Anyone who thinks Bush will win in a walkover next year, should look at these Electoral College maps from Larry Sabato.
He assumes a “competitve race,” and that assumption is probably more likely than not.
But I notice that he still has Graham in the race, and winning! Hmmm ….
He seems to have made two key assumptions:
A. Blue and Red are primary determining factors for state apportionment. Not necessarily a WRONG assumption, mind you, but as he himself notes, there’s lots of factors that can change that, not least of which is the state of the economy.
B. The race is “highly competitive.” Now, maybe that’s true, but I have to wonder, would Howard Dean be truly “highly competitive” in places like NM and PA? Isn’t it possible that someone perceived as very liberal (which he may not be, by 2004) might spark greater anti-Howard turnout?
Maybe the right thing for Sabato to do would be to have included a test case, of how someone farther out would do, to see if there’s a deep skew buried within.
I, for one, would be curious to see how Hilary would do against Dubya in such a match-up, but you could run it against, say, Sharpton, just to see whether you’d STILL wind up w/ a very, very close race.
The key for Bush in the next election is to do better in the upper midwest and rust belt than he did in 2000, when Gore won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Even with the current economy, I think that foreign policy could tip one or more of these states towards Bush in 2004. Any Democrat would have a difficult time winning without sweeping all six of them.
Larry Sabato has taken the lazy-man’s approach, and projected straight from 2000 election results to 2004. And his results reflect that stupidity. He has Bush losing to Graham and Edwards, candidates who cannot garner more than the margin of error in the Dem primary, for God’s sake! That is what happens when you live in the ivory tower.
Also I would not assume California is going to go Democrat, especially with Arnold running it now. It would be more accurate to paint CA as “highly contested.”
But Schwarzenegger is a much more moderate Republican; a part of the party that the RNC has steadily shifted away from.
Indeed, the Simon crowd in CA would seem to better exemplify the GOP in that state; and so long as that is the case, Dubya has a far worse chance.
Now, maybe Dubya will come across as a “compassionate conservative” again. But given the LA Times performance on Schwarzenegger (the MODERATE GOP guy), I think that SF and the LAT and the rest will be sure to portray Dubya as the closest reincarnation of Mussolini (or worse).
Sabatao’s match-up between the President and Dean tilts more like worst-case scenario for the President. Too bleak given the upticks in the economy that we have seen and that will continue. A couple of critiques:
Minnesota: “Probable to Dean”? Sabato totally dismisses/misses the recent shift in this state. Republicans have captured 1/2 the Legislature, the Governorship and one of the Senate slots. The other Senate slot has a weak and ineffectual Democrat – Mark Dayton. Indeed, with the passing of Senator Wellstone, the leading light for the Democrats is the combative AG Mike Hatch, who makes as many enemies as friends and can be marginalized by Pawlenty.
Florida/Nevada/Arkansas: I have to question the “highly competitive” label. I think these more likely to be “probable Bush” given the mid-term elections. The thing that hurts the Republicans in Nevada is lack of a challenger to Senator Reid. As for the other two, there will be a clean-sweep and re-emergence of the “solid South” for the President next year.
New Mexico: I simply don’t see conservative-values New Mexicans opting for Dean.
Oregon: I think Dean would play much better here.
California: DO NOT BE SO SURE! Schwarzenegger’s election changes everything for Bush. At a minimum, Dean will be forced to squander time and money on this recently reliable Democratic state. The trend is against Democrats in this state and will move it into the competitive category. Illegal immigration is the untapped and unspoken issue festering beneath the surface. The Bush Administration needs to break from the discredited notion of amnesty. Sure California has an enormous Mexican constituency. But how many are eligible to vote – and how many elibibles actually vote? Read Victor Davis Hanson’s book – Mexifornia – and the answer is “Not Many”.
Maryland: Again the trend is AGAINST the Democrats given the upset by the Republican Governor. A mistake to chalk it up as Dean probable.
On the other hand….
NM also voted in Richardson as its Governor, so it may be trad’l values, but not necessarily solidly so.
CA? Mebbe so. But I still think that unless the Prez can link up w/ Schwarzenegger (and Schwarzenegger, in turn, is seen as effective), CA stays Dem.
MD? Ehrlich’s had a rocky start, the state’s not got a good economy. Iffy, at best. 2002 was certainly a shot against the Dems, but now they’re on the outside, and if ’04 turns into an anti-incumbent year (which it might, but I doubt it), MD is likely to be very much in play (which is still better for Dubya than where Sabato put it, I think).