Ivan's Blog

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Saturday, October 23, 2004
Politics--- I have been following the presidential race and politics in general very closely. The best web site to visit to see the current status of various battleground states and/or national polls is without a doubt RealClearPolitics.com, which surpasses all other sites in its usefulness and clarity because it averages all of the recent poll results for any given state (and also doesn't count polls conducted by partisan Republican or Democratic polling firms).

A simple example of how the RCP Averages work would be Washington State, where there are two recent state polls, one of which has Kerry up by eight points and one of which has Kerry up by seven points. So, the RCP Average is that Kerry is leading Washington State by 7.5. It gets more complicated in other states like Wisconsin where recent polls have Bush up by six, Bush up by one, Kerry up by one, and two ties, thus creating the average that Bush is up by 1.2 in Wisconsin if you average all of the recent polls.

As far as RCP is concerned, Bush is ahead in the electoral college, 234 to 211, in states that both candidates have locked up pretty comfortably, and that's if you outright give Pennsylvania to Kerry and give Iowa and West Virginia to Bush.

The remaining battleground states are Florida, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and the state that the election could very well come down to: Ohio. If you look at the RCP Averages, Bush has very slim leads in Florida (RCP Average has him up by 1.0), New Mexico (1.5), and Wisconsin (1.2), while Kerry has very slim leads in Michigan (2.5), Minnesota (1.3), and New Hampshire (0.7). Amazingly, the average of seven recent polls in Ohio has Bush and Kerry exactly tied with 47.4 percent of the vote going to each of them.

So, as of Saturday, October 23, if you take into account all of the RCP Averages in swing states, Bush is ahead in the electoral college, 276 to 242 (270 electoral votes are needed to become president). This statistic does not give either candidate Ohio's 20 electoral votes since the state is exactly tied, but as of right now Kerry could win Ohio and still lose in the electoral college, 276 to 262.

A couple of factors to consider are the fact that Kerry is screwed if he loses Michigan or Minnesota, where he has been expected to win all along and where his lead continues to narrow. On the same token, Bush cannot afford to lose Florida, where he has been ahead in the polls for months but is currently only ahead by 1.0 in the RCP Average.

One mind-boggling scenario to consider is that if everything stays the way it is right now in the RCP Poll Averages, except Bush wins Ohio and Kerry wins Florida, the electoral vote would be exactly tied at 269 to 269. I'm pretty sure there's a law that if the electoral college ends up tied at 269, Ross Perot becomes president, but I could be mistaken...