Elections, like hockey, take a few times to understand.... So here is my primer on what it will take for John Wayne McCain to win. Im an eternal optimist but the chances are grim.
GOAL: First candidate to 270 electoral college votes wins.
Electoral votes are assigned on a state by state basis and are mostly based on population. Most states are winner take all electoral votes. Hence, national polls make no difference in analyzing the race. Obama will crush in California, but even if wins by 1 or 1,000,000,000 votes he still get all 55 votes. Ditto for McCain in Texas, etc.
So only certain states are "in play"... The states that will decide the election are Ohio (20), Missouri (11)), WV (5), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Florida (27), Nevada (5), Indiana (11), and Colorado (9). Basically, McCain has to win all of these to pull it.
ASSUMPTIONS: I used the Yahoo state-by-state poll averages to make my assuption. A few states dont have polls but I hae done some research. My assumptions are as follows on the "no poll" states: (1) McCain wins Idaho, ND (although Obama is within 5%), SD (2) Obama wins Vermont, Hawaii, Maryland, DC. I should be right on all of these. ND could be close.
Of course, all this is based on the polls being accurate... I think they can only call landlines, etc... I have no idea how all the polling methods affect everything. So for the sport assume they are right..
ELECTION TODAY: Using these assumptions and current polls, Obama wins 364 to 174. If McCain wins all the states I listed above he would wins 274 to 260. So with out an upset in another state, he has to take 'em all. Yikes...
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?: Here are the current poll averages for the in plays...
- Indiana (49 to 45 - holding fairly steady)
- WV (48 to 46 - Very close, Obama closing a little)
- North Dakota (48 - 44), not a ton of polling)
- Ohio (49 - 46 - JMC has closed a little, turnout will determine)
- North Carolina (47 - 46 its been this close for 3 weeks)
- Virginia (52 - 44, it was 49 - 47 on October 4... JMC looks bad here)
- Florida (49 -46, McCain has gained 2 points in the last couple days, turnout...)
- Missouri (49 -47, It was tied 7 days ago... )
- Colorado (51 -45, McCain has been losing % even with economy, Obama has been just been gaining)
- Nevada (49 -45, JMC has dipped a point or two recently)
Washinton (9%), NM (9%, steady), Minnesota (9% points, if Minn. Gov. was VP choice may have been different), Wisconsin (10%, JMC was within 2 a month ago) , New Hampshire (10%, was within 1% a few weeks ago, but the state historically, loves JMC), Maine (7%, JMC actually gaining), Michigan (10%, JMC has no chance).
Minnesota for Virginia and JMC still wins. Besides that he'll need a small group of miracles if he loses Virgina.
CONCLUSION: I think McCain needs some serious help. If nothing changes (and the polls are correct), I say (with a heavy heart) Obama wins 302 (ish) - 236 (ish).