Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Electoral College Update

Wow, the race is a real nail biter. It's so close in so many places that I don't believe that anyone knows what's happening on the ground.

But, using this handy-dandy LA Times Electoral Map I have figured out roughly where things stand.

I gave each state to the leader in the latest poll (I fudged on Hawaii which is technically tied but I gave it to Kerry based on history). I left Florida out of the calculation for now. The two states that are tied, Arkansas and Minnesota, I also left out. This gives Kerry a 257-238 lead, broken down as follows:

Kerry: ME, NH, VT, RI, CT, NJ, NY, DE, MD, DC, PA, OH, MI, IL, NM, CA, OP, WA, HI. Note that I gave Kerry TWO of the so-called 3 Big Battleground States, Pennsylvania and Ohio and he is still 13 electoral votes short of the magic 270.

Bush: VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, AL, TN, KY, IN, WI, IA, MO, LA, TX, OK, KS, NE, SD, ND, MT, WY, CO, UT, AZ, NV, ID, AK. Note that I gave Bush Wisconsin, a long time Democratic state, based on the latest polls. He is still 32 votes short.

On my map Bush must win FL and either AR or MN. If Bush wins FL then Kerry must win both AR and MN. If Kerry wins FL then he wins the race. If Kerry can steal Iowa and win either AR or MN, then Kerry wins even if Bush takes FL [except if Bush wins 1 electoral vote from ME (which splits votes) then Kerry must win MN since AR doesn't have enough votes.]

Let's make it complicated. If Bush loses FL and AR but wins OH and MN and only one vote from Maine, then it's the dreaded 269 tie and the election goes to the House. What a nightmare, eh?

Can Bush win if he loses all the 3 Big Battleground States? Not unless he can somehow steal Michigan, which is highly unlikely.

If Bush 2 of the 3 Big Battleground States, can he still lose? Yes, if he wins the smaller states. Bush could win OH and PA but lose FL, NM, AR, MN, WI and NV and lose by 6 votes (5 if he gets one from Maine).

However, if Bush wins any of those states, it's over for Kerry or it ends in a tie and goes to the House where Bush wins.

You can get a sense of the complexity and the stakes. You can create scenarios where almost any state can tip the balance. Next Tuesday will be a long, long night.

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