Obama dominates latest Electoral College map

MID-TUESDAY-MORNING UPDATE:

I wrote the post below last night, just after Pollster.com had changed its rating of the prez race in Florida and Colorado from toss-up to leaning Obama, which gave the Dem ticket, for the first time I believe, a majority of the Electoral College among states that are colored blue.

This morning, taking more recent polls into account, Pollster moved Ohio (20 EV) and New Hampshire (4 EV) from toss-up to light blue. The most current tally on that site has the race 320-155 for Obama with just five remaining toss-up states worth 55 EV.

Real Clear Politics hasn’t made a change in the last 24 hours and still has the race 264-163, with nine toss-up states worth 111 EV. Just below is the fuller analysis I wrote last night, before the latest Pollster.com updates.

The polls show Barack Obama continuing to pull away from John McCain in the race for 270 electoral votes. Just in the week since my last check-in, all of the electoral maps that I follow have continued moving states in Obama’s direction. As of yesterday afternoon, there was nearly total agreement between Real Clear Politics and Pollster.com.

RCP had the race:

• Obama/Biden: 264 electoral votes

• McCain/Palin: 163

• Nine toss-up states: 111

And Pollster.com had it:

• Obama/Biden: 260

• McCain/Palin: 163

• Ten Toss-ups, 115.

The only difference was that RCP had New Hampshire as a light-blue state and Pollster had it as a toss-up, with a slight Obama lead.

It takes 270 EV to win the election, so from that point, if Obama could hold all of the states in which he had a significant lead, he needed 6-10 more votes — roughly one medium sized state or two small ones — while McCain had to sweep all nine or 10 toss-ups, including several in which he was trailing by a small amount.

But around suppertime yesterday, Pollster took into account fresh polls by Fox News from five swing states and decided to move one big state (Florida, 27 EV) and one medium state (Colorado, 9 EV) from the toss-up category into the “leans blue” column, which left Pollster’s current tally at:

• Obama/Biden: 296

• McCain/Palin: 163

• Seven Toss-up states: 79

This is the first time in a long time (and perhaps all year) that either of these two maps has shown either campaign with more than the magic 270 EV needed to win. And Pollster, which uses the last several polls from a state to calculate a trend line, show Obama slightly ahead in four of the seven remaining toss-up states, including the largest one, Ohio, with 20 EV.

(Minnesota, if you’re wondering, was listed as a toss-up until fairly recently but now shows at a Dem leaner. Pollster’s trend line shows Obama ahead by 49.1 to 45.2 percent. Real Clear, which uses a different poll averaging methodology, has Obama ahead in Minnesota by 50.8-43.2.)

To save you trouble of studying the maps yourself, the table below lists all 10 of the states that are shown as toss-ups on either of the maps, in descending order of electoral vote value (EV), and who both of these maps show to be leading and by how much.

STATE EV RCP poll average Pollster.com trend line
Florida 27 Obama by 3.0 Obama by 4.0
Ohio 20 Obama by 3.0 Obama by 1.8
N. Carolina 15 Obama by 1.5 McCain by 0.9
Virginia 13 Obama by 4.9 Obama by 2.2
Missouri 11 McCain by 1.7 McCain by 2.8
Indiana 11 McCain by 2.2 McCain by 1.8
Colorado 9 Obama by 3.0 Obama by 3.9
Nevada 5 Obama by 1.8 Obama by 0.3
New Hamphire 4 Obama by 8.0 Obama by 3.1

Of course the polls give and the polls take away. But if I called Obama’s current Electoral College situation “commanding” a week ago, I’d have to call it  “dominant” in this reading, taken Monday evening.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 10/07/2008 - 01:14 pm.

    According to electoral-vote.com, today is the first time this year that either candidate has more than 270 electoral votes outside the MOE. They report that Obama now has around 280 electoral votes in states where he outpolls McCain by more than 5 points. In 2004 Kerry enjoyed a brief spike of such support – in June. Clearly the McCain campaign sees that they have to change their game plan – will voters be attracted or repelled by their new ‘no attack is too specious’ tactics? Will Senator McCain amp up the attacks tonight, or try to appear more presidential?

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