How many Iowa counties will Obama win?

Swing State Project has become one of my favorite blogs this year. They publish so much detailed information and analysis about the Congressional races.

People also cross-post some fascinating work related to the presidential election.

Swing State Project user Mark wrote this piece about “Detailed County Predictions for the Presidential Race.” Click over to read his predictions for all 50 states. Here’s his take on Iowa:

Iowa–Even when narrowly losing Iowa, Kerry still won 32 of Iowa’s 99 counties.  If Obama is ahead by double digits this year, expect him to win the “Harkin coalition” of 60-some counties, essentially everywhere but the western two tiers of counties, and a few outlying GOP bastions.  Southern Iowa thinks and votes like conservative northern Missouri, so Obama may fall short in most of the territory south of Des Moines.  Still, it seems very unlikely that any of Iowa’s 32 Kerry counties will go McCain.

I take it as a given that Obama will not lose any county where John Kerry beat George W. Bush. Obama’s ground game is light-years ahead of Kerry’s, and the GOP ground troops are not nearly as motivated to GOTV for McCain as they were for Bush.

Obama is likely to win a lot more swing counties in central Iowa than Kerry did.

I wouldn’t rule out some surprises in the Republican counties either. McCain underperforms in rural Iowa because of his opposition to ethanol, and the fact that he bypassed the caucuses in 2000 and 2008.

If Democratic turnout is unusually high because of the massive Obama organization, and Republicans are demoralized, we may expect significantly diminished turnout in some of the conservative counties.

I’ve got a poll up after the jump where you can record your prediction about how many counties Obama will carry in Iowa. You can explain your predictions in the comments.

Bonus trivia question: In which Iowa county did George Bush and Al Gore tie before the absentee ballots were counted? (Gore won the absentee balloting in this county, 8-6.)

Don’t cheat by using Google! I will post the answer sometime tomorrow.

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