Karl Rove’s Electoral Map

For those who want to see Dr. Evil’s map, I am including it below:



I like Rove’s map because he puts the % that the candidates are up.  You need 270 to win.  McCain needs to win all the ‘yellow’ states and then pick off 41 more Electoral Votes.  If he takes Pennsylvania – he’d still need to get Ohio.  If he gets Ohio, but not PA, he’ll need to take Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.  He could also take  Ohio, Virginia and Nevada.  Here’s the problem, if the polls are correct, he is not going to make up 11 points in Pennsylvania.

There is definitely a doable strategy for McCain – but he’s got to be perfect.  He’s got nine or ten states he is either behind or tied that he needs to win.  And in all the ‘toss-up’ states, except Montana, he is statistically insignificantly behind.

How tough is it to win those states?  Rove’s map matches nearly everyone else’s – including Real Clear Politics (RCP).  In 2004, the RCP map got only one state wrong in their prediction – Wisconsin.  It went for Kerry when they had predicted Bush.  More comparisons.  In 2004, about a week out, the Electoral College was split 234 for Bush, and 211 for Kerry.  McCain only has 157 in his column.  In addition, in every single toss-up state (except Wisconsin), the candidate who was leading – no matter how slightly – won that state.

The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you believe the polls.  Do you believe in a Bradley Effect?  Do you not believe more Democrats will show up than in 2004? Do you believe that the youth and African American population will increase?  If you do, then the race is over.  If you don’t, then it still is going to be tight.

My theory is based on a finding by Karl Rove on his website:

There has been an explosion of polls this presidential election. Through yesterday, there have been 728 national polls with head-to-head matchups of the candidates, 215 in October alone. In 2004, there were just 239 matchup polls, with 67 of those in October. At this rate, there may be almost as many national polls in October of 2008 as there were during the entire year in 2004.

There are two factors that tend to have me believing the polls.  The first is there are a lot more of them this year.  We do not know the quality of them, as Karl Rove goes on to say in his article, but the fact is they all tend to be in alignment – somewhat.  That is, the traditional pollsters who have good reputations are showing the same basic results as the new ones.  At the National level – McCain has not led one poll in over a month.  That’s 215 polls.  Not one outlier shows McCain with a lead.  Second, there is a little more variability in the state polls, but the outliers are at both extremes and if you go to the mean, I believe you got the right result.  Look, if you have three pollsters who are doing the polling, there’s a good chane their methodology could be wrong.  But when you have 15-20 pollsters in a state, this will reduce variability.  We see some extremes in the state polls, but most are around what the mean ends up being.

The second factor is I believe the pollsters are getting better.  Polling is a science.  The pollsters are learning from each other (e.g. cell phones, etc.) and improving the quality from mistakes they have made in previous elections.  A ‘Dewey Wins’ banner will never again occur the same way it did in 1948 when they stopped polling a week out. They learned.  They learned in 2000 and in 2004.  Additionally, folks like Nate Silver and Sam Wang and Mark Blumenthal have made a science out of projections based on multiple polls.  They’ve also helped keep pollsters honest and throwing out bad polls.

Believing the polls are acurate, means I believe Obama will win this election.  There are too many states that the pollsters would have to be wrong about for Obama to lose.  It’s not like 2000 or 2004 when it was going to come down to 1 or 2 states.  No, for McCain to win, it has to come down to 9 or 10 states.  Thinking of how close Ohio and Florida (and New Mexico) were in the previous election cycles – it’s hard to believe that McCain would come out on the right side of all those close battles.


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