Posts Tagged ‘72 hour’

How McCain Can Win Electoral College And Lose Popular Vote

November 3, 2008

There are a number of solidly blue large states that will drive up the tally of Obama’s popular vote support.  California, New York, and Illinois are examples of states that should easily go to Obama by huge margins.

But winning one state by a big margin in an all or nothing state doesn’t mean any more in the Presidential contest than winning that state by one single vote.

We are a nation that decides Presidents by an electoral college system that is based on building a coalition of states that results in at least 270 electoral college votes.  Any combination of states that results in at least 270 electoral college votes wins the White House.

Right now, there are fundamentally seven “battleground” states that will decide the election, with the remaining states having already fallen one way or the other: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  The way the election has been breaking based on polling data, McCain has to win the first seven, or make up for a loss by winning Pennsylvania.

The point is, McCain could easily lose the popular vote by a significant margin and still win the election by narrowly winning the states he needs to win.  In the 2000 election, Gore lost to Bush while receiving a little over half a million more popular votes.  The same thing could happen to Obama, only on a much more massive scale of several million votes.

What is frightening for Democrats is that McCain has been making significant gains in those key states.  The fact that Barack Obama promised an audience of San Franciscans that his plan would bankrupt the coal industry ( and send the cost of electicity skyrocketing in the process) will not help his chances in four of those eight states.  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, and Indiana are four of ten states which collectively provide 90% of America’s massive coal industry.  Coal produces 49% of the electiricy consumed in the United States, so frankly everyone who doesn’t want to freeze in the dark should care.

The coal industry is located in some of the hardest-hit states.  Obama’s words could have devastating consequences for a large swath of the nation.

Rasmussen currently has McCain tied with Obama in four of those vital states (Colorado, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia), and the Rasmussen data would not include either the full extent of the late McCain surge or the fallout from Obama’s “bankrupt the coal plants” statement.  And the poll that predicted the race most accurately in the last presidential election has the national race within two points, within the IBD/TIPP poll’s margin of error.  Most polls show the race at a 6-7 point gap.

On top of these factors is the so-called Bradley Effect, in which people told pollsters misleading information, but in the end refused to vote for a black candidate (Tom Bradley) who had led in the polls and who continued to lead in the exit polling in the 1982 race for Governor of California.   And Barack Obama, whether due to the “Bradley Effect” or something else, did not prove to be a stong finisher during the primary races against Hillary Clinton.  John McCain, by contrast, has always been a historically strong finisher who has relied on a “72 hour” strategy and simply doesn’t have any quit in him.

It may be a crucial factoid that seven of the eight critical states are traditionally Republican.  If Republicans have a stronger get-out-the-vote machine in their “home field states,” McCain may very well pull out a shocking win.

An Associated Press article by Liz Sidoti titled “Can Obama win popular vote but lose election?” appears to be a fairly balanced presentation of the facts as most of the media believe they understand them.

But we can go back to 1980 to see the media asking the question, “Where the Polls Went Wrong” to try to cope with bad projections that led to massive failures by both the polling organizations and the media who broadcast what turned out to be disinformation.

One thing I know: nobody deserves to look bad more than the mainstream media.

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