Monday, November 01, 2004

The Moment For Which You've Been Waiting
I've seen a lot of people's election predictions lay out the scenario they expect to see unfold, holding you in suspense until their conclusion to see who they think will win. I'll start right from the beginning. The next President of the United States of America will be: the incumbent President George Walker Bush.

I'll confess that, all along, I've been feeling like this election would result in a landslide for Bush. This is not the result of reasoned deliberation, but rather a gut instinct based on my impression of the state of the nation, and the progression of this campaign. As I've discussed extensively, and has been reaffirmed by my two days here in New Hampshire, I think that Republicans view Bush as the man they want to lead, while Democrats think John Kerry is the man to replace the one they don't like. In this state of affairs, I think the people of this country will choose the positively defined support over the negatively defined alternative. I've also watched the narrowing of the field, and the slow increase in the President's approval ratings, and felt that the outcome will be like that of 1980, with a sudden surge of support for the President in the weekend before the election. I must admit that I've been out of touch with polling data for the past two days, and have only been able to muster a brief scan of recent developments. Still, I think that the surge is in the direction of the Republican candidate.

So, let's get down to it: the state-by-state predictions.

First, the givens:

 StateEC VotesStateEC Votes
7Kansas6New York31
8Kentucky8Rhode Island4
14North Carolina15  
15North Dakota3  
17South Carolina8  
18South Dakota3  

That makes 32 of 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 347 of 538 possible electoral votes, 270 needed to win. You'll notice that I've excluded a few that may not be considered swing states by the experts. This is because I've seen them switch around enough through the summer that I have, at one point or another, considered them in play. And then there's Maine, which, because of the unique way it apportions its electoral votes, I've decided to list separately.

Now, let's go through the remaining 18. I'll do this in alphabetical order, rather than order of importance:

Arizona: I think, though this state has been slightly in play, McCain's reelection, and the overall conservatism of the state will be enough to overpower the more Democratic Native American vote, holding victory for Bush. Prediction: Bush, 10 EC votes.

Colorado: I think Colorado will select Democrat Ken Salazar over Republican Pete Coors, but I attribute this to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates, rather than an indication of shifting voter preference. Colorado has long been a red state, and despite growing pockets of liberalism, particularly in the Denver area, I think this state remains in the President's column. Prediction: Bush, 9 EC votes.

Florida: As with four years ago, this state will come down to the wire. Overall, the Republican numbers overpower the Democrats in the state, and I think increased turnout in the northern areas, particularly among conservative Christians will carry the state. Prediction: Bush, 27 EC votes.

Hawaii: Gonna be an outlier on this one, but I think Hawaii will serve as an upset. Today's polling data seems to have Bush with a slight lead, and I read something this week about the gay marriage amendment actually winning support for Bush in that state. I think he'll take it. Prediction: Bush, 4 EC votes.

Iowa: I have no strong basis for this one, other than the fact that the way Iowa has been reversing itself in the polls, it seems likely that the President will get the right bump just in time for Election Day. Prediction: Bush, 7 EC votes.

Maine: As I mentioned above, Maine splits its electoral votes between the candidates, assuming one does not carry the entire state. I think it will split in this election, with Bush taking the 2nd Congressional District. Prediction: Bush, 1 EC vote, Kerry, 3 EC votes.

Michigan: I've been very excited the past few days, thinking I could tally Michigan in the Republican column. As I mentioned in a previous post Matthew Dowd's comments and my own observations have led me to conclude that this state is trending to the right. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll get there in time for this election. Prediction: Kerry, 17 EC votes.

Minnesota: My impression is that Minnesota is trending Republican as election day approaches, so I'm going to take a bit of risk here, and give it to Bush. Prediction: Bush, 10 EC votes.

Nevada: I'm slightly concerned about Nevada since John Kerry declared that Yucca Mountain would become the nation's nuclear waste storage site "over his dead body." I think, however, that the Nevada people will check his record on this issue, and notice that he has voted in its favor multiple times. It's an issue that usually buys Nevada voters, but I think they'll refuse to sell out in favor of the President. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.

New Hampshire: Based largely on my experiences today and yesterday with both traditional Republicans and swing voters alike, I think Kerry has chased off a large portion of the New Hampshire population. His numbers tanked this week, and then came back a bit, but I think he's trending back down again. I have to say, I think we won it for Bush. Prediction: Bush, 4 EC votes.

New Jersey: As much as I would have liked to see this state swing to the President, I think our gains here over the past few weeks will serve only to cushion Bush's popular vote lead. Prediction: Kerry, 15 EC votes.

New Mexico: This state has been behind Kerry for much of the campaign, but jumped over to Bush pretty solidly over the past few weeks. While it narrowed slightly over the weekend, I think it will stay in the President's column in the end. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.

Ohio: A big one, of course, that has been trending to Kerry for the past several weeks. Though I think it's job loss and struggling economy are more of a result of mismanagement and poor legislation at the state level, its people are likely to take out their frustration on the national level. At the same time, Ohioans, are conservative at the core. I think the new Bin Laden video, and overall security concerns will dominate this state, and hold it for the President, as it was three years ago. This is a bit of a risk, I know, but I'm going with it. Prediction: Bush, 20 EC votes.

Oregon: Oregon is a perpetual "possible swing state," but it never seems to break the trend and swing Republican. I think this one will continue in Kerry's column. Prediction: Kerry, 7 EC votes.

Pennsylvania: I think the Kerry campaign has spent a lot of resources and effort on Pennsylvania, and it's proximity to the Democratic stronghold of the Northeast combines with that fact to bring this pretty solidly in that direction. Prediction: Kerry, 21 EC votes.

Washington: Much like Oregon, Washington has often been classified as a swing state, but never seems to actually be one. I think this will also stay with Kerry. Prediction: Kerry, 11 EC votes.

West Virginia: For the past two weeks, West Virginia, which was already behind Bush, has been trending even further to the right. I think it will continue this trend and present a fairly strong showing for the President. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.

Wisconsin: Over the past few days, Wisconsin, which had been close, seems to be making jumps in Kerry's favor. I think it will hold and he will winn it on Election Day. Prediction: Kerry, 10 EC votes.

Now, in table form:
 StateEC VotesStateEC Votes
3Florida27New Jersey15
9New Hampshire4  
10New Mexico5  
12West Virginia5  

So what are our totals? I have Bush winning 34 states, and one district in Maine, and Kerry winning the remaining 15 states, D.C. and 3 districts in Maine.

More importantly, however, are the EC tallies. The winner, as I said above, is President Bush. According to my prediction, he will have 305 Electoral College votes to Kerry's 233. Yes, folks, in short, I'm predicting a landslide. I've felt all along in my gut that this is the way it would come out, so it's natural that with my inherent biases, this is what I'd come down to.

I leave you with an image of my expected electoral map:

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