Here’s how I’ve been (wishfully) thinking about the election the last couple days. In 2004 the electoral map looked like this:

Kerry won 252 electoral votes. Obama needs 270 to win.

It’s hardly a stretch to suppose Obama will carry all the states Kerry did. Of these, New Hampshire is the “swing state,” and it’s been polling ~6+ points ahead for Obama. (McCain is currently throwing himself into the long-shot Pennsylvania. But his strategy will probably fail; Obama’s polling as much as 10 pts ahead there.)

Forget these “battleground” states for a moment: OH, FL, CO, NM, NC. Look just at two states that Bush won:

Iowa: 7 electoral votes

Virginia: 13 electoral votes

In Iowa, Obama is polling around ~12+ pts ahead. That’s ahead even of NH, and everyone is calling it for Obama. That gives him 259 EVs.

In Virginia, Obama is polling ~6-10 pts ahead. A tighter race, certainly. But McCain has been steadily losing ground there, and many in the media are about ready to call it for Obama.

At the very least, right now I am predicting that this election is won in Virginia. Obama will still likely win one or several or all of OH, FL, CO, NM, NC, even MO. But all he has to do is take Iowa (a relative gimme), and VA, totally within reach.

Another way of putting this is that Obama can fairly easily win 259. All he needs is 11 more from somewhere. And there are a lot of very good chance possibilities for this: VA, CO, NM in the top, then FL, OH, NC, MO down the list. Those are pretty good odds.

That’s my current psychological consolation.

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