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October 2008
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Electoral College: Georgia on my Mind (and Virginia)

Polls in a full 24 states today, but only changes in two… one good news for McCain, one good news for Obama.

Georgia (15 ev): McCain’s lead in Georgia, which one month ago was almost 15%, has now fallen below 5%. This means Georgia is now “Lean McCain” and moves into the world of a swing state. McCain is still ahead, but it is within reach of Obama. Obama had targeted this state earlier in the campaign, but then pulled out when it seemed he was making no traction there and McCain would hold his lead. That lead has now evaporated, and Obama is putting resources back in the state. Could it actually tip to Obama? Maybe.

Virginia (13 ev): Obama’s lead seemed to peak just under 8% a little over a week ago. Polls since then have shown weakening, and today Obama’s lead falls below 5%, putting Virginia back into swing state status. This puts it once again within reach for McCain. If the trend of the last few days in Virginia holds, McCain could pull the state back into his column before the election.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 284, McCain 254
Obama Best Case – Obama 393, McCain 145

If everybody gets their leans – 364 Obama, 174 McCain

So, as usual, McCain’s best case after winning all of the states that are currently close, would still be to lose by 30 electoral votes. Having Virginia as possible does make his best case loss not quite as bad a loss as without it of course.

Meanwhile, Obama’s best case is now fully within landslide territory. Not everybody agrees on exactly what a landslide is, but one definition is getting over 375 electoral votes, and we’re certainly there in Obama’s best case. Even the “everybody gets their leans” is close to that mark.

If McCain manages to pull Ohio back to being competitive, he would have a potential path for victory. He would need to win all the states he is currently ahead in, plus Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio. That would be a long and hard path, but it is his only path right now.

Of course, he’s spending his time and money in Pennsylvania instead. You could potentially substitute Pennsylvania for Ohio in the scenario above and have almost the same math, but he is much farther behind in Pennsylvania than he is in Ohio at the moment. So who knows what he is thinking.