Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Electoral College - Part 6 - Midwest

Solid McCain - 11 votes
Solid Obama - 21 votes
Lean McCain - 28 votes
Tossup - 64 votes

Solid McCain
Nebraska (5 votes, all three districts) - There are actually four races in Nebraska for the president. The latest statewide poll has McCain up by 18. In 2004, Bush won it 66-33%, and in 2000 it was 62-33%. District 1 (Lincoln based) went 63-36% and 59-36% in 2004 and 2000. District 2 (Omaha) was 60-38% and 57-39%. Obama may make a run for it, but that's a lot of ground to make up. District 3 is the rural part and was 75-24% and 71-25%.

Kansas (6 votes) - Kansas has three political parties. The "conservative" Republicans. The "moderate" Republicans. The Democrats. It is competitive when the two Republican parties are at each others throats which is common right now with state issues. It hasn't happened in presidential races yet as the two Republican parties seem to be united on Obama. There's no local character involved here. Two August polls have McCain up 23 (Survey USA) and 14 (Rasmussen). With Palin on the ticket, this one is solid since the right won't stay home, and the moderates there probably like McCain quite a bit. Bush won it 62-37% in 04 and 58-37% in 00.

Solid Obama
Illinois (21 votes) - It's a solid democrat state even more so with the homer vote. Gore won it 55-43% and Kerry won it 55-44%. Rasmussen has Obama by 15 in August. That sounds about right here. Almost 40% of the vote is from Cook County (Chicago). It went 70-30 for Kerry giving a 850,000 vote spread. That doesn't account for Champaign, East St Louis, Quad Cities, and Madison County. Kerry won the state by 500,000 votes overall. The Suburban Chicago areas outside of Cook County are slightly Republican and are 1.2 million votes. That makes a small dent, along with the downstate areas. The counties with Peoria and Rockford are 50-50. Obama won 70-30 in 04 against Maryland resident Alan Keyes after dirty tricks by the Obama/Daley/Axelrod camp got Jack Ryan off the ballot. Will he get 70% here this year? Maybe not, but he'll win here.

Lean McCain
North Dakota (3 votes) - The polls have been nasty here for some reason. I haven't seen any non-partisan post convention polls. Bush won the state 63-35% in 2004 and 61-33% in 2000. They are notorious ticket splitters there however and sent two democrats to the senate. There's one August poll by the democrats that have Obama up by 3. One democrat poll in July has McCain up by 3. Rasmussen in July had him up by 1. It's enough of a concern to put this into a lean and not solid category, but past election performance keeps this out of a tossup. The worst case situation for the GOP is that this is West Virginia 2000 revisited. I do not expect that, but I'd keep an eye on it.

South Dakota (3 votes) - The polls haven't been as nasty here as North Dakota, surprising since it is less republican. Bush twice won here 60-38%. The most recent Rasmussen poll has McCain by 4. I have this in the same situation as North Dakota. Past election performance on presidential performance has this as a lean instead of a tossup. I'd keep an eye on here as well.

Missouri (11 votes) - For years it was the national bellwether always voting for the winner. It still is to a degree, although I'd give Ohio the edge there today. That doesn't mean Missouri isn't a battleground. I am surprised Obama hasn't pushed as hard there as he is in Indiana. Missouri is much more winnable for a presidential democrat. Bush won here 53-46% in 2004 and 50-47% in 2000. That's despite Kerry only winning four counties. Jackson (Kansas City), St Louis County, St Louis City, and Ste Genevieve. There is about a million votes in those four areas out of 2.6 million. Boone County is a 50-50 county likely going for Obama as it is home to the University of Missouri. The latest polls in August have McCain up by 10 (PPP - Democrat) and 6 (Rasmussen, non partisan). This one should hold.

