Thursday, July 17, 2008

Presidential Election Analysis

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With all the numbers flying around, it sometimes gets pretty hard to answer a simple question: What does Obama need to do to win the election?

But it's really not that difficult to answer if you make a simple assumption: If Obama loses Pennsylvania or Michigan, then Ohio is already a lost cause, and Obama has lost. (Which means McCain, if he was smart, would focus on PA and MI. Win either and he's home free).

But since Obama is improving his status in PA and MI, we have to assume he wins both. And with his other safe states, that gives him 252 Electoral Votes. So he needs 18 more Electoral Votes from the following states:

Colorado 9
Indiana 11
Iowa 7
Missouri 11
Nevada 5
New Mexico 5
Ohio 20
Virginia 13

So if he wins Ohio, he wins the election. (538 says Obama wins 99% of the time when winning OH/PA/MI).

But if he loses Ohio, here's where the "map expansion" comes into play. First, lets ignore Indiana and Missouri, because if he wins them, he's probably won enough other states to be over the top anyway. And lets give him Iowa, where's he's now up by 10 points, moving him to 259 EVs. So he needs 11 EVs from:

Colorado 9
Nevada 5
New Mexico 5
Virginia 13

Giving him NM leaves him 6 EVs short, so he would need CO or VA to win, and NV to tie.

Lose NM, and he needs 11 EVs from CO (9), NV (5) and VA (13).

So I think here's the combinations of states that will win for Obama:

1) Ohio
2) Iowa, New Mexico, and (Colorado or Virginia)
3) Iowa and Virginia or (Colorado and Nevada)

Let us know what you think.