May 18, 2008

"How will Barack Obama get to 270?"

In depth, serious analysis of what really matters: the Electoral College. — from Democratic pollster Paul Maslin:
States that strongly favor Obama ("strongly" in the context of close states, that is): Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington. That's 43 electoral votes. Add that to the safe blue 157 votes in 11 states and D.C. and Obama is at 200.

States that slightly favor Obama: Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. Another 55 votes. He's now at 255

States that strongly favor McCain: Florida, North Carolina. Their 42 electoral votes are probably going to the Republicans.

States that slightly favor McCain: Colorado, 9 votes; Missouri, 11 votes; and Virginia, 13 votes. Obama's chances are better here.

Pure toss-ups: Nevada, 5 votes; New Hampshire, 4 votes; New Mexico, 5 votes; and Ohio, 20 votes.

Clearly, and I'm being cautious, I think it's going to be a close race. If Obama wins the 255 votes in the states where he's favored, then to get to 270 he needs to choose from the following menu: 1) Win Ohio, which takes him to 275; 2) win in the West -- Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, for 274; 3) win the three N's (Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire) for 269, plus one other state; or 4) win two of the three N's and either Colorado or Virginia.
Much more at the link. I'd like to see a second article by Maslin applying the same analysis with Hillary as the Democratic candidate.

47 comments:

Diana said...

I don't find his analysis convincing. Too rosy for the Dems.

I think this Canadian is much more dispassionate:

http://my.opera.com/Vorlath/blog/2008/05/09/who-is-the-safe-choice-for-the-white-house

Lisa said...

Why do a Hillary analysis? She has lost and isn't going to be the Democratic candidate.

But then you wouldn't have as much to write about if she admitted defeat.

Diana said...

Obama's numbers are tanking:

http://my.opera.com/MrPolitics/blog/2008/05/15/obama-numbers-are-tanking

Obama is a bubble that has burst. He will likely get the nomination but he'll lose the general. The Dems will clean up in the other races though.

Ann Althouse said...

Lisa, she has not lost yet. We are at the point of making the decision, and the Electoral College comparison is highly relevant to that decision. Obama supporters are, I think, afraid to see it.

rhhardin said...

Speaking of numbers! How many ways are there to get 270 electoral votes, assuming states vote as a whole?

Looking up the electoral college allocations on the completely reliable web, we code in this little program

$ cat electors.sr
#ifdef Autoexec
cospan -bu -#quithack=2 -#ip $0 2>&1 | grep states.reached
exit
#endif
proc x
selvar a[51]:(0..63)
stvar $[51]:(0,1)
init $[]:=1
asgn $[]->{*}
kill !+($[]`*a[])<270
asgn a[0]:=9 /* Alabama */
asgn a[1]:=3 /* Alaska */
asgn a[2]:=10 /* Arizona */
asgn a[3]:=6 /* Arkansas */
asgn a[4]:=55 /* California */
asgn a[5]:=9 /* Colorado */
asgn a[6]:=7 /* Connecticut */
asgn a[7]:=3 /* Delaware */
asgn a[8]:=3 /* D.C. */
asgn a[9]:=27 /* Florida */
asgn a[10]:=15 /* Georgia */
asgn a[11]:=4 /* Hawaii */
asgn a[12]:=4 /* Idaho */
asgn a[13]:=21 /* Illinois */
asgn a[14]:=11 /* Indiana */
asgn a[15]:=7 /* Iowa */
asgn a[16]:=6 /* Kansas */
asgn a[17]:=8 /* Kentucky */
asgn a[18]:=9 /* Louisiana */
asgn a[19]:=4 /* Maine */
asgn a[20]:=10 /* Maryland */
asgn a[21]:=12 /* Massachusetts */
asgn a[22]:=17 /* Michigan */
asgn a[23]:=10 /* Minnesota */
asgn a[24]:=6 /* Mississippi */
asgn a[25]:=11 /* Missouri */
asgn a[26]:=3 /* Montana */
asgn a[27]:=5 /* Nebraska */
asgn a[28]:=5 /* Nevada */
asgn a[29]:=4 /* New_Hampshire */
asgn a[30]:=15 /* New_Jersey */
asgn a[31]:=5 /* New_Mexico */
asgn a[32]:=31 /* New_York */
asgn a[33]:=15 /* North_Carolina */
asgn a[34]:=3 /* North_Dakota */
asgn a[35]:=20 /* Ohio */
asgn a[36]:=7 /* Oklahoma */
asgn a[37]:=7 /* Oregon */
asgn a[38]:=21 /* Pennsylvania */
asgn a[39]:=4 /* Rhode_Island */
asgn a[40]:=8 /* South_Carolina */
asgn a[41]:=3 /* South_Dakota */
asgn a[42]:=11 /* Tennessee */
asgn a[43]:=34 /* Texas */
asgn a[44]:=5 /* Utah */
asgn a[45]:=3 /* Vermont */
asgn a[46]:=13 /* Virginia */
asgn a[47]:=11 /* Washington */
asgn a[48]:=5 /* West_Virginia */
asgn a[49]:=10 /* Wisconsin */
asgn a[50]:=3 /* Wyoming */
end


