While New Hampshire will undoubtedly be competitive (especially considering McCain’s history in the state), I think it will continue its Democratic trend. Pennsylvania is the only other state in the Northeast that will be competitive.

The real battleground will yet again be the Midwest. Of the 270 electoral votes needed, 69 will be up for grabs in the Midwestern “battleground/swing states”. That’s over 25% of the needed electoral votes to become president. Wisconsin and Iowa were both decided by about 10,000 votes in 2000 and 2004. Ohio was the difference between a Bush and Kerry administration in 2004. Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri haven’t budged at all, despite the close margins. Michigan and Minnesota will prove elusive for the Republicans yet again in 2008, and Missouri will elect both a Democratic governor and help elect Barack Obama.

This year I expect Minnesota won’t be very close and neither will Iowa. I expect Obama will win both by more than 5%. If you include Minnesota and Iowa in the “swing states” list, the Midwest will have 86 electoral votes that are truly competitive – or 1/3 of the needed electoral votes to win. The economy will be McCain’s biggest drag in Michigan and Ohio where economic concerns are high on voters minds. Missouri is a bellweather state that tipped the balance of power in the Senate in 2006. Had Gore won the state in 2000, he would be president. Obama narrowly won Missouri, as well as other Illinois border states Iowa and Wisconsin. He lost to Hillary in Indiana by 14,000, but polls have him up or tied against McCain. Unless Obama makes a play for the state, I don’t expect him to win it. That said, if he picks someone like Evan Bayh to be his VP, he may have a serious shot at winning the state. Otherwise, it will be much closer than it has been in decades.

That’s all I have for now. I will update Kylebell.com’s Election Projection 2008 each week if news and polls warrant.

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