One Week Out.
Since publishing part 1 of this series after the conclusion of both party conventions, a lot has happened. Since that post, gas prices have plummeted. Since that post, the Dow has dropped over 2000 points. Since that post, a handfull of banks have failed. Since that post, the housing crisis has deepened. More people are in foreclosure than ever before.
People have a tendency to vote based on how they feel in the wallet. When things take a nosedive in an election cycle, you usually see a massive shift towards whichever party is not perceived to be in control. Think Carter/Reagan in 1980. Think Bush/Clinton in 1992.
So, things aren’t looking nearly as good for my boy John McCain as they were only a few short weeks ago. That being said, it is remarkable that he’s not in a double digit deficit on average. Today’s RCP shows a 7.2 percent race, down from an 8 point race a few days ago. Still, Democratic and Republican strategists alike all agree that the numbers are inflated and a general consensus suggests a 3 to 5 point race overall. This, keep in mind, is in ‘the year of the Dems’. The political waters couldn’t be better for the Democratic party and AGAIN I stress to you that Barack Obama is underperforming his brand name. A generic ballot Dem/Republican race without any names on the ballot still leads the Democrat to a safe 10.2 percent victory. Obama has underperformed without fail all season.
Still, under current conditions and without a game changer, Barack Obama looks to squeek out a victory on election day. Here comes the Drawnlines Blog official predictions, one week out from election day:
Ohio: Obama continues to poll at a 4 point lead, but I have faith in GOP get-out-the-vote organization there as well as a high number of undecided voters breaking for McCain. Also, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed McCain a few days ago and he should have a strong showing across southern Ohio as well as in the Columbus suburbs. It’ll be close, but I think he’ll squeek through.
Florida: Obama’s RCP count – massive. Early voting lines – around the building. Still the numbers are fairly even, with the Democrats just pulling ahead today in early voting if you combine returning absentee ballots in combination with in-person early voters. I put my absentee ballot in the mail today, and I’m a registered Democrat voting for McCain, so the estimations will show me as a vote returned for Obama until my ballot is actually opened and counted. One thing to always consider in Florida is that the panhandle – a Republican stronghold – has a massive amount of precincts in Central Time, and those precincts are open an entire hour longer than the penninsular part of the state. So, if Obama isn’t ahead by several thousand votes by closing time on the East Coast, it’s still in play. If McCain is ahead at all by that time, it’s definitely over. After everything is counted, I honestly believe McCain will nose out Obama.
Virginia: Well… yikes. Virginia has trended extremely blue in the past few weeks, and I’m surprised that it’s tipped in Obama’s favor as much as it has. Turnout in Northern Virginia for Obama should be massive, and 2006 reminds us that those late-returning precincts could easily deliver the state home and into the Dems column.
Michigan: The wheels really flew off that wagon, didn’t they? But you gotta know when to hold em and when to fold em. There’s no way McCain was going to overcome the economic problems facing that state in the face of our latest economic downturn. The shift has been overwhelmingly toward Obama, and no amount of money or time was going to fix it.
Missouri: Gotta have faith. Obama narrowly nosed out Clinton 49% to 48% by driving up massive margins of victory in St Louis and Kansas City, but losing almost everywhere else. Can he pull off the same in the general election? Let’s hope not. This true bellweather state should theoretically come home for McCain – yes, still.
North Carolina: What a surprise shift! If the Republicans lose North Carolina, they don’t deserve the white house. This is a red state among red states. The metrics should be in McCain’s favor big time. Yet, Obama has managed to climb ahead of him in recent weeks – though by extremely narrow margins. Will undecided voters bring home this red state? Most likely. I’m counting on it.
Colorado and New Mexico are off the table now. The economic trends should deliver Obama a clear victory.
Nevada: I’m still keeping my fingers crossed here, because this is considered a red state, but there’s no doubt about it – hispanics are moving over to Obama at alarming rates. It’s gonna be close!
Finally, Pennsylvania: McCain is pushing hard in this state, and he honestly thinks he’s got a winning strategy to shift this oft-desired blue state into the Republican column. Bush wasn’t able to do it in 2000 or in 2004, despite a great ground game and spending plenty of money and time there. McCain thinks he can outperform Bush in the Philly suburbs full of moderate Republicans and in Pittsburgh, but I don’t see how he can run up nearly the margins Bush did in the so-called “T” of central and northern PA. Then again, it’s widely held that Obama won’t come close to Kerry’s 412,000 vote margin of victory in Philadelphia County, so we might see a fair fight after all. Will Pennsylvanians remember the awful treatment they got from Obama in April? I’m guessing not, and not counting on their electoral votes at the end of the day.
Final: So, after all the votes come in and are counted and recounted, we get a much different outcome if the race were held tomorrow rather than after the conventions. After careful consideration and my best shot at an objective analysis, here it is:
Unless we see a huge shift in the next week, Obama can keep measuring the curtains in the Oval Office. He’ll be moving in soon. Yikes!