POLITICAL observations & opinions

* MSNBC final map: Obama 286 to 157 with 95 toss-up electoral votes

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 2, 2008

*** Our Final Map: With two days before Election Day, the final NBC News map shows Obama remaining above the 270 electoral-vote mark, with a 286-157 lead over McCain. Last week, Obama held a 286-163 advantage. Our changes: We moved Montana and North Dakota (which has same-day voter registration) from Lean McCain to Toss-up. In addition, we moved Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey (the latter of which we should have moved a couple of weeks ago) from Lean Obama to Likely Obama. So here’s where we stand:
Likely Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA, WI (227 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: CO, IA, NH, NM, PA, VA (59 votes)
Toss-up: FL, IN, MO, MT, NV, NC, ND, OH (95 votes)
Lean McCain: AZ, GA, NE 02, SD, WV (24 votes)
Likely McCain: AL, AK, AR, ID, KS, KY, LA, MS, NE (the rest of the state), OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, WY (133 votes)

*** Good News And Bad News: Our new map comes at the same time as the release of a final round of Mason-Dixon polls, and they contain both good news and bad news for the candidates. The numbers: Obama is ahead five points in Colorado (49%-44%), two in Florida (47%-45%), four in Nevada (47%-43%), and three points in Virginia (47%-44%). Meanwhile, McCain is up one in Missouri (47%-46%), three in North Carolina (49%-46%), and two in Ohio (47%-45%). The good news for Obama — and bad news for McCain — is that if Obama holds on to his leads in CO, FL, NV, and VA, he’s going to easily win on Tuesday, racking up well over 300 electoral votes. But the bad news for Obama — and good news for McCain — is that Obama is below 50% in all of these polls. And if undecideds break decisively for McCain, that’s how he would pull off the upset. But if the 2004 presidential contest taught us anything, it’s that turnout sometimes is more important than undecided voters. In our final NBC/WSJ poll before the 2004 election, Bush held a one-point lead over Kerry, 48%-47%. And there was the assumption that undecideds breaking for the challenger over the incumbent would propel Kerry to victory. But that didn’t happen. By the way, our final NBC/WSJ poll comes out first thing tomorrow morning.

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