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October 2008
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Electoral College: Ohio and West Virginia Stop Swinging

Three states change status today:

Ohio (20 ev): The prototypical swing state is no longer a swing state, as Obama’s lead in the last five poll average moves over 5% in Ohio. Ohio is now “Weak Obama”. Could the next poll knock it back down into swing state status? Sure. It is close to the boundary between the categories. But for now, Ohio goes blue.

Minnesota (10 ev): Obama’s lead moves over 10%, making Minnesota “Strong Obama” once again. It had been strong Obama up through mid-August, then got tighter until it was a swing state for a bit in September. Since then Obama’s lead has been climbing until now it is once again Strong Obama.

West Virginia (5 ev): After having had McCain’s lead weaken and becoming a “Lean McCain” swing state for most of October, McCain reopens the lead. Today his lead in the five poll average again goes over 5%, and West Virginia again turns red.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 297, McCain 241
Obama Best Case – Obama 378, McCain 160

If everybody gets their leans – 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So Obama’s best case isn’t quite as good as it was, and McCain’s best case gets worse as well. Of course, Ohio is 20 electoral votes and West Virginia is only 5, so Obama wins on this exchange.

Of course, McCain’s best case was already to lose. Today’s change just means his best case is to lose by even more.

If Ohio does not immediately switch back with the next polls, it looks as if the progress McCain looked like he was making in the last week or so may have been reversed. The line that represents Obama’s position with Strong+Weak states is now once again moving in Obama’s direction.

Meanwhile though, the “Strong Obama” line just keeps moving further in Obama’s direction. With ONLY HIS STRONG STATES Obama is now only 15 electoral college votes away from winning.

This may be a good time to point out that all the “Action” we have been talking about in these updates lately is related to the lines representing where Obama is WITHOUT ANY SWING STATES. The question we have been tracking is not if Obama is winning or losing, it is if he even needs any of the close states to do it. (And since October 3rd, the answer has been “no”.)

But if you look at the line that represents everybody getting every state they are even slightly ahead in… McCain has only been in the lead for ONE DAY since May 23rd. (He managed a tie for 8 additional days.)

This line, the actual who is ahead line, has not had any moves in McCain’s direction in OVER A MONTH. Since September 18th when McCain peaked, every single state that has actually had the lead switch has switched to Obama. Every single one.

This may change. Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada all have relatively slim Obama leads. But still… winning all of them seems like a big stretch. And even that would not be enough.

McCain has no time left.

The only questions at this point are about just how big Obama’s win will be, not if he wins.

Absent a catastrophic event that changes everything of course. Those do sometimes happen. But there are only 12 days left.