I spent some time the past few days going over the Electoral Vote map and the latest polls for individual states. (There is a really good web feature at latimes.com where they allow you to see the polls by state and adjust which way the state goes to see an electoral vote total.)
Okay, remember, 270 electoral votes required to win. Okay, I would include the following in a list of Swing States: AR, IA, MN, WI, OH, PA, FL, NH and NM. (Other states that the media is considering close are as follows: OR, MI and ME which I have in Kerry's camp; and NV, CO, MO and WV which I have in Bush's camp.)
With this as a starting point - the electoral votes look as follows:
Bush - 221
Kerry - 207
Contested - 110
Here is an update on some of the latest polls in important battleground states:
State __________ Bush ___ Kerry
Arkansas (6) _______ 48 _____ 48 (Oct 18-20)
Iowa (7) __________ 48 _____ 47 (Oct 18-20)
Minnesota (10) _____ 48 _____ 48 (Oct 18-20)
Wisconsin (10) ______ 49 ____ 46 (Oct 17-19)
Ohio (20) _________ 46 _____ 50 (Oct 17-21)
Pennsylvania (21) ___ 46 _____ 48 (Oct 17-22)
Florida (27) _______ 46 _____ 46 (Oct 19-21)
New Hampshire (4) __ 41 _____ 50 (Oct 18-21)
New Mexico (5) _____ 46 _____ 48 (Oct 16-18)
A few interesting tidbits:
1. No Republican has ever won the Presidency without carrying Ohio.
2. If MN goes Bush, that is really a coup. MN is generally considered one of the more liberal states around.
3. WI is similar, while not as liberal, it is a generally progressive state that went Gore.
4. Interesting sidenote - CO has a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would split the electoral votes based on percentage of votes. CO is close - with Bush looking to pull out a win, but very close. The amendment could be retroactive if passed - thus if passed, the 9 electoral votes would be split 5 to 4. Currently, the amendment is losing in some fairly close polls.
5. Although the big battleground states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are absolutely of incredibly high priority - in my opinion several smaller states are going to provide interesting battles - and could decide the election. (In 2000, Florida was the focus, but I've always felt it more important to note that Gore could have lost Florida and still won the election by winning his home state of Tennessee and Clinton's home of Arkansas. Two small states, but they would have put him over the top.) In 2004, AR is again a completely over-looked swing state. There are very real scenarios where Kerry could lose Florida, but it he was to win AR, he could get over the top. Other smaller states with similar potential are New Mexico and New Hampshire.
Today the Candidates will be campaigning:
Bush - Wisconsin and Iowa
Cheney - Florida
Kerry - Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa
Edwards - Minnesota and Pennsylvania
And my Oct. 26 guess at which way the states will fall:
Kerry - MN, OH, PA, NH, NM
Bush - AR, IA, WI, FL
Bush 271 - 267 Kerry