Given the closeness of this election anything can change the course of events . With weeks left to go, the slightest happening can swing this election in either direction. It could be any one of the debates, or a candidate’s poorly chosen, off the cuff remark. It might be a deepening of economic concerns or an international event that rearranges the importance of topics. Barring any unexpected, dramatic, landscape altering events, I see this election being won by John McCain.
I have come to this conclusion based upon polling data and state trends, along with party affiliations, population shifts, the persuading factors among the electorate,an incremental leaning in direction of independent voters, my personal, political intuition and the cords that each campaign is striking in their messages. After factoring all this in, I believe that John McCain will win with a total of 274 electoral votes to Barack Obama’s 264 electoral votes. This 30 state victory is still too close for comfort and it relies heavily on winning the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. Of these 5 states I believe Missouri, Nevada and Colorado will be the most pivotal. None the less, if they go as I think they will, Senator McCain will be our next President.
However; in this scenario I think victory will come with great public protestation.
You see in this projection, I do believe that there exists a strong chance for McCain to win the electoral college but lose the popular vote.
The unprecedented enthusiasm of Barack Obama’s supporters is undeniable. To those, more liberal oriented voters, the newness of Obama is appealing and his presence on the political stage is fresh. Among these groups there is also deep resentment to all things and people that are Republican. Together these are powerful motivational forces behind their mobiliztion to vote. This all makes for an unusually energized base among Democrat voters. Add to this the fact that Barack Obama is the first African-American nominee of either political party and you have the opportunity for a higher than normal turnout of conventional Democrat voters. African-Americans traditionally vote the Democrat ticket and in the case of Barack Obama you can expect that most will do so in this election. In fact many black voters who previously felt disaffected and have not voted in past elections, will probably not let their ballot go to waste in this election.
This all indicates that Democrat strongholds like New York and other highly urbanized and traditionally liberal states will not only go blue for Obama but they will pump out unusually high and disproportionate pluralities for the Democrats. In doing so this may result in Barack Obama actually getting more popular votes than John McCain. The only problem is that these high pockets of concentrated Obama votes will not change the electoral college map. For example, if New York state produces a popular vote of 6 million for Obama and only 3 and half million for McCain, Obama will get New York’s 31 electoral votes, as expected, but it wont change the result in a state like Texas which has 34 electoral votes and is solidly behind McCain. In Texas however, the vote may not be as lopsided in McCain’s favor as it is for Barack Obama in New York. More accurately the Texas results may be more like five million for McCain to four and a half million for Obama.
I expect uneven results with larger popular votes for Obama in most all the states that he wins. McCain will win states with far smaller margins than Obama The only exception will be Utah, the most heavily Republican state in the union. In Utah, McCain will be the beneficiary of a very large differential between the two candidates. But, when all the ballots are counted, Obama will have accumulated more votes nationwide.
Even so, he will not have more electoral votes.
It is the scenario that I believe is most likely. In it, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada are most pivotal.
I am confident that McCain will win the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio and Florida. Other close races exist in Michigan and Pennsylvania but the unusually high turnout of liberal, urban, votes there will ultimately allow Obama to prevail in them.
New Hampshire is a question mark. Currently it is a relatively tight contest between McCain and Obama in the “Granite State”. With it’s state motto of “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire is usually the only reliably red state in a northeastern sea of blue, but an influx of population from neighboring urban centers like Boston, combined with their recent leftward shift and a race for United States Senate that poises to elect popular, former New Hampshire, Democrat, Governor Jeanne Shaheen, will all account for McCain losing this once red state.
With the outcome of most other states not in doubt, Missouri, Nevada, and Colorado are the only remaining states for McCain to realistically be able to reach and exceed the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. I may be going out on limb here but I believe that McCain will win them over. Colorado and Missouri may be especially close but the environment should allow the McCain/Palin ticket to pull it off. Nevada will be tight but the movement is in McCain’s direction.
Iowa, a neighbor of Obama’s home state of Illinios, is also going to be competetive. It went for the G.O.P. from ’68 to ’84. From ’88 to 2000 the Democratic nominee won Nevadans over. In 2004 they went back to the Republicans and voted for Bush. In this cycle, I see Obama’s regional advantage, ultimately winning the day.
This hypothesis is becoming increasingly likely and although, as a Republican, I will be pleased with having elected John McCain President and Sarah Palin Vice President, I and many other Americans will not be pleased by the reaction to the nation’s first potential African-American President losing the presidency after winning the popular vote.
Similiar events happened before. In distant as well as recent history, the loser of the popular vote has still won the presidency with the electoral college but it is rare and it has never happened under circumstances like this.
I will not venture into how the electorate will react if this happens now. I will let you ponder over the reaction. But I will offer you another very possible result. One that also has a clear winner of the popular vote but does not allow for a winner to be declared until early January of the New Year.
If Nevada goes to Barack Obama rather than John McCain, as I anticipate in the previous scenario, than we have a tie in the electoral college.
269 for Obama/Biden and 269 for McCain/Palin.
In this event, the newly elected congress will decide the election.
Each of the 50 states cast one vote for President and a majority of 26 states determines the winner. Which candidate they vote for is determined by a majority vote of their newly elected congressional representatives. Currently, Democrats comprise the majority of congressional representatives in 27 states while Republicans control 21 state delegations and two states are tied with their delegations split equally.
If this number does not change in the November election, than it is more than likely that Obama would win the votes of the 27 states possesing congressional delegations dominated by Democrats.
In this election cycle Republicans are not likely to win back enough congressional seats to overtake Democratic majorities in any of the 27 states in question. In fact, due to the current environment, a higher than usual number of retiring Republican incumbents in addition to Obama’s, anticipated high voter turnout, Republicans will probably be losing a few seats.
This still does not assure Obama victory though. There are conservative oriented Democrat representatives who might choose to vote for McCain. These are politcians and this is Washington, D.C. where many wheeler dealers thrive and can always be swayed by the offer of the right appointment to the right position or are willing to throw principles overboard for that “special favor”. This possibility exists especially in several southern states where the difference between the majority of congressional representatives is quite slim.
Still it is unlikely that there would be enough defectors to sway more than one or two democrat dominated states to vote Republican.
The close contest for President of the United States could hinge on the slightest nuance during these last few weeks but the way I see it McCain will win with 274 electoral votes but Obama will lose after winning a majority of the popular vote. It is my hope that most Americans choose McCain and that he wins the majority of both the electoral college and popular vote, but the very real potential for the former looms over us.
Below are maps that depict the best electoral vote totals that both candidates could potentialy receive if circumstances were at the absolute best for one candidate or the other in the current environment. Both are highly unlikely: