RWN’s Predictions For The Presidential Race

State: Arizona
Electoral Votes: 10
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +3.5
My Analysis: Likely Republican Retention (90/10)

State: Montana
Electoral Votes: 3
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?:
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +3.8
My Analysis: Likely Republican Retention (90/10)

State: Georgia
Electoral Votes: 15
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +4.0
My Analysis: Leaning McCain (75/25)

State: North Carolina
Electoral Votes: 15
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +0.6
My Analysis: Slightly leaning McCain (60/40)

State: Indiana
Electoral Votes: 11
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +1.4
My Analysis: Slightly leaning McCain (60/40)

State: Florida
Electoral Votes: 27
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +1.8
My Analysis: Toss-up (50/50)

State: Ohio
Electoral Votes: 20
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +3.2
My Analysis: Toss-up (50/50)

State: Missouri
Electoral Votes: 11
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: McCain +0.5
My Analysis: Toss-up (50/50)

State: Colorado
Electoral Votes: 9
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +5.5
My Analysis: Leaning Obama (75/25)

State: Virginia
Electoral Votes: 13
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +4.3
My Analysis: Leaning Obama (75/25)

State: Minnesota
Electoral Votes: 10
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Kerry
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +9.8
My Analysis: Leaning Obama (75/25)

State: Nevada
Electoral Votes: 5
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +6.2
My Analysis: Likely Democratic Pick-up (90/10)

State: New Mexico
Electoral Votes: 5
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +7.3
My Analysis: Likely Democratic Pick-Up (90/10)

State: Iowa
Electoral Votes: 7
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Bush
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +15.3
My Analysis: Likely Democratic Pick-up (90/10)

State: Pennsylvania
Electoral Votes: 21
Bush Or Kerry in 2004?: Kerry
Latest RCP poll spread: Obama +7.6
My Analysis: Likely Democratic Retention (90/10)

Obama’s Safe States: 221
McCain’s Safe States: 135
Toss-up: 182

Obama’s path to victory: If he takes all the gimmie states and Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, and Nevada, where he is extremely likely to win, he’s at 259. If he also wins the states he’s 75% likely to take, he’s at 291 — and that’s without the 50/50 states that could go his way — like Missouri, Florida, and Ohio.

McCain’s path to victory: McCain would need to win everywhere he has at least a 50/50 shot of victory and then he would need to pull off some upsets. In other words, he would have to win Arizona, Montana, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, & Missouri. That would get him to 247. Then he could conceivably win by picking up Virginia and Minnesota, which would be extraordinarily difficult.

If he doesn’t pull that off, it gets even tougher because he would have to eke out victories in states Obama has a 90% chance of winning to make the numbers work.

Electoral vote estimate: Because there are 3 states that have 58 electoral votes between them that could swing either way (and that’s assuming McCain takes North Carolina & Indiana, which isn’t a sure thing), it’s very difficult to make a final call on the electoral vote count.

But, my best guess is that McCain wins Florida and Missouri, while Obama wins Ohio. That would put the final count at Obama (311) vs. McCain (227) — but that may turn out to be too optimistic…

PS: A few key things to watch for:

6:00 PM EST: Polls close in Indiana. This is essentially a must win state for McCain. If he goes down to defeat here, it’s hard to see how he makes it up later in the night.

7:00 PM EST: Polls close in Florida and Virginia. Florida is a must win for McCain. If he loses Florida, it’s over. Conceivably, McCain could survive a loss in Virginia, but it makes it more difficult for him.

7:30 PM EST: Polls close in Ohio and North Carolina. These are both must win states for McCain. Again, if he loses either state it’s probably lights out for him.

8:00 PM EST: The polls close in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Both these states are likely to go Obama and conceivably, McCain could win without them, although it would be difficult.

A good night for Obama: If Obama wins Indiana, North Carolina, or Florida, he’s going to run up the score. If he wins more than one of those states, it’s going to be a blowout.

A good night for McCain: If McCain wins the key states in the 6-8 PM EST time slots by a larger margin than expected, it could be an indication he’s on track to shock the world. For example, if he won North Carolina 55-45, took Virginia, or got up to 53%-54% in Florida or Ohio, it could be an indication that he’s significantly outperforming his poll numbers and could very well surprise Obama in states like Colorado, Minnesota, and Nevada.

Update #1: My final prediction on percentage of the national vote: Obama 52% vs. McCain 47%.

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