Re: The 2008 Electoral College
Sorry this is long but here it goes,
He is winning in every poll I've seen in Colorado and Iowa and is often leading in New Mexico and Nevada. He substantially outperforms her in all of these states. If he wins three of those four states then he wins the election. And this is during probably the weakest period of his campaign. His numbers will only improve because the issues with Wright, etc. will become somewhat old news.
In addition, what your scenario fails to point out is that Hillary does have a real problem holding onto some states Kerry wins. In fact between the two of them what I've seen is that they both would lose New Hampshire at this point (although I don't think this is likely) and she loses Wisconsin. So she actually starts behind in states won by Kerry. While Obama runs slightly worse than she does in Pennsylvania, she runs worse than him in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, etc. They both have states, and I would argue she has more states, that they will have to defend in the general so that argument is a wash.
Second to assume that Hillary is a lock to win Arkansas or Ohio I think is very presumptuous. Arkansas has become rather Republican in recent presidential elections, and it presumes people will think of her as their own. Ohio also has a conservative bent. I think she certainly could win those states and probably is the favorite but she will need to spend significant resources in both places to pull off a victory in either state.
Now onto Obama, Obama performs substantially better west of the Mississippi than she does. I think this primarily has to do with the ethnic makeup of whites in those states. They tend not to be the tradtional white ethnic "minorities" such as Italians or Irish who don't have a history of racial tension and seem much more willing to vote for an African-American candidate than the white working class in the East. In addition, people are presuming that because the white working class in Eastern states are voting for Hillary means they won't vote for Obama in the general which I don't necessarily think is the case.
In addition, luckily for Obama, the poor demographics for him in states in the Northeast are often offset by the number of upscale liberals or African-Americans that will allow him to win the Northeastern states without the majority of the vote of the white working class. The early polling that showed him somewhat struggling in Northeastern states has evaporated as recent reputable polling companies such as Rasmussen have shown him opening up double digit general election leads in states like New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Also, he keeps things closer in Virginia and North Carolina and will force McCain to compete here probably because of the substantial African-American population coupled with the highly educated white populations in Northern Virginia and the Research Triangle respectively.
So while Hillary certainly is a formidable candidate and would probably be favored in the general election using the old Democratic map and picking up Ohio, he actually has more options than she does at expanding the map and picking up votes in places Democrats have been historically very weak. Just look at the single digit margins in states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and the allocated CD's in Nebraska. While he may not win these states it will force the Republicans to spend resources in states they won't want to so that he can hold onto Pennsylvania while picking up the states like Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico.
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