First off, based on the polls and issues, along with my gut feeling, I moved Iowa to lean Obama. One word. Ethanol.
Now's the actual Math. I have as follows:
Solid McCain - 139
Lean McCain - 61 (North Carolina, Georgia, Montana, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana)
Total McCain - 200
Solid Obama - 171
Lean Obama - 26 (Washington, Oregon, Iowa, Maine's 2nd District)
Total Obama - 197
Assuming this is true, that means McCain needs 70 votes, and Obama 73 votes. (or 72 votes to tie and likely win by legislatures)
I'll seperate the tossups into two categories. "Big 4" and the rest.
Florida - 27
Pennsylvania - 21
Ohio - 20
Michigan - 17
Those four are 85 votes.
Virginia - 13
Wisconsin - 10
Minnesota - 10
Colorado - 9
Nevada - 5
New Mexico - 5
New Hampshire - 4
56 votes out of the rest. Total of 141 votes in the tossups.
Assume the "lean" states stay that way (else it is a landslide). Now how big are the big 4 states? The magic numbers are 70 for McCain and 73 for Obama.
Scenario 1 - All four "Big 4" states to one candidate. 85 votes. It's over. Pop the champaign glass. Who ever wins all of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan wins.
Scenario 2 - Three of the big 4. Whoever wins three of the big four states forces the other candidate to almost run the table.
Most likely for this for McCain:
Florida (27), Ohio (20), Michigan (17) - 64 - votes. That gives McCain 264 votes. He then wins if he holds Virginia (13), Colorado (9), or both New Mexico (5) and Nevada (5). He also wins if he flips either Wisconsin (10) or Minnesota.(10) or flips New Hampshire (4) and any other tossup state.
Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania - 68 votes - That gives 268 votes to McCain and he wins if he gets one more state listed above.
Less likely for McCain:
Ohio (20), Penn (21), Michigan (17) - I don't see McCain losing Florida and winning these three. That gives him 258 needing 12. Virginia wins, or any combination of two states outside of the 5 or less vote states where he needs 3 (NH, NV, NM)
Florida (27), Michigan (17), Penn (21) - Least likely, since if Ohio flips, Michigan stays blue. Too many similarities. 265 votes, one other tossup state wins outside of New Hampshire which will tie.
I think Florida and Ohio are most likely for McCain, with Michigan and Pennsylvania plausible, but less likely.
More likely for Obama (197 votes):
Pennsylvania (21), Michigan (17), Florida (27): - 65 votes, giving Obama 262. He then wins if he holds Wisconsin (10) or Minnesota (10), or if he flips Virginia (13) or Colorado (9). Also winning is holding New Hampshire (4) and flipping either New Mexico (5) or Nevada (5)
Pennsylvania (21) Michigan (17), Ohio (20): - 58 votes, giving Obama 255. The magic number is then 15. The following combinations win:
Virginia and any other tossup state:
Wisconsin/Minnesota and Wisconsin/Minnesota, Colorado, New Mexico, or Nevada
Colorado and Nevada and New Mexico.
Tie possible with:
Wisconsin/Minnesota and New Hampshire
Nevada, New Mexico and New Hampshire
Ohio, Florida, Michigan - 64 votes, giving Obama 261. That means 9 votes needed. Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, or Minnesota win it, or any two of New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida - Least likely, for the same reason why McCain won't win Michigan if Ohio flips. 68 votes giving Obama 265. Any state ourside New Hampshire will win. New Hampshire will tie.
Florida and Ohio will be tougher for Obama. Pennsylvania and Michigan won't be easy, but more likely than the other two.
Scenario 3 - Splitting the Big 4.
McCain - Florida/Ohio - 47 votes for 247
Obama - Pennsylvania/Michigan - 38 votes for 235
This will mimic the last two elections. McCain needs 23 more votes, and Obama 35. Keep in mind that I already conceded Iowa to Obama, which falls in line from 2000, not 2004.
McCain wins with:
A. Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10) or Minnesota (10)
B. Virginia, Colorado (9) and any other state
C. Virginia, New Mexico (5), and Nevada (5)
D. Wisconsin and Minnesota, and any other state
E. Wisconsin (or Minnesota), Colorado, and any other state
F. Wisconsin (or Minnesota), New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire (4)
G. Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire
Virginia and Colorado tie.
Virginia, New Mex/Nevada and New Hampshire tie.
McCain - Florida/Pennsylvania 48 votes for 248, 22 votes needed
Obama - Ohio/Michigan - 37 votes for 234, 36 votes needed
Same Scenarios as above, except also Virginia and Colorado wins.
McCain - Florida/Michigan - 44 votes for 244, 26 votes needed
Obama - Ohio/Pennsylvania - 41 votes for 238, 32 votes needed
Very unlikely (because If Michigan goes McCain so does Ohio, but if I'm wrong)
A. Virginia (13), Wisconsin/Minnesota(10), and one other state.
B. Virginia (13), Colorado (9), and one other state.
C. Virginia (13), Nevada (5), New Mexico(5) and New Hampshire (4).
D. Wisconsin (10), Minnesota(10), and Colorado (9)
E. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and two of New Mexico/Nevada/New Hampshire.
F. Wisconsin/Minnesota(10), Colorado (9), and two of New Mexico/Nevada/New Hampshire
McCain - Ohio/Michigan - 37 votes for 237 votes, need 33 votes
Obama - Florida/Pennsylvania - 48 votes for 245 votes, need 25 votes
It gets tricky here.
A. Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), and Minnesota (10)
B. Virginia, Wisconsin (or MN), Colorado (9), and one other tossup state.
C. Virginia, Wisconsin (or MN), and Nevada and New Mexico
D. Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire
E. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, and one other tossup state
F. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.
McCain - Michigan/Pennsylvania - 38 votes
Obama - Florida/Ohio
See above, almost the same.
McCain - Ohio/Pennsylvania - 41 votes for 241 votes, need 29.
Obama - Florida/Michigan - 38 votes
See above, slightly easier.
The biggest thing this shows is that in order to have a chance, either candidate must win at least two of the "Big 4" states. Three makes it easy to win. If the four are split, a major advantage goes to whoever takes Florida. Without Florida, Virginia is a must win, or McCain will have to run the table to win. With Florida, Virginia makes it much easier, particulary as Wisconsin and Minnesota are more difficult states to win. From what I heard, Colorado is target 1 for the dems. Assuming Iowa is going blue, picking off Colorado makes it very tough, but not impossible to win if Virginia says red. McCain would have to run the table then with New Mexico and Nevada (or pick off Wisconsin or Minnesota). This is why that third state of the big 4 is so important.
If that call is made early for either Pennsylvania or Michigan, then I'm almost certain we win. I can't see either of those two going our way and then end up losing Florida or Ohio. If Obama takes both, it'll be a long night of waiting.