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Fun With (Electoral) Math!

DR commented awhile ago on the merits of a nonsouthern strategy in 2004. A key point was that, while such a strategy should not be dogmatically pursued, it makes general sense as a way for Democrats to approach the electoral map in 2004.

But why take DR’s word for it? Now you too can see the virtues of a nonsouthern strategy by making your very own run at an electoral targeting strategy.

It’s simple. Take a list of the states with their EVs. Now assign the states you think are appropriate to “safe Bush” and “safe Dem” categories. The ones left over are the ones you think are in play.

Break down the states in play by region and decide where Democrats should concentrate their efforts to have the best chance of getting to 270 and beyond. And there you have it: your strategy and very likely a variant on a nonsouthern strategy.

People might reasonably say, “but, DR, making up categories and lists like that is a big hassle; who wants to do that?” No problem! The good folks at John Edwards’ presidential campaign provide an interactive electoral map that makes your calculations easy and allows you to map out your strategy state-by-state. Or, if you prefer a list format, Dave Leip’s wonderful election atlas provides a page where you can allocate states to Republicans, Democrats and toss-up and calculate and re-calculate electoral vote totals as you do so.

Need data to help you think through which states go where? You can find past presidential election results down to the county level at Leip’s election atlas. And you can find much useful current data on potential swing states at DavidNYC’s swing state project blog.

OK, that should keep people busy until we reconvene after Thanksgiving. See you then.


Taking the 2000 results and adding Arizona does the trick, though I think we can do better than that.

By the way, don't forget about the electoral calculator at the Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com). It has the states morphed so that their area is proportional to their electoral votes.

so little needed... so little...

this (http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/29879) discussion at Metafilter just shows how that message, that very little needs to tilt for the election to go to a Democrat, hasn't been getting out. If I were on one of the candidates' staffs, I'd tell them to start saying that publicly, that little needs to happen so that Bush gets defeated.

Louisiana has recently elected a Democratic governor, and has 2 Democratic senators. Why write this state off? If Dems win Louisiana, the electoral votes are tied.

Ditto on Terry above. Blue/Gore states plus any of the following: Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado, or, of course, Florida. It really gets ugly for Rs if the Democrat can compete, maybe win, Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana or Arkansas (Wes Clark might be decisive here).

The real problem here is that Bush could increase his margin of defeat in the Blue states from 2000 while increasing his margin of victory in the Red states and wind up winning another electoral victory, but this time losing the popular vote by 3.5-4 million (maybe as much as 5% of the ballots cast.) This could happen if Bush gets clobbered in CA, NY and IL, as he almost certainly will. Really, what do you do then, if the Dem wins an outright popular majority and we still have to watch a second Bush term?

It seems that there are quite a few scenerios where the electoral vote could end in a tie. The Democratic candidate could easily win New Hampshire and the news of the steel tariff could push West Virgina back to the democrats. Picking up those to states would result in a tie.