Saturday, November 01, 2008

CNN's Battleground States

CNN's Election Center page is showing their picks for the "battleground states" in this year's election, and it's another interesting bit of news.

CNN's battleground states right now include the following: North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida. Important to note that these are all red states that Bush carried in 2004. If it's true that Obama will hold all of the 2004 Kerry states, plus Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia, then he wins the election.

The "extra" states that really grabbed my attention - Georgia, Montana, and Arizona - aren't listed as tossups here. Perhaps they still consider those to be narrow McCain wins. That's the probable outcome, but the numbers are very close, and the ground game is where Obama dominates. I wouldn't want to be in McCain's shoes when looking at Arizona.

Coming into the final hours, consulting these tea leaves will become useless. It's all in the hands of the voters now. It's all down to the ground game - mobilization, organization, and turnout, turnout, turnout.

If the national polling is any indication, it will be a close finish, with Obama winning by 5% in the popular vote. On the electoral vote, again: Kerry 2004, plus Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. Nevada's probably the weakest link here.

Everything else is up in the air. Those battleground states could swing either way. I could envision a scenario where heavy turnout and a sense of the inevitable results in a massive Obama sweep. Even if my "dream scenario" played out, and Obama won 400 electoral votes, I don't believe that would mean a massive political shift in America. We're really just seeing a vast rejection of George W. Bush and the Republican economy. The stock market nearly crashed, and suddenly everyone becomes a swing voter.

America remains a deeply divided nation. What gives me hope is that Obama will have an opportunity - the first real opportunity since Reagan in 1980 - to build a new coalition and shift the scales of American politics. He's going to have the football and control of the clock. Whatever happens between now and 2012 is all on him.

Now get out there and hustle, people! Fight, fight, fight!

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