Wargaming the Electoral College

The more I read the polls, the less I know. Fox says Bush by 7. NBC and Zogby claim a tie. ABC thinks Bush is up by a mere 5 points, CBS by 2, and CNN by 8. And none of the individual polls say anything close to the same thing two weeks in a row. Meantime, I’ve been futzing around with maps based on four-year-old assumptions.

Say it with me now: It’s all a bunch of crap.

The polls all suck, for reasons gone into by people way smarter than I am. The predictions all suck, because everybody is working from the same assumptions, based on voting patterns from the last election. In 2000, the world was as at peace as it ever is, the economy was still in the final giddy stages of a really good drunk (and I should know), and an untried George W. Bush was challenging a not-quite-human, not-quite-incumbent Al Gore for the White House.

All that has really very quite seriously changed.

We’re still suffering a post-bubble hangover (and I should know), the world is more at war than it has been since at least Vietnam, and a battle-weary Bush is facing off against Debate Machine John Kerry.

And yet everyone – myself included – still bases all their predictions on a tight race? I don’t know how this thing is going to pan out. Neither do you. But right now, I feel as though the electorate is going to play all of us pundits – amateur and professional – for fools.

So I present to you two entirely new Electoral College maps. . .

I’d wager that one of these is more likely than any of the crap I’ve peddled since I started this seriously back in August. I just don’t know which one.