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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Math

Hillary Clinton's argument to the Superdelegates is that she can win the general election and Obama can not. She says she'll carry the all important big states with the most electoral votes. Is this really true, or is there a way for Obama to show that he will actually win in November when Hillary can not?

To analyze this, I've decided to examine the last Presidential election and draw from the data of the voters that took part. As expected, Kerry took all the "typical" Democratic states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

When was the last time any of these states voted for the Republican nominee you ask?
California: 1988
Connecticut: 1988
Delaware: 1988
D.C.: Never (Since the passage of the 23rd Amendment D.C. has never voted for a Republican nominee)
Illinois: 1988
Maine: 1988
Massachusetts: 1984
Minnesota: 1972 (for Nixon of all people!)(apparently, once they did that the state took a collective vow to never vote Republican again)
New Hampshire: 2000
New Jersey:1988
New York: 1984
Oregon: 1984
Rhode Island:1984
Washington: 1984
Wisconsin: 1984

So with the exception of New Hampshire (who apparently learned their lesson after 2000), it has been at least 20 years since any of these states went with the Republican nominee. Unless Obama is more abhorrent than Dukakis or Mondale, it's a pretty safe bet these states will go his way in a general election, that the Democrats will be coming home to roost.

That gives him an electoral college vote count of: 251, the same as Kerry. The real question is which red states would Obama carry that Hillary would not? There are a total of 538 electoral college votes available. You need 270 to win. So where would Obama pick up the remaining 19 votes he would need to defeat John McCain?

New Mexico

In 2004, Bush won New Mexico by less than a percentage point, 49.84% to 49.05% over Kerry, winning by 5988 votes. However, you have to go back to 1988 to find the last time a Republican won New Mexico. Given Bill Richardson's endorsement, we'll give New Mexico to Obama. Net Electoral Votes: 5


In 2004, Bush won Iowa by less than a percentage point, 49.9% to 49.23% over Kerry, winning by 10059 votes. However, you have to go back to 1984 to find the last time a Republican won Iowa. Given the fact that Iowa gave Obama his big break, they're likely to come out and support him this time around. We'll give Iowa to Obama. Net Electoral Votes: 7


Here is where we see why Obama would win the general election and Hillary would not. The state voted for Clinton in 1992, but went against him in 1996. It voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004. However, in the latest Rasmussen Poll, Obama leads McCain 46% to 43% in Colorado. The same poll shows McCain beating Hillary 50% to 36%. Obama gets it. Net Electoral Votes: 8.

That gives us 20 electoral votes and Obama the Presidency.

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