and run it to find

$ chmod +x electors.sr
$ electors.sr
-#quithack, 1117371186219798 states reached, quit
$


to find that there are 1,117,371,186,219,798 distinct ways to reach 270 votes.

Let CNN begin analyzing them!

Diana said...

It looks like such fun to be an Obama supporter. Sneering instead of thinking - that's the life!

Actually, there's a lot to write about if/when Hillary is defeated. But don't say the voters rejected her, Lisa. The crazy rules of the Democratic party nominating system doomed Hillary.

Two examples.

In Texas, she won by 100K votes - but came out 5 delegates behind!

She won Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio - big states that the Dems MUST win to get the White House. But her combined gain over Obama was 28 delegates.

In West Virginia, Obama supporters taunted Hillary supporters as hicks. Think that'll get him elected? Guess again.

peter hoh said...

Diana, you can complain about those "crazy rules" all you want, but it's not as if they are written in stone. They are malleable. They could be reformed.

Other than the Clintons, who was in a better position to change those "crazy rules" at any time over the last decade?

vbspurs said...

I don't see Obama winning Ohio. Call it a hunch, call it bias, call it what you will.

I highly recommend the RealClearPolitics charts. Click on "News" below one, and you will get a bevy of links. They are superb.

Check out Michael Barone's Unconvention Election of 2008.

And there is another analytical piece which states that if McCain moves not more Right, but to the centre, it will benefit him. And I agree. He doesn't need Huckabee. He needs a centrist.

Cheers,
Victoria

Paddy O. said...

I think McCain should move center very carefully, because the risk is getting people to like him who won't show up in November.

Not to say he shouldn't do it. He has the chance to pick up a whole lot of Hillary voters over the next few months.

I wonder if this might get him to choose a woman VP. That would be a much better pick than trying for a regional choice or conservative.

vbspurs said...

I wonder if this might get him to choose a woman VP. That would be a much better pick than trying for a regional choice or conservative.

Negatives with Condi: The 3rd term of Bush slogan becomes more apt. It takes away his maverick label, and allows some bigots to say a black person is good enough for the Presidency for Dems, but not Reps.

Positives with Condi: From the little she has spoken of about this, she's centrist in national terms. She's in favour of Affirmative Action, for one. But she's also fairly religious. In fact, very religious indeed.

She's like Huckabee, with experience, and possibly a brain...

rcocean said...

"And there is another analytical piece which states that if McCain moves not more Right, but to the centre, it will benefit him. And I agree. He doesn't need Huckabee. He needs a centrist."

This is the standard analysis of the liberal media. They say this in EVERY election. "The Republican candidate must move to the Center".

Ever heard any MSM types say that Obama must "move to the center"?
Very few. Why? Because the liberal MSM, thinks they ARE the center. But they aren't.

I hope McCain *does* pick a moderate. Not because he needs to - but to wake up the conservatives. I think Rudy or Lieberman would be great picks.

michael farris said...

I honestly don't know how detailed electoral analyses work on Clinton vs Obama. But I hope that super-delegates know enough to find out from people who do.
An super delegates who base their vote on _anything_ other than cold, hard, pitiless electoral factors are guilty of gross negligence.

vbspurs said...

Ever heard any MSM types say that Obama must "move to the center"? Very few. Why? Because the liberal MSM, thinks they ARE the center. But they aren't.

Right, I agree with the MSM-driven idea.

