John Edwards has put up an interesting Interactive Electoral Map on his website. It shows the states carried by Bush and Gore respectively in 2002. By clicking the states, you can change the vote there to see what the outcome would have been had that state voted differently. (I’m sure the point Edwards hopes to make is that by flipping North Carolina the Democrats could win.)
The map is thought-provoking.
For example, it’s been a truism in some circles (and I’m probably guilty of repeating it myself) that Democrats need to win at least one Southern state to take the White House. But all you have to do is click Indiana or Ohio over into the Democratic camp to see that’s not so.
For debate: what states do you think are most likely to flip to the Democrats in '04? Are any Democratic states apt to flip to the Republicans? Does fiddling with this map suggest a strategy for either side? Thoughts?
By the by, Democrats have made surprising gains in this year’s off-year elections in Indiana.
Oddly enough, Bush has been giving Indiana unheard-of levels of personal attention in the last year or so. It used to be that no Republican President or Presidential candidate even bothered with the state–no need.
I don’t think the voters in NH will vote Bush again. And with their 4 electoral votes, it will only require one of the midwestern/mountain states to also flip in order to put the Big Blue guy back ni the White House.
It is a huge mistake to look at these maps and do state-by-state analysis. A rising tide lifts all boats, and an ebbing one drops them all. If Bush does well with the country as a whole, it will be reflected in the individual polls of numerous states - states that were solidly Democratic will become competitive, states that were competitive will become wins etc. Conversely if the Democrats do well on a national level. This is how the election gets won and lost, not by focusing on winning this or that state.
Of course, there can be complicating factors in individual states. But these are dwarfed by the bigger picture. I believe Michael Dukakis put out a study showing that had he won all the states that he won, plus a few other states that were close, he would have won the election. Silly silly.
It would be helpful if the map also reflected which states are all or nothing, and which are proportional to the vote. I for one rarely remember which are which, and that does make a big difference in the outcome in a close election.
So Izzy, from your “Harumph” may I take you can’t spot any blue states that will flip to Bush?
I disagree with your post. State-by-State analysis is critical to a national election. You have to decide where to focus your resources, and you focus those resources in the swing states. To ignore the Electoral College would be folly.
Something like that. You can take it that I’m not going to even bother looking.
(As you may recall, I’ve already made my prediction that Bush will win re-election, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind since that point.)
I believe you’ve misunderstood my post. Of course state-by-state analysis matters to a campaign strategist, for the reasons you mention. It does not generally matter to someone handicapping the election.
Naw, during the campaign, the GOP tried to make it clear that Gore grew up in, and was a creature of, Washington, not Tennesee. He did, in fact, carry DC handily.
The rest of the discussion is illusory - voting margins are just too variable, and too dependent on transitory or local phenomena, to say that one election’s results can predict another’s four years later.
I’d disagree. While I think that in an election that is won by several percentage points in the popular vote, Izzy’s right, I also think that the 2000 map is a good reflection of where we’ve arrived at in an election that comes down to the wire: an almost solidly Republican South, an almost solidly Democratic Northeast and West Coast, the Plains and Rockies leaning strongly GOP, the Midwest leaning Dem. Every state that Gore won in 2000 had been in the Clinton/Gore column in '92 and '96 as well.
I’ll bet on this proposition, if anyone’s interested: if the two major candidates are within 2% of each other in the 2004 popular vote, at least 40 of the 50 states will vote the way they did in 2000.
But if we Dems are going to choose a candidate based on electoral maps, there’s just one obvious choice, and it isn’t John Edwards. It’s Dick Gephardt.
First of all, Gephardt represents Missouri, a swing state. (The big MO went Bush in 2000, but voted Clinton in '92 and ‘96.) Second, Gephardt plays well in the Rust Belt, which has most of each side’s shakiest states. If the Dems want to regain Ohio and WV, which Clinton won twice, have a shot in Indiana, and hold states like Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, then Gephardt’s the man. If Gephardt were to run roughly even with Bush, the 2004 electoral map would break rather strongly the Democrats’ way, giving them the edge in states totalling ~300 electoral votes, without any assumption of their winning a single Southern, Plains, or Rocky Mountain state.
The ‘if’ is the key question, of course. But it sure would be comforting to know that the possession arrow would be pointing our way in a jump-ball situation, so to speak.