Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Map

Here's my take on what the electoral college looks like now:

When I posted this on Twitter, there was some disagreement (as you might expect). Here's my reasoning/analysis:

1. The great story of this election is Obama's collapsing support among non-Latino whites. Nowhere is this collapse more....complete than in the Southern states. That downdraft has taken North Carolina off the table and, I think, dooms Obama's efforts in Virginia and in Gold Coast and I-4 Florida. Those three states all lean Romney in my view.

2. I do think that Romney can win Pennsylvania if he made a major investment there, but it appears that he will not do so. If he doesn't, then I think Obama hangs on to win it. Ditto Michigan, although I think Pennsylvania is slightly better for Romney than Michigan for a number of complicated reasons that are too lengthy to get into here.

3. Polls indicate that Colorado is close and that Nevada is lean Obama. I was tempted to put Nevada in Obama's total, based largely on Mr. Ralston's view that the president will win the state. But I'm a week away from doing that. The Mormon vote there strikes me as a significant "x" factor. I am reasonably certain that Romney will win Colorado, based on a lot of input from friends in the state and pollsters whose judgement I trust.

4. Wisconsin has had two major, statewide elections in the last two years (one for State Supreme Court Justice and one for the recall of Governor Scott Walker). The Republicans won the State Supreme Court Justice election by a whisker. They won the gubernatorial recall election by a relative landslide. Things haven't much changed there, except that the 2012 presidential election features Paul Ryan as the GOP's vice presidential candidate. It's truly too close to call. **

5. President Obama is slightly ahead in Ohio, but the race there seems destined to be decided by 25,000 votes or so. So I left it toss-up.

6. Iowa and New Hampshire are stone toss-ups.

7. I haven't seen any data on Maine's 2nd Congressional District, but I assume it goes Obama and thus all 4 electoral college votes go into his total.

8. The Omaha (NE) Congressional District went Obama in 2008. It won't this time.

My somewhat larger view of the election is that Romney will win the popular vote. I'm assuming that Obama runs at 36-37% among non-Latino white voters (75% of the total vote, in all likelihood). That puts him at 27-28% of the total vote. If he does exactly as well as he did last time among non-white voters, he adds 21% to his national vote total. And he falls short of a majority.

So it may be that we end up with a Romney win nationally and an Obama win in the Electoral College.

** As a reader correctly pointed out to me, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court election was not a recall election. The text on Wisconsin has been corrected.