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October 2008

Electoral College: FL and OH Flip to Obama, Biggest Obama Lead So Far

OK, let me start here with my usual warning, and a little bit bigger and up front than normal. When states move from “Leaning” to one candidate, to “Leaning” to the other candidate… really either way the state is still very very close. Some random comment made by one candidate that gets traction could easily move the state right back where it was. The details of who turns out and who does not on election day could also easily flip the state the other way. “Leaning” states are TOO CLOSE TO CALL. They could flip back the other way very easily. Observers should not get too excited (or upset) when states move toward (or away from) their candidate on this metric. It is actually much more important when a state moves from “Leaning” to “Weak”, taking a state out of the realm of swing states.

Having said that… today in my last five poll averages… Florida (27 electoral votes) and Ohio (20 electoral votes) both flip over the line and move from “Leaning McCain” to “Leaning Obama”. This makes a HUGE difference in the “everybody gets their leans” metric.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – McCain 298, Obama 240
Obama Best Case – Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans – 348 Obama, 190 McCain

This means that even though just a few weeks ago we were showing a slight McCain win, right now we are looking at Obama winning with a 158 electoral vote margin. That might not quite be a landslide yet, but it is the largest Obama lead so far… by quite a bit. The trends in the last few weeks have not been kind to John McCain.

In terms of where Obama stands WITHOUT swing states, he is still not quite as strong as he was in July. But he now has eight states leaning in his direction that he can work on trying to pull further in his direction. If he can pull 30 more electoral votes from “Lean” to “Weak” then he won’t even need ANY swing states to win. Based on the current sizes of the leads in the states, and the number of electoral votes at stake, it looks like the quickest path to this would be pushing hard in Wisconsin and Florida.

McCain’s position is now looking very precarious. His attempts to take control in the race seem to have backfired. Will this mean that there will be even more “Hail Mary”‘s coming as he tries increasingly desperately to change the momentum of the race? Maybe so. But I suspect that actually calming down and trying to keep a more steady pace might be the better tactic for him. It may be too late for that though. We are running out of time.