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Wargaming the Electoral College

November 2nd, 2012 - 10:51 am

Here they are, the final battlegrounds as determined by a combination of poll-watching, and tracking the candidates and their surrogates.

No surprises here for longtime VodkaPundit readers — but not a whole lot of information, either. So let’s dig a little deeper and see how the remaining battlegrounds stack up on the Momentum Chart.

Remember, states Obama won in 2008 are in blue text, and states McCain won are in red.

Oops. No red. MO was the last holdout (IN and NC were the first to go) and it’s dropped off since last week. In fact, it’s looking increasingly likely that Todd Akin will end up beating Claire McCaskill. He’s still the underdog, but MO is going Big Red. Of course, if he wins, then the GOP will spend the next six years flinching every time he starts to speak — but that’s the price you pay for craptaculent candidates.

Anyway. The battlegrounds are now exclusively in Obama ’08 states. That’s Mittmentum.

I’m still pretty sure Romney will take ME-02, giving him one of ME’s four EC votes, for a safe total of 207. He has another 55 in leaners, giving him a decent grasp on 262. But that’s eight shy of 270 — Romney needs at least OH or WI out of the Tie column to win.

Obama has more safe votes with 216, but his leaners are far weaker at just 26, for a smaller cushion of 242. He needs OH and WI to go blue.

Let’s see if we can get a better measure of Mittmentum by setting the Wayback Machine for October 3, 2008.

Here’s how I pegged things four years ago.

As I wrote then, “As things stand now, Obama cruises to victory by winning any tossup state other than NV. McCain must win every tossup state other than NV.” Of course, Obama went on to sweep every single one of the battleground states, then tacked on IN for good measure.

Let’s see how those battlegrounds looked on the Momentum Chart, with Bush 2004 states in red and Kerry states in blue.

Just four years ago, every battleground was a red state, several of which Bush had won by comfortable margins in ’04 — and not one of them by my measure was a McCain leaner. Obama pushed deep into the red zone. But he couldn’t hold them.

Today, five of those six battlegrounds are battlegrounds again today, plus IA, NH, PA, and WI — with NC pretty comfortably red.

What do the numbers look like?

If we retroactively count IN ’08 as a battleground, then Romney has already taken two blue states and 26 EC votes. He’s put 119 more Obama votes in play. Obama has put no red states in play. Not one. On our October, 2008 map, Obama had put “just” 100 red votes into play.

Now, Obama ’08 had a much larger cushion — he was sitting on an insurmountable lead of 264 EC votes going into Election Day. Romney doesn’t have that luxury with just 207. But what Romney has done is to dig just as deeply into Obama’s 2008 totals as Obama dug into Bush’s 2004 numbers.

In the event that Romney sweeps through the battlegrounds, he wins 322 to 216. If he goes on to equal Obama’s feat of dragging along an unlikely blue state (say, MN), that drives his total up to 332 and Obama down to a bargain-basement 206.

With this kind of a sweep, there’s even an outside chance of CT, MI, or OR coming along for a ride on the Red Express.

Likely? Hahahahahahahaha, no. But the Momentum Charts show that it is possible. They also show that Obama has, in just four years, pissed away every single gain he and his party had made in the wake of the Great Recession and the Republican meltdown. We’re fighting on his turf now.

Even if Obama wins next week, his legacy is one of great potential that was instantly squandered.

Update: I’m also on PJTV’s Trifecta, discussing, Electoral College Predictions: What Will the Final Numbers Be?

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