But I've heard a lot of Democratic analysts speak off-script by saying that Hillary has successfully painted Obama as the more Lefty of the two, and he needs to move centre-Right. Fast.

In McCain's case he is a centrist Republican who would benefit from Bush fatigue by picking another centrist Republican. Giuliani was my guy, so I'm biased. Liberman, don't see it.

Cheers,
Victoria

XWL said...

Getting to 270 or more is fine, but what about all the scenarios that lead to a 269-269 tie.

Think about the fun in that.

12 states were carried by less than 5% in 2004. Bush won in CO, FL, IA, NM, NV, OH and Kerry won in MI, MN, NH, OR, PA, WI.

Given the demographic groups Obama is having trouble with, it's hard to fathom him beating McCain in CO, FL, or OH, but he probably has a good chance in IA, NM and NV.

If he holds all the close Kerry states (which seems unlikely given his weakness in PA), if IA, NM and NV flip, then you have the comedy gold of a 269-269 electoral college result.

If folks thought 2000 was contentious, imagine an election decided by the House of Representatives in the modern era.

ricpic said...

The perfect people will certify their perfection by voting for Obama. But what about all the imperfect, typical, bitter, benighted white people, hmmm?

Diana said...

"Other than the Clintons, who was in a better position to change those "crazy rules" at any time over the last decade?"

I'm not sure that the Clintons were in an esp. good position to change the rules. I have no idea who or what has power to change these rules. I thought that it's done state by state. I really don't know.

In any case that's not my point. I'm not arguing with the rules. I'm only pointing out that Obama's supposedly unassailable lead is an artifact of them plus the fact that he's black and anyone who questions him is immediately tarred with the scarlet letter "R". If he were white, no one would be calling for his opponent to forfeit.

In 1980, Teddy Kennedy challenged AN INCUMBENT PRESIDENT all the way to the convention, and no one called for him to forfeit.

vbspurs said...

The perfect people will certify their perfection by voting for Obama. But what about all the imperfect, typical, bitter, benighted white people, hmmm?

Ricpic, your comments always are about race, edged towards whites. It makes one queasy that there's more behind that...

Cheers,
Victoria

ricpic said...

Making you queasy is my mission in life, Victoria old gel.

vbspurs said...

I saw your Michelle Malkin comment, Ricpic. Whew.

Cheers,
Victoria

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

The Republicans make a mistake in doing a me too with Jindal or Condi. Give people a powerhouse VP, Michael Bloomberg. I would hope that would bring New York to MCain and anybody who didn't want to vote for a Jew is going to have to vote for another minority so there shouldn't be too much vote jumping to Democrat.

blake said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure the rules say that there is no candidate yet.

I hear the press say it's Obama's. But those super-delegates haven't voted and they're allowed to vote however the hell they want.

In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the regular delegates (some or all) can vote however they want.

So I don't see how she's lost. I really don't see how the loss was clinched by her smashing WV victory. I don't get that. She creamed Obama and everyone said, "Yep, it's over for her."

Huh?

The sensible approach is to admit that the will of the voters isn't clear--'cause it's not--and select the most likely victor.

I think that would be Hil(l)ary, but I don't know.

I also don't wonder if she wouldn't make the best President of the three. Bill Clinton's successes seem to be tied less into an ideology and more into a long-term vision. Yes, I think that vision was "How will this make me look in the history books?" but whatever. We could do worse.

Obama and McCain seem very self-righteous to me.

Let's see Barry O on SNL now....

Simon said...

XWL said...
"Getting to 270 or more is fine, but what about all the scenarios that lead to a 269-269 tie ... If folks thought 2000 was contentious, imagine an election decided by the House of Representatives in the modern era."

If they follow the precedents of the House and no one crosses party lines, Obama wins 27 - 21, with two states evenly divided, by my count.

Pastafarian said...

Well, it's good to see that Ann has finally concluded that Clinton is actually stronger against McCain than Obama -- I've been saying that in these comments for months.

I agree with Diana's first comment, that this analysis is too rosy for Obama. It assumes that Massachussets is in the bag for Obama, for example; but surprisingly, it's not. An April 17 Survey USA poll has it a dead heat between Obama and McCain. (Clinton would win by 15%). And there are other states like this, that the author has prematurely put in Obama's column; but he hasn't made such assumptions in favor of McCain.

