by Charlie Leck
I had lunch today with one of the leading politicos in the state of Minnesota. He knows his stuff. I know that because he’s a proven commodity. He understands the trends in our state completely. He’s very good on national trends also. I told him that over 50 readers have asked me to give them regular reports on what the polls are saying. He was pretty amazed at that number. I had my reader-tracking figures with me for overall blog visits. When he saw the blog was holding steady at 5,000 regular visits per week, he was even more surprised. He promised to start reading.
He’s not too trustful of the polls this year. He thinks a lot of funny-business is going on in both campaigns; however, he concedes that the real figures are now starting to come in. The bounce from the conventions is over. The first debate is history. One can begin to get some real readings.
“Don’t forget that this is not a national election,” he told me. “This is a state by state affair. You have to look at the powerful states and see what is happening. You may hear that Obama is ahead by 5, 6 or 7 points nationally, but if he is behind in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, he’s got a problem.”
“So, how does it look state by state?”
He pulled a big file folder out of his tattered brief case.
“Let’s begin at home,” he mumbled.
“It’s very close here,” he said. “My figures indicate Obama would win tomorrow if the election were held tomorrow. Hold it next week and it might be different. He appears to have a two point lead here. His campaign claims a very large, organized youth vote that is not being polled.”
“What about that?”
“I believe them. I’ve seen the phenomenon before – many years ago – and it’s more acute now with this wireless generation. However, we have to take the Obama folks’ word for the numbers. They claim it’s in the thousands in Minnesota – and millions nation-wide. We won’t know about that until we wake up on that Wednesday morning in November.”
“So, how about the other states you mentioned. Where is he?”
“McCain has about a two point margin in Ohio. No Democrat has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio. It’s worth watching. Yet, Obama has a significant lead in Michigan and a whopping lead in Pennsylvania. That’s significant. One needs to figure out why. It may be key. Obama will lose big in most of the south – by huge margins in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. Yet, here’s what surprises me. There is a strong feeling he will win in North Carolina. That would be big. If he does, he might be able to lose Florida and still win. Obama is very strong in California and he should win there without question. He’ll win big in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. So, we’re coming down to Ohio and the western states. If Obama can win a few states the Democrats don’t ordinarily carry, he’ll win. Forget Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas. He’ll lose them big but they don’t count for much. He’ll lose Arizona big and win New Mexico big. So, it comes down to Washington, Oregon and Colorado. Colorado is a really key state in this election. It really is! Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Ohio and Florida, are the states to watch. It’s in Washington and Oregon that this big, unpolled number of voters is vast. The polls won’t show it, but I think he’ll win big there. Colorado is tough to figure out. Obama will get killed in rural areas. Will the university towns and Denver come through big for him? Key question!”
I looked at him carefully. He was in deep concentration.
“So,” I asked him, “where are we?”
“We are down to two states! Surprise, surprise, surpise! Can you guess which two I’m talking about.”
I ventured an answer.
“Yup,” he said, “you got it! Florida and Ohio. At the moment, McCain has a one-point lead in each of those states. If that holds, it means Obama’s uncounted, silent army of young supporters is needed for him to win.”
I waved at the waiter and asked him to bring another martini for my oracle. It came quickly.
“So, we just sit through the morning of November 5th and wait for the count?”
“Yup,” he said, “and it will be very close. Sound familiar? Ohio and Florida!”
There may be more than you want to know in the following list my friend put together for me, but it’s here if you want to go on.
To review, these states are
locks for Senator McCain:
The following appear to be
locks for Senator Obama
The following states have close races and will be
considered battleground territory:
Colorado (dead even as of this date)
Connecticut (leaning toward Obama, but Lieberman will campaign for McCain)
Florida (very close)
Iowa (leaning toward Obama)
Michigan (leaning toward Obama)
Minnesota (dead even)
Missouri (dead even)
Nevada (very close)
New Hampshire (leaning toward McCain)
New Mexico (leaning toward Obama)
North Carolina (slight, surprising lean toward Obama)
Ohio (very close)
Virginia (leaning toward Obama)
Washington (leaning toward Obama)
Wisconsin (significant lean toward Obama)