How Obama Gets to 270 Electoral Votes

As the primary race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton moves on, the question of electability will become more and more important. 

This moring at Century of the Common Iowan, I took a look at the 2008 electoral map.  Using these numbers, Obama would be at 259 electoral votes by adding up the states that are strong democratic, likely democratic, and lean democratic. 

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Maine (4 electoral votes*): Lean Democratic
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Michigan (17 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Minnesota (10 electoral votes): Lean Democratic
Oregon (7 electoral votes): LeanDemocratic
New Hampshire (4 electoral votes): Likely Democratic
Washington (11 electoral votes): Likely Democratic

Obama would then need to win 21 more electoral votes to get to 270 and win the election.  Here are the states that are the article considered as toss ups…

Colorado (9 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Virginia (13 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Missouri (11 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Ohio (20 electoral votes): Toss-Up
New Mexico (5 electoral votes): Toss-Up
Iowa (7 electoral votes): Toss-Up

Obama losing Ohio this week has brought some to question if Obama will be able to win Ohio.

By looking at recent poll numbers in these states, Obama would be able to win the nomination without winning Ohio and Florida.

Iowa (7 electoral votes)

Des Moines Register poll on 2/24
Obama 53%
McCain 36%

Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 51%
McCain 41%

Rasmussen on 2/21
Obama 44%
McCain 41%

New Mexico (5 electoral votes)

Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 55%
McCain 40%

Colorado (9 electoral votes)

Rassmussen on 2/13
Obama 46%
McCain 39%

Virginia (13 electoral votes)

Survey USA poll on 2/19
Obama 51%
McCain 45%

Rasmussen on 2/21
Obama 44%
McCain 49%

Missouri (11 electoral votes)

Survey USA on 2/19
Obama 49%
McCain 43%

Rassmussen on 2/13
Obama 40%
McCain 42%

These poll numbers suggest that Obama would win Iowa (7), Colorado (9), and New Mexico (5).  This would give Obama exactly 270 electoral votes. 

Obama could still pick up more electoral votes elsewhere. Obama is polling even or slightly ahead of McCain in Virginia, Missouri, and Ohio.  In Virginia it looks like Mark Warner will win the Senate race easily and this could help Obama win the state.  I wouldn't write off Ohio either.  The economy will  be a huge issue this election and McCain has even admitted that the economy is a weak issue for his campaign. Obama could win Nevada, where a recent poll had him up by 12%.

It might be true that McCain runs closer to Obama than Clinton in Ohio and Florida.  The point to remember that Obama's has the ability to win the nomination without winning these states by being more competitive in many other states.

Obama would expand the map and be more competitive in Red States, including Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, West Virginia, and maybe even an electoral vote from Nebraska.

From DailyKos

And if nothing else, Obama would help close the margin in a lot of Red states, forcing cash-strapped Republicans to play defense across something closer to a 50-state strategy than the inevitable 18-state strategy we'll see out of Clinton … And yes, running tighter in Red states matters. Not only does it build toward the future (the 50-state strategy, of course), but it certainly matters to Democrats running down the ticket.

When you force Republicans to play defense in more areas and couple that with Obama's ability to raise money and the Republicans difficulty raising money this year, Obama might be able to pull out victories (or help pick up Senate and House seats) in red states that have been considered longshots in recent years.

UPDATE from desmoinesdem: Jonathan Singer has a good post here about Survey USA's electoral vote projections for Obama and Clinton against McCain.


Tags: Barack Obama

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  • you take Pennsylvania and Michigan as lean Democratic

    which I am not willing to do just yet.

    But it is reassuring to see a scenario for Obama getting to 270 electoral votes without Florida or Ohio.

    • If the econ is still an issue in Nov

      then I definitely put those two in leaning dem.  McCain is attempting to make this a security issue only election and he’s dead in the water if econ is big.