Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two weeks out

Crunch time, ladies and gentlemen. The last week has seen the race tighten a bit, but not a whole lot. There has not been a lot of movement state-by-state. Obama is firming up his support - he has no "likely" states anymore, but his "win" states are more solid - every win state has a 90+% chance of going his way (according to 538), and he's got 171 EV's at 100%. McCain's states are similarly solid (although he has fewer) - all of his win or likely states are at 91+% or higher for him to win them.

The big news from overnight, according to CNN, is that McCain is conceding New Mexico, Iowa, and Colorado. If Obama hangs on to every Kerry state plus those, he wins with 273 EV. So what's McCain's strategy? Pennsylvania. He has to take that from Obama and prevent Obama from getting 19 EV's back, in places like Virginia (13), Ohio (20), Florida (27), Nevada (5), Missouri (11), or North Carolina (15) - all states where Obama is polling ahead right now. Can he do that? Well, EV.com has Obama up by 12 in PA, 538 has him up by 9.5 with a 98% chance of winning, and if you go to 3bluedudes.com (newly added to the links list), which compiles data from something like 80 projection sites, they've got him polling up by 12.2% and have it in their "Strong Obama" category. Does John McCain have the Warren Zevon cranked up for his election night gathering?

Don Quixote had his windmills
Ponce de Leon took his cruise
Took Sinbad seven voyages
To see that it was all a ruse

(That's why I'm) Looking for the next best thing
Looking for the next best thing
I appreciate the best
But I'm settling for less
'Cause I'm looking for the next best thing

On to the numbers:

Italicized states have trended (changed categories) towards McCain, bolded towards Obama.

McCain win: Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, South Dakota. Total: 152 EV (unchanged).

McCain likely: Montana, West Virginia. Total: 8 EV (+5).

Obama likely: None. Total: 0 EV (-49).

Obama win: DC, Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, California, Delaware, New Jersey, Iowa, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, Virginia. Total: 286 EV (+22).

Tossup: Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Indiana, North Dakota, Florida. Total: 92 EV (+22).

Only four states moved this week. McCain put West Virginia back into the likely from the tossup column, while Obama moved Virginia and Colorado to win, but lost Florida from likely to tossup. Combining the "win" and "likely" for each, we'd be at 160 for McCain and 286 for Obama.

If you include all states that are leaning one way or the other, you'd put IN and ND in McCain's column and FL, MO, OH, NC, and NV in Obama's. That would give you totals of 364 for Obama and 174 for McCain, exactly the same as the last two weeks. Stability helps Obama.

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