Indiana (11 votes) - Obama has been working very hard here. Polls have been favorable as well. Three August polls have McCain up 2 (Howey Gauge), 6 (Survey USA), and 6 (Rasmussen). However, Bush won it 60-39% and 57-41%. The democrats have two strong bases. Lake County (Gary/Hammond) and Monroe County (Bloomington, home of Indiana University). Obama also has some help in the Chicago media here in the northwest part of the state. The keys here are this:
Indianapolis/Marion County - Kerry won it despite losing by 21pts. Obama needs to win big there.
South Bend/Elkhart - Bush won it in 04. It's economic liberal and social conservative. Somehow Obama put win that area big if he'll win the state.
Southern Indiana - It is more democrat, but Bush won big there in 04. Obama has to sell there if he'll win the state.
I can see one of those three things happening, but not all of them. I think this is like Bush's play for California in 2000.

Tossup:
Minnesota (10 votes) - I hesitated to put this in tossup because of its democrat heritage and polls, but the last two presidential elections here were 3% and 2% differences. Kerry won 51-48%, Gore 48-46%. All four August polls have Obama up, ranging from 2%(Survey USA) to 12% (Time). I think things will tighten up, but of the most competitive seats that went blue in 04, I think this will be the hardest for McCain to pick off. It is also the toughest state for me to predict. Mondale won here. So did Paul Wellstone. On the other hand, so did Rod Grams who was as far to the right as Wellstone was to the left. The democrat base is Duluth/Iron Range and Minneapolis/St Paul. There are also some scattered blue counties in the West and South end. The Republican base is the suburban counties surrounding the Twin Cities, and most the rural areas outside of the Iron Range and a few scattered counties. The Rochester area and St Cloud lean Republican, but Rochester isn't a gimme. If McCain can rack up big numbers in the base areas, along with the leaners, he has a shot if he can make inroads in the Iron Range. Whether he can or not remains to be seen.

Iowa (7 votes) - Iowa was one of three states to flip in 2004. Gore won it by about 4000 votes in 2000 and Bush won it by 10,000 votes in 04. Overall, I think this is by far Obama's best chance for a pickup and almost put this as leaning democrat. Iowa has a pacifist streak, and is the most pro-ethanol state in the union. McCain has long been hostile to ethanol. That means trouble. August polls range from Obama up 5 (Rasmussen) to 15 (Time). In short, Eastern Iowa leans democrat and Western and most of Central Iowa leans Republican. Davenport in Eastern Iowa is very slightly democrat with the Dubuque and Waterloo areas more so. The big base is Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. In Central Iowa, Des Moines and Ames areas are competitive, although Obama will likely do very well in Ames as it is a college town. The western area is largely Dutch and about as Republican as Ottawa County in Michigan. The central farm areas are more leaners, although I'm not sure about that with the ethanol issue. I think this one is trouble.

Wisconsin (10 votes) - One of the closest states the last two elections. Kerry won it by 11,000 votes in 04, and Gore by 5700 votes in 2000. There's five main democrat bases. Milwaukee, Dane County (Madison), Rock County (Janesville), the Southwest (Eau Claire, LaCrosse) and Northwest (Superior). The Republican areas are the areas just North of Milwaukee. Unless you count Ottawa County as suburban, Waukesha is probably the most Republican suburban county in the Midwest outside of a couple of the Cincy suburbs. The other suburban areas are strong Republican. Green Bay area(outside 06) leans Republican in federal elections, but I believe it is more ticket splitter. I'm not positive on that, but that's common in the North and things have been competitive. Most of the interior leans Republican, but not overwhelmingly so like the rural areas in Nebraska. If McCain can cut the democrat margins in rural areas and the Northwest and hold the areas that Bush had in 2004 he wins. Polls here are starting to get closer. Strategic Vision (R) has the only post convention poll with Obama by 3. Others in August has it 6 (WPRI) and 7 (Rasmussen). It's going to be close here I think once again in the end and come down to turnout.

Ohio (21 votes), Michigan (17 votes)- I'll get to these two states later as I know them best.

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