Monday, September 08, 2008

Electoral College Math - Part 2, Mid Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic states are also strongly democrat in its leanings, similar to New England.

Solid Obama - 47 Votes
Lean Obama - 15 Votes
Toss up - 21 Votes

Solid Obama States:
New York (31 votes) - Kerry won 58-40% and Gore won 60-35%. The latest polls are three August polls. Rasmussen has Obama by 19% Quinnipac has Obama by 21. Siena has Obama by 8%. Bush closed the gap a bit in 04, but it still wasn't close. There's too many demographic changes. Long Island and Westchester are now almost solidly blue, and New York City is more blue. Reagan won Queens. Bush made inroads there and got Staten Island to flip, but there aren't enough blue collar Irish and Italians to make up for the liberal out of town transplants, NYU, old money, and minority vote. Manhattan went more democrat in 04 than in 2000. Upstate is almost 52-48% and will have to be closer to 65-35% GOP for McCain to win. I suspect there will be numbers similar to 2004 here, maybe slightly better.

Delaware (3 votes) - With Biden on the ticket, this state should be solid for Obama and not just a Democrat leaner. Kerry won 53-46% and Gore 55-42% which is enough for an outside look, but not with a home state candidate. The only poll was a February poll where Obama was up by 9% Biden's worst election was in 2002...58%. I'm writing Delaware off.

Maryland (10 votes) - One of the most consistant states for the democrats. This is due to government workers in DC, along with a close to 30% black popuation. Kerry won 56-43% and Gore won 57-40%. The latest poll from Rasmussen shows a 10 point Obama lead. It's underwhelming for Maryland, but I don't see it flipping and expect it to increase on Election Day because there's too much of a base. Even if McCain takes Baltimore, Charles, and Howard counties, there's a million votes out of Prince George County (DC East and minority), Montgomery County(DC North and culturally leftist), and Baltimore City and it averages out to about 75% democrat. There is a 520,000 vote gap that needs to be made up from those counties alone, more than the City of Detroit's gap here in Michigan. This is in a state with 2.3 million voters total. That's just too much to make up unless there is a significant infighting on the left and a great GOP candidate team like Bob Ehrich and Michael Steele in 2002.

Washington DC (3 votes) - I do not believe the Republicans ever won DC. They won't this year either. There are no polls for DC, but when Kerry and Gore rack up 89-9% and 85-5% wins, there doesn't need to be a poll. Not even George Washington could win here if he was a Republican.

Lean Obama State:
New Jersey (15 votes) - I think the Republicans are going to try to make a run here. They normally do late as polls tighten, but the dems usually win it on election day by a greater than expected number. It went 53-46% for Kerry and 56-40% for Bush. Bush made many inroads in 2004, can McCain keep them in 08 after the 06 close calls there (District 7). The latest polls in August Obama up by 10. I suspect similar numbers to 2004 here in the end, which are typical for the state. If Jersey flips, it'll be over early. The only real shot is if McCain can break through South Jersey, while improving on Bush's improvements in North Jersey. It's possible, but I won't put money on it. Too much Camden, Orange, Newark, Jersey City, Atlantic City, and culturally liberal suburbs.

Tossup:
Pennsylvania - In my opinion, this is one of the most important battleground states this election, along with Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Michigan. It was close the last two elections. Kerry won 51-48% and Gore 51-46%. Recent polls there have a 3-7 point Obama lead, pre-convention. It was a 6-10 point lead for awhile. In the end, I expect this to be a 1-5% race...either way. The Primary report on the democrat's side was there. It showed Obama's weakness in blue collar areas. The primary votes were not even close. From past elections, Kerry won 13 counties in 2004. Gore won 18 in 2000. Bush won all the rest.

Either James Carville or Paul Begala jokingly referred to Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh and Philly, with Alabama in between. That is an exaggeration, but the "T" section is Republican leaning mostly with the most democrat portions of the state in the Southwest and Southeast areas. I think there these areas in no particular order will tell the biggest story of the election.

1. Philly. The democrats got a 415,000 vote spread from Philly, and won the state by 140,000 votes. Obama will win Philly. That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is how much. He won it 65-35% in the primary. Will Philly go 70-30% in 08 or go 81-19% like it did in 2004. I would like to see the returns out of South Philly (Rocky) and the swing area in Northeast Philly.

2. Philly suburbs. The democrats have been making big gains here since the Clinton years. In the primary, Obama won the 57% Kerry Delaware and 52% Bush Chester County. He narrowly lost 56% Kerry Montgomery County and lost badly in 51% Kerry Bucks County. Bucks County and Chester County are IMO the major areas to watch.

3. Conservative Base Counties. Lancaster and York Counties, along with the other rural areas. Lancaster and York Counties are 65% and 63% Bush areas in 2004 that combine for almost 500,000 votes. Will they go for McCain/Palin by that margin? Obama won Lancaster in the primary. Dauphin County went 58-42 Obama in the primary. Bush got 54% in Dauphin in 04. Cumberland next door was close in the primary, but 64% for Bush in 04. One Bush county from 2000 and 2004 is Centre County. It was Obama's 2nd best county in the primary besides Philly. 60% for Obama. It was 51% for Bush in 2004. I think that county flips.

4. Western PA. Pittsburgh, it's suburban counties, Johnstown, and Erie up North. Obama was trounced here in the primary. He'll have to make up ground here if he is going to win PA. Most of those counties, outside of Alleghany, are winnable for either party, although they are historically democrat leaning. These areas like John Murtha democrats. I don't mean by foreign policy, but domestic policy. Murtha always wins. Why? Because he brings home the bacon, votes against gun control in most cases, and has a pro-life reputation. I expect Alleghany County (Pittsburgh) to go for Obama, but the question here is how much. It is a 57% county, but can Obama match it? The other counties are closer and range from 53% Democrat (2004) to 57% Republican (2004). In order: Erie, Fayette, Beaver, Washington (Dem), Cambria (usually dem,but went for Bush), Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Westmoreland, and Crawford. The rest are major base counties for Bush so I didn't include them. These 10 counties are ones to watch.

5. Eastern PA - Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Bethlehem, Allentown, Reading. This area is quite similar to Western PA in its blue collar views. This is also a steel area. This area leans "Bob Casey Democrat" (pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-union) and is competitive in all elections. In 2004, Berks, Schuylkill (almost a base GOP county, but historical democrat), Carbon, and Monroe Counties went for Bush. Leigh and Northampton Counties are true Bellwether counties. Luzerne and Lackawanna are the base democrat counties there. Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Luzerne was only 51% Democrat in 04. Lackawanna was 56% Democrat (59% for Gore). It was a 75% Hillary Clinton county over Obama however. I think McCain could sweep all of these counties, at least by a small margain, outside of Lackawanna County which is too yellow dog, even moreso than Pittsburgh's county. If I'm wrong on Lackawanna and it goes for McCain, McCain likely wins Pennsylvania barring a miracle in Philly.

Overall, this is once again going to be a tough hard fought race in Pennsylvania. It's a little bit Northeast/Mid Atlantic in attitudes in parts, part rust belt Midwest, and part Appalachian. It's a little bit of American, so this should not be a surprise.

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