Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Obama Squeaker - Obama's Best Chance at Re-Election



Obama concedes that he cannot replicate his spectacular success of the 2008 campaign.  In that campaign Barack Obama decisively got 10 million more Americans to vote for him over his opponent.  He carried 28 states – six more than his opponent and won 365 electoral votes.  He won 95 more electoral votes than the 270 votes to win.  Clearly his campaign optimized the mood of the country and through his rhetoric shaped it.

The biggest hurdle that Obama must overcome is his record.  If the President had a record, he could be proud of he could capitalize on his gains.  He could hold the states he won in 2008 and pick up more states much like Ronald Reagan did in 1984.  That 50 state campaign strategy is now a fantasy.  Ever since the 2010 Congressional elections, where the Tea Party picked up more than 80 seats in the House and 3 shy of controlling the Senate, the repudiation of the Obama mandate has humbled even the proudest zealots within his administration.

Obama is on defense. 

But Obama’s defensive position looks very good.  To win again, he would need to retain all the states that Vice President Al Gore retained in the 2000 election plus two or three battleground states.  Those states are:

Wisconsin
10
Pennsylvania
20
Oregon
7
New Mexico
5
New Jersey
14
Minnesota
10
Michigan
16
Iowa
6
Maine
4
Washington
12
Maryland
10
Connecticut
7
New York
29
Rhode Island
4
Vermont
3
Delaware
3
Massachusetts
11
California
55
DC
3
Hawaii
4
Illinois
20

253

253 electoral votes is very good. But it is 13 electoral votes from what it was when Gore campaigned.  He won 266 electoral votes.  Since the last census Blue states are bleeding voters who migrate to economically freer red states.  Obama needs 17 more electoral votes to win re-election. 

The battleground states are:

New Mexico
5
Nevada
6
Colorado
9
New Hampshire
4
Virginia
13
North Carolina
15
Florida
29
Indiana
11
Ohio
18
At stake
110

With 110 electoral votes at stake, if Obama retains all these states or any combination of these states that are more than 17 electoral votes, he wins re-election.

What about the Republican Party?  Let’s assume that the Republican challenger retains all the McCain states of 2008.  They are:

Alabama
9
Kentucky
8
Arkansas
6
West Virginia
5
Kansas
6
Oklahoma
6
Utah
6
Idaho
3
Montana
3
North Dakota
3
Wyoming
3
Texas
38
Georgia
16
Tennessee
11
Missouri
10
South Carolina
9
Louisiana
8
Mississippi
6
Arizona
11
Nebraska
6
Alaska
3
South Dakota
3

179

The unknown Republican challenger retains 179 electoral votes.  That is 6 more than Senator McCain won due to more voters moving to red states.    This unknown Republican challenger would need to win 91 or most of the battleground states.  Remember these battleground states went for Mr. Obama by majorities of over 50%.

Obama has an abysmal economic track record and sagging popularity numbers.  His job approval numbers hit 38% for the first time in his Presidency.  Only Jimmy Carter was lower at 31% at this point in his President.  When a President is below 50%, his re-election chances statistically and historically are against him.  But President Obama has the power of incumbency.  He also has an enormous fundraising war chest.  He will have plenty of money to energize his base and disparage his opponent in a weak attempt to persuade the American people to give him another chance.

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