Impossible not to talk politics now. So let’s look at the electoral map. It’s hard to see how McCain can pull this one out. Even Ohio + Florida don’t seem to give him enough, assuming:
- Obama sweeps New England and the lower northeast
NY 31 + NJ 15 + MA 12 + MD 10 + CT 7 + ME 4 + NH 4 + RI 4 + VT 3 + DC 3 + DE 3 = 96EV
- In the rust belt, Obama takes PA 21 + MI 17 = 38EV
- Obama sweeps the north central states
IL 21 + WI 10 + MN 10 + IA 7 = 48EV
- In the mountains and southwest, Obama takes CO 9 + NM 5 = 14EV
- Obama sweeps the Pacific states
CA 55 +WA 11 +OR 7 +HI 4 = 77EV
Those states give 96+38+48+14+77 = 273EV
All of them look pretty strong for him right now. Even if he has losses among this group he could make up the electoral votes from the pool of swing states that includes FL 27, OH 20, NC 15, MO 11, NV 5 = 78EV
No wonder the McCain campaign is going for the hail mary. They need to hold all of the states I haven’t mentioned, take both FL and OH, pull at least one state from the Obama column listed above, plus pull additional states if they have any losses among the NC, MO, NV group, or indeed in any other states.
It’s likely we will see more attempts by the McCain campaign or its supporters to exploits racial fears especially in the southern seaboard states, where McCain needs to wrest VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL into his column by hook or by crook.
Obama needs to watch his back among the states I’ve counted for him (such as in NH, PA, MN, CO, NM) and keep the pressure on in FL, OH, NC, and other swing states. By all accounts he has a strong ground game, and if McCain goes into November in this same position, as seems likely, Obama had better have a lot of sharp people watching for chicanery at the polls, which will be McCain’s last shot at sneaking in.
We will probably see a lot of dirty tricks and many legal challenges related to polling in this election.