Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Map-Changing 2008?

Michael Barone is the most knowledgeable expert on voting patterns by congressional district in America today. Name a congressional district in any state in the USA and Barone can tell you the percentage of the vote by party, the current representative (and a few historical ones too), and several other things about that district's electorate. That's why it's interesting when Michael writes a column called "Throw Out The Maps in 2008."

It's his belief that the electoral vote this November may fall along much different lines than the 2000/2004 elections. I have been a believer, since McCain and Obama became the likely nominees about a month ago, that this could be a re-alignment election. On the R side you have a candidate who made his name by opposing his own party in ways and language he would never use against the opposition. His problems with the base are, for many voters, irreconcilable. On the D side you have a candidate who took on the Clinton machine and beat it soundly, not because of his positions, but just through soaring, albeit empty, rhetoric. Throw in the respective ages/ energy of the two nominees and you have a prescription for a blowout in favor of the "Hope and change! Yes, We can!" guy.

But, I'm not a believer that it will look radically different than 2000/ 2004 as long as it is essentially a 2 man race. With no Perot mucking things up I forecast around a 50-48-2 split in the popular vote. But in the electoral college I think Obama will win handily. He'll hold all of the Kerry 2004 states with the possible exception of New Hampshire. McCain will, on the other hand, lose the following states that GWB won in 2004: Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio and Colorado. Furthermore, Obama has a good chance of also adding Missouri, Nevada and Virginia to his column.
I wish this was not the case. I wish that the Republican Party had nominated a solid economic conservative. They didn't. Since they didn't, I suspect BHO will be the next POTUS.
Finally, unlike 2000 & 2004 Florida and Ohio will not be battleground/ swing states. McCain will carry Florida easily due mainly to the retiree vote and secondarily to overwhelming support from the Cuban-American voters. Ohio will go with Obama by a comfortable margin as the state of my birth falls deeper into the Michigan failure model.