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October 2008
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Electoral College: Florida Goes Blue Again

Today Obama’s lead in Florida (according to my “last five polls” average) once again hits 5%. This moves Florida once again out of “Lean Obama” to “Weak Obama” and out of swing state territory. I caution though that Florida is RIGHT at the 5% line. Depending on the next polls, it could just as easily slip back into being a swing state as pull further away. It is right on the edge. But the trend on the overall charts remain clear. Obama’s strength continues to increase.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 304, McCain 234
Obama Best Case – Obama 380, McCain 158

If everybody gets their leans – 353 Obama, 185 McCain

So now even McCain’s best case has Obama getting over 300 electoral votes and winning by a 70 electoral vote margin. That is just… sad.

OK, I shouldn’t say that. Lets put this in historical context. If everybody gets their leans, Obama will win by 168 electoral votes. Here are the last ten elections in order by how big a margin the winner won by, with the hypothetical Obama lead in the place it would be.

#1) 1984 – Reagan beats Mondale by 512 electoral votes
#2) 1972 – Nixon beats McGovern by 503 electoral votes
#3) 1980 – Reagan beats Carter by 440 electoral votes
#4) 1988 – GHW Bush beats Dukakis by 315 electoral votes
#5) 1996 – Clinton beats Dole by 220 electoral votes
#6) 1992 – Clinton beats GHW Bush by 202 electoral votes
(Hypothetical) 2008 – Obama beats McCain by 168 electoral votes
#7) 1968 – Nixon beats Humphrey by 110 electoral votes (Wallace also got 46 electoral votes)
#8) 1976 – Carter beats Ford by 57 electoral votes
#9) 2004 – GW Bush beats Kerry by 35 electoral votes
#10) 2000 – GW Bush beats Gore by 5 electoral votes

So this LOOKS like a big margin, because we remember 2000 and 2004… the two closest elections in the last 40 years. But really, the average winning margin over the last 10 elections has been 240 electoral votes or so. The median is more like 211. So the margins we are seeing here are not really unusual in any way.

So McCain doesn’t have to feel like he is as big a loser as Mondale or McGovern.

More like as big a loser as GHW Bush or Humphrey. :-)