the first debate President Bush had settled into a 5-6
six point lead in the race as measured by the RCP Poll
Average. Since the debate, the national polls have tightened
considerably and heading into the second debate tonight
the RCP Average shows President
Bush holding a small 1-2 point lead.
is only logical that we are now seeing Kerry's movement
in the national polls carrying over into the first post-debate
polls at the state
level. This tightening of the race prompted us on Tuesday
to move Iowa from Leaning Bush to a Toss Up, and on
Wednesday to move
Ohio from Leaning Bush to a Toss Up and Pennsylvania from
Toss Up to Leaning Kerry.
is no question that the situation for Senator Kerry has
improved dramatically in the last week. From an Electoral
Vote standpoint, however, he is still facing an uphill battle.
earlier analysis suggesting
that the race basically boils down to Florida and Ohio stands.
However, it looks as if the aftermath of the hurricanes
may have given President Bush a decisive edge there, so
in reality it is now all about Ohio. If Kerry doesn't win
Ohio he will not be President.
balance, President Bush still holds the better Electoral
hand because the evidence is massing that he has successfully
moved Wisconsin into his column. Because of the very real
potential to win Wisconsin, Bush can now lose Ohio and still
have a reasonable chance for victory.
Ohio/Wisconsin swap garners Kerry 10 Electoral Votes and,
using the 2000 results as a template taking into account
reapportionment, that would leave Kerry the winner, 270-268.
Because the U.S House of Representatives splits all ties
in the Electoral College, Bush likely only needs 269 votes
to be reelected.
more than anything else gives Kerry the slight advantage
in New Hampshire which moves the Electoral tally to Kerry
274 - Bush 264. So if Bush does lose Ohio, but brings in
Wisconsin, he will have to swing FIVE Electoral Votes
has four different scenarios through which he could gain
these votes. The best bet right now looks to be Iowa's 7
Electoral Votes where two post-debate
polls show Kerry ahead by one, and a Democratic post-debate
poll shows Bush up 3. (Minnesota is also a possibility,
but the truth is if Minnesota goes for Bush, Iowa will already
be in the President's column.)
number two is to win New Mexico's 5 Electoral Votes. Right
now, the post-debate polls there show a dead heat, Gallup
shows Bush up 3 while the Albuquerque Journal has
Kerry ahead by 3.
next target is New Hampshire's 4 Electoral Votes and the
1 Electoral Vote available if the President can carry Maine's
2nd Congressional district. Post-debate NH
polls show Kerry ahead slightly and a post-debate poll
in Maine shows Kerry would win the state, but if the election
were held today Bush
would probably pick up 1 Electoral Vote by winning CD2.
last shot for the President to grab those needed 5 EV's
comes from Oregon, though in all likelihood if President
Bush ends up in a position where he needs Oregon's Electoral
Votes to get reelected, it probably won't happen.
of these different options depend on the President holding
on to the rest of his 2000 states, which in this type of
election scenario seems likely, though Nevada could be the
one state where Kerry could steal back those 5 Electoral
Votes. The one post-debate poll there shows Bush
leading by 4.
line: Kerry has effectively used the first debate to get
himself back in the game, but he continues to remain at
a structural disadvantage in the Electoral College. The
quartet of Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico could be
where this election is decided. If Bush does have a hold
on Wisconsin, then even if Senator Kerry wins Ohio, he will
also have to win both Iowa and New Mexico
to deny Bush four more years.
and Florida are must wins for Kerry and Bush respectively,
a Bush loss in Florida or a Kerry loss in Pennsylvania means
the election is over.)