And I agree with vbspurs that Obama won't win Ohio. It's a toss-up right now, but I've lived in Ohio all my life, and I have the same hunch -- the Rev. Wright fiasco damaged Obama beyond repair here.

I think that in the general election, Obama will have to work so hard to hold usual strongholds like MA and MI, that he'll not have the resources to put into OH and PA, and he'll lose, narrowly.

XWL said...

Simon says (said, that is),

If they follow the precedents of the House and no one crosses party lines, Obama wins 27 - 21, with two states evenly divided, by my count.

But that's where the real fun begins.

Even though the House delegations for the states favor Dems 27-21, under the scenario outlined (3 states flipping from 2004), only 21 states would have picked Obama, there are Southern and Western states (like MS, AR, TN, NC, ND, SD, CO) which have a majority Dem delegation, but the voters in that state would have gone for McCain. Plus you have the split delegation in AZ, but would is it really that hard to imagine that at least one of those Dems flips and picks the home state candidate?.

It wouldn't be that hard to put a ton of pressure on 'blue-dog' Democrats to vote as their state had, rather than how their party wants them to vote. That's why this scenario would be comedy gold, no matter the outcome, the losers will have a strong case for why they should have won, and will be crying foul for the next 4 years.

But it's a moot point, Obama isn't going to win a single Southern state (not because of race, but because of his liberal politics), and he'll lose PA, MN, and probably MI and maybe even WI.

Obama is McGovern II, and will be about as successful in the Electoral College.

But who's going to be 2008's Pauline Kael and announce, 'I don't understand how McCain won, nobody I know voted for him . . .'?

vbspurs said...

But who's going to be 2008's Pauline Kael and announce, 'I don't understand how McCain won, nobody I know voted for him . . .'?

I'm predicting here and now that if Hillary doesn't get the VP spot, the person uttering that won't be her.

Because she and many of her supporters will vote for McCain...

(Hey, the McCains allegedly didn't vote for Bush in '00. When you're that close to power, and are snubbed, oddness happens)

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Simon! Good to see you around. :)

It reminds me to tune into 60 Minutes, since I now equate it with Nino Scalia.

Mulefly said...

http://electoralprojection.blogspot.com/2008/05/2008-presidential-electoral-vote_18.html

This poll that is updated weekly shows McCain with 269 and Obama with 228... a couple of weeks ago they were virtually tied.

vbspurs said...

a couple of weeks ago they were virtually tied.

You know what unnerves me the most?

That if Obama loses, these pie-charts will become proof to beat up the American public with -- to the 1000th power.

How did Jews vote? How did whites vote? How did the South vote? How did high school grads vote?

Pundits everywhere will fall over themselves with conclusions about racism, we'll have televised Town Hall Meetings named "National Dialogue about Race", Maureen Dowd and Nora Ephron will blame white men, Reverend Wright will blame Jews, the international press will have a field day citing that Americans are too racist (meanwhile, in their countries blacks don't even register), bloggers will melt getting out the most linkable commentary, in one nauseating stream after another.

What a prospect.

blake said...

Well, Victoria, I'd be willing to suffer through the pitiable seven-figure income they have just to show my solidarity with the downtrodden.

I could probably find a few million people of all races, colors and creeds to agree with me.

What's that joke Damon Wayans used? "They always ask you about racism after they've handed you a million dollar check."

"Now, Damon. Is there racism in America?"

"No, suh! And if'n there is, I shore ain't seen it!"

Honestly, I think there's an equal risk that an Obama Presidency would mean that the race-baiters would have even more voice.

Clearly Obama was willing to listen to it, who's to say he wouldn't give it a pulpit?

vbspurs said...

A kiss for mentioning Damon Wayans. In Living Colour/Don't Drink Juice... were da bomb.

George said...

Barone is good, as always.

Dogwood said...

Give people a powerhouse VP, Michael Bloomberg.

This would sink McCain's chances of kissing and making up with the conservative GOP base, especially gun owners.

Seven Machos said...

Even money says Rudy. Possibly Lieberman, Thompson, or that guy from Minnesota.

He won't pick Rice. There's no win there. It reminds people too much of Bush and it's not likely to bring on any constituency.

AJ Lynch said...

I recommend Rudy for McCain and Webb or Rendell for Obama.

But I don't think the election will be close.

