RCP Electoral Count
Monday, October 11: Bush 264 - Kerry 220
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10/8: Updated Electoral Count Analysis
10/6: ME/CD2 - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 264 - Kerry 220)
10/6: PA - Toss Up >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 264 - Kerry 221)
10/6: OH - Leaning Bush >> Toss Up (Bush 264 - Kerry 200)
10/5: IA - Leaning Bush >> Toss Up (Bush 284 - Kerry 200)
9/30: PA - Leaning Kerry >> Toss Up (Bush 291 - Kerry 200)
9/26: PA - Toss Up >> Leaning Kerry (Bush 291 - Kerry 221)
9/23: IA - Toss Up >> Leaning Bush (Bush 291 - Kerry 200)

Solid Bush
Leaning Bush
Toss Up
Leaning Kerry
Solid Kerry
AL (9)
AR (6)
IA (7)
ME (3)
CA (55)
AK (3)
CO (9)
ME/CD2 (1)
MI (17)
CT (7)
AZ (10)
FL (27)
MN (10)
NJ (15)
DE (3)
GA (15)
MO (11)
NH (4)
PA (21)
HI (4)
ID (4)
NV (5)
NM (5)
WA (11)
IL (21)
IN (11)
NC (15)
OH (20)
MD (10)
KS (6)
WV (5)
OR (7)
MA (12)
KY (8)
WI (10)
NY (31)
LA (9)
RI (4)
MS (6)
VT (3)
MT (3)
DC (3)
NE (5)
ND (3)
OK (7)
SC (8)
SD (3)
TN (11)
TX (34)
UT (5)
VA (13)
WY (3)
Bush Total = 264
Toss Up = 54
Kerry Total = 220

UPDATE 10/8: Before 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.

It 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.

There 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.

Our 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.

On 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.

The 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.

Geography 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 to win.

President Bush 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.)

Scenario 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.

The 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.

The 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.

All 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.

Bottom 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.

(Pennsylvania 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.)

Battleground State Polls - RCP Average      
Poll | Date
Bush +3.5
Ohio | 9/25-10/6
Bush +1.6
Kerry +4.2
Kerry +2.7
Bush +4.0
Bush +5.3
Kerry +1
Kerry +0.7
Bush +4.8
Bush +3.2
Oregon | 9/19-9/27
Kerry +2.7
Bush +5.6
Kerry +2.5
Kerry +10.3
Kerry +6.5

2000 Results in 2004 EV's: After reapportionment, keeping the states the same as 2000 gives Bush 278 electoral votes and Kerry 260 electoral votes. 270 Electoral Votes are needed to win. So, in order to win Kerry has to flip 10 Electoral Votes and hold all of the Gore states. (Because ties are split by the House of Representatives Bush can probably win with 269 EVs)

In a simplified analysis, Bush has to win both FL and OH to win. Kerry simply has to win either FL or OH. If Kerry does not win either FL or OH, he has very little chance of becoming President.

Without one of these two states Kerry can get to 268/269 by winning NH and NV, but to get over 270 he will have to carry either WV or MO. It is hard to imagine Kerry losing OH, but winning MO or WV.

Bush needs to win both FL-27 and OH-20, but if he were to lose one of the two he has a small chance of picking up the lost EV's by winning some combination of either WI-10, NM-5, MN-10, IA-7 and OR-7 (and also denying Kerry pickups in NV and NH). Unlike Kerry's second-chance scenario, Bush could conceivably lose OH and still hold on to the Presidency by flipping WI and NM and holding on to NV

.If Kerry loses PA or MI he loses.

If Bush loses any one of AZ, CO, TN or AR he loses.

RCP Electoral Count
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