An Optimistic Analysis
Reading the blogs for an understanding of the prospects for November tends to be useless. Everyone has their biases. The hardcore Clinton supporters think Obama's completely unelectable, and the hardcore Obama supporters think he can coast to victory almost without trying. Two of the people whose opinions I most respect, right now, are digby and Steve. Digby has been firmly on the fence, throughout this campaign, and she is confident of an Obama victory. Steve was an early Clinton supporter, is now on the fence, and has been scathingly critical of both candidates and both campaigns. He also seems confident of an Obama victory. I side more with tristero, who thinks it's going to be very tight. As I am about all things in this presidential race (other than the need to end Republican rule, and scour the shrillosphere), I tend towards tepidness. I don't think Obama's at all unelectable, but I do think it's going to be a tough slog, and so viciously negative that it will finally provide some perspective to those who think Clinton's been fighting dirty.
At RealClearPolitics, Bob Beckel weighs in, with a response to Politico's David Paul Kuhn, who posited a possible big McCain win. Beckel disagrees. Just a bit.
To the contrary, I'm willing to go on the record saying that, barring an unforeseen scandal, a far more likely scenario is that John McCain will lose by at least 50 electoral votes in November - and possibly as many as 150.
The foundation of the McCain "blowout" scenario rests on the 286 electoral votes George Bush received in 2004. It assumes McCain would win New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota - all states won by John Kerry in 2004.
Beckel concedes New Hampshire, which has always been friendly to McCain, but then makes detailed demographic arguments on the other three states. I know some Obama supporters hate demographics, because they're too demographic or something, but they'll like Beckel's analysis. He believes Obama should be heavily favored in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota. But Beckel also sees many pick-up opportunies for Obama.
Iowa is a lock for Obama in November.
The Hispanic vote and McCain's weak stand on immigration reform could give Obama Colorado and New Mexico, with Bill Richardson helping with the latter. The economy and demographics should make Ohio a strong win, and demographics also make Virginia winnable. Beckel also thinks Obama has a shot in Florida, North Carolina, Montana, and even Georgia.
I'm not going to disagree with most of Beckel's analysis, but I'm also not convinced that he's right. Recent polls, and the negative campaign to come, leave me wary. Barring a unity ticket, I also see no chance for Obama in Florida. Even so, on many states, Beckel's talking actual numbers.
Ponder this: In 2004 the economy was strong, the Iraq war still marginally popular, Bush's favorability was near 50%, and voters were generally content. In 2008 the economy is in shambles, the war despised by most Americans, Bush has the highest negatives of any president since polling began, and the public, by an 80-20 margin, believes the country is on the wrong track.
Yes, there will be a blowout in November. But it won't be McCain's.
I still think it will be very tight, but it's a reassuring read.