I see a tidal wave in McCain's favor because Obama will find he can't lose his growing image of not really ready for prime time.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The Republicans make a mistake in doing a me too with Jindal or Condi. Give people a powerhouse VP,"

A powerhouse! Sounds good! Who do you have in mind?

"Michael Bloomberg"

That's your idea of a powerhouse? A person who appeals to pretty much no one?

Why didn't you go all in and suggest George Pataki?

/If you wanted a NY powerhouse, Giuliani would be a much better call.

EnigmatiCore said...

"ricpic said...

The perfect people will certify their perfection by voting for Obama. But what about all the imperfect, typical, bitter, benighted white people, hmmm?"

You spend an awful lot of your commenting time on white people. You wouldn't happen to be lacking in pigmentation, are you?

Simon said...

Victoria, re your 6:25 PM comment, I agree, and had intended to reply to your comment earlier listing Condi's positives thusly -- picking Rice also eliminates the central plank of Obama's strategy, which is already entirely apparent: the branding of anyone who questions anything he does - still less votes for the other ticket - as a racist. They'll still try, of course, but will look absurd.

I haven't meant to be AWOL these last few days, by the way. My parents have been visiting, and that's taken up all my time. Tomorrow we're going to take them around the Indiana capitol en route to the airport en route home.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

About 65,000 people turned out to hear Obama speak in Portland today. Something to think about.

vbspurs said...

as a racist.

Not he so much I think, as his "surrogates", in the phrase du jour.

You know which debate I would LOVE to see? An imaginary Vice-Presidential debate between Condi Rice and Michelle Obama, two women from such similar backgrounds.

I'd love to see how their view of America differs, in real-time with pressure to answer succinctly.

If Condi would be too cautious and diplomatic, she would also be inscrutable. I fancy Michelle Obama would slip up on more than one occasion.

I haven't meant to be AWOL these last few days, by the way. My parents have been visiting, and that's taken up all my time.

Oh how lovely, Simon. I had relatives from Austria staying too, last week.

Hope the weather is fine for them, and not too hot. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

rcocean said...

"This would sink McCain's chances of kissing and making up with the conservative GOP base, especially gun owners."

Hardly. The GOP base will accept anything McCain dishes out, including Lieberman. They're grumbling as usual, but they'll end up voting for McCain, They're good little soldiers.

McCain should nominate a moderate or even a pro-choice social liberal.

jdeeripper said...

Why is it that every discussion of McCain's VP avoids the obvious choice - Mitt Romney. Captain America should have been the Presidential nominee.

McCain/Romney '08.

Romney helps McCain wrap up New Hampshire, Nevada and maybe Pennsylvania and Michigan. And he wont hurt him among the anti-Mormon types in the South. McCain will carry those states against Obama.

michael farris said...

If Obama is the nominee and loses ... it will be Hillary's fault.

Seven Machos said...

If McCain picks Romney, he's an idiot and look out for the media to revisit the saga of that nutty polygamous, child-raping sect interminably.

I can definitely appreciate Simon's thinking about Condi Rice. I like her and selecting her makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. Of course, I am one of only six Americans who still sort of likes President Bush, too. I don't think it will happen. This is a reform election. Everybody says.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

If Obama is the nominee and loses ... it will be Hillary's fault.

Of course! After all, according to Obama, every mistake of his career and campaign thus far has been someone else's fault.

blake said...

Of course! After all, according to Obama, every mistake of his career and campaign thus far has been someone else's fault.

That's always attractive in a leader.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Oh, by the way, Here's a copy of an official Obama campaign brochure highlighting the candidate's ethical stance on inserting religion into political campaigns.

TitusLies, Lies, Lies-there going to get you. said...

I had dinner with a very good friend of mine from Mass last night. He was in the city for the weekend.

He is a big time gay democrat.

The dinner was great.

He told me he would never vote for Obama. He told me that the entire Reverend Wright thing had such an impact on him.

He told me that he thought Obama was a phoney. He did not trust him. He disliked his wife. He thought Obama was a snob.

He, who is a through in through Mass liberal, told me Obama would lose to Mccain in Mass.

He loves Hilary and think she has been treated unfairly by the media.

I found his views fascinating.

The NYC waitress overheard part of our conversation and she said the same exact things as my liberal Massachusetts gay friend.

The republicans put be in the best postion to win with Mccain.