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Category Archive for ‘electoral ratings’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'electoral ratings' Category


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Eleventh presidential ratings: Obama consolidates electoral college lead

A week after Obama surged to a dominant position, the ratings remain relatively stable, with only one state shifting in or out of a candidate’s column. There is movement under the surface, however, as McCain’s base continues to erode while Obama solidifies his hold on a number of states; a total of 26 electoral votes move from the lean Obama to the likely Obama column, giving the Democratic nominee a base of 260 electoral votes.

In my September 20th ratings - posted exactly a month ago - 18 states were listed in a competitive category (lean or toss-up). Of these, not a single one is today in a more favorable category for McCain but fourteen have shifted towards Obama. In fact, 8 of these states are no longer competitive at all - and they now all belong to the Democratic nominee. They have been replaced by four new red states that were solidly anchored in McCain’s column a month ago and are now considered competitive.

What better way to illustrate how much the electoral map has shifted towards Obama over the past month, and how most of these changes will not be erased no matter how much McCain closes the gap in the final 16 days. Unless some major event turns the campaign on its head, Michigan or Iowa, for instance, are now out of contention.

This also illustrates how narrow McCain’s electoral strategy has become: He needs to sweep nearly all of the 14 states currently rated as competitive, including all three red states that are in the Obama column. That is no small feat, and it is revealing of just how much Obama is command. That said, there is a reason these states are still listed as competitive: they could go either way, and a slight wind pushing McCain over the final two weeks could help him accomplish that.

Without further delay, here are the eleventh electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed towards Obama are colored blue, those whose ratings have been changed towards McCain are colored red):

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming (116 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Arizona, Arkansas, Nebraska’s 1st district, South Dakota (20 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Georgia, Montana, Nebraska’s 2nd district, West Virginia (24 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (65 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Virginia (53 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Maine (at-large + 1st district + 2nd district), Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin (107 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (153 EVs)

This gives us the following map and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 260 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 313
  • Toss-up: 65
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 160
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 136

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Alaska, likely McCain to safe McCain: Like in other red states Obama had been eying, McCain jumped to a commanding lead in Alaska in the aftermath of the GOP convention and of the Palin pick. Unlike in some of these other red states (say, North Dakota and Montana), McCain’s surge has not faded over the past month. The Sarah Palin effect is strong, and it appears to have put Alaska’s once-promising 3 electoral out of Obama’s reach for good. In fact, the GOP’s recovery is so pronounced that it could very well save Sen. Stevens and Rep. Young.

Arkansas, safe McCain to likely McCain: Arkansas is very rarely polled, but perhaps there would be some interesting results to be found. The state remains heavily Democratic, though it is made up of conservative Democrats who vote GOP in federal races. Obama was not expected to do well among conservative Democrats and blue-collar voters, but the startling finding that he is competitive in West Virginia means that he is making inroads in the type of constituency that could help close the gap in Arkansas.

Maine’s 2nd district, lean Obama to likely Obama: Despite a week of GOP advertisement and a visit by Sarah Palin, the GOP does not appear satisfied with the odds of snatching away one of Maine’s four electoral votes, as we learned this week that the RNC is moving out just as quickly as it moved in to help protect red states. The McCain campaign is staying on the state’s airwaves but a recent Research 2000 poll showing Obama with large leads in both districts and statewide suggest that the RNC’s pull-out was a wise decision.

Minnesota, lean Obama to likely Obama:  On paper, Minnesota should not have been have been as vulnerable as neighboring Wisconsin or Michigan, but the polls here tightened more than in other blue states throughout August and September. But a sign of Democratic confidence came from the two campaigns’ expenditures: Minnesota is the only state in which Obama let McCain outspend him by significant amounts, signaling that he believed Minnesota remained solidly anchored in his camp. Now, Obama is matching McCain’s spending (another sign of Democratic confidence given that Obama is outspending his opponent by massive amounts in every other battleground state but Iowa), and polls are reflecting the state’s return to its Democratic roots. Obama leads by double-digits in CNN/Time, Research 2000, Star Tribune, Quinnipiac… Even SUSA now has Obama leading outside of the margin of error. Do I need to say anything else?

New Mexico, lean Obama to likely Obama: New Mexico was the second red state to move to the Obama column - and it did so early. In fact, Obama started enjoying double-digit leads in New Mexico polls well before he did in blue states like Minnesota or Michigan. One significant factor has been Obama’s strength among Hispanics; when it was still believed (back in primary season) that Obama might have problems among that group, it looked like the Southwest could be promising territory for McCain. But it will be hard for the Republican to stay competitive in the state unless he can perform at Bush’s level among Latinos - and every indicator suggests that he is underperforming.

North Dakota, likely McCain to toss-up: Three successive polls released over the past week have found an Obama lead or an exact tie in a state that Democrats abandoned in mid-September, after McCain’s post-convention surged appeared to put North Dakota and the rest of the Mountain West out of contention. With 15 days to go until Election Day, there is increasing speculation that Obama is looking to put resources in the state in a last-minute bid to recapture its electoral votes - and polls indicate that would be a wise decision. One interesting fact about this state is that it does not have any voter registration: any one who has lived in a precinct for the past 30 days can show up and cast a ballot.

South Dakota, safe McCain to likely McCain: The latest polls from the state find a large lead for the Republican nominee, but we have had no result since mid-September. Since then, Obama has made gains in the Mountain West, and it is unlikely that he has been able to tie the race in Montana and North Dakota without also making some inroads in South Dakota.

Wisconsin, lean Obama to likely Obama:  Among the tightest states of the 2000 and 2004 contests, Wisconsin does not look like it will be decided in the early hours of the morning this year. In fact, the Badger State never emerged as a true battleground this year; only during a brief patch in mid-September did Obama’s lead descend in the mid single-digits - certainly nothing to be panicked about. Since then, Obama has recaptured a double-digit lead, and while Quinnipiac’s 17% margin might be overstating his advantage, but the Univ. of Wisconsin, SUSA, or Research 2000 aren’t that far off. And we got confirmation of the fact that Wisconsin is no longer in the top-tier of competitive races when the RNC’s independent expenditure arm pulled out of Wisconsin this week; it had been airing ads in the state since its very first wave of expenditures back in June.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • October 20th: + 153 Obama (313 for Obama [153 safe, 107 likely, 53 lean] and 160 for McCain [116 safe, 20 likely, 24 lean])
  • October 12th: + 150 Obama (313 for Obama [153 safe, 81 likely, 79 lean] and 163 for McCain [122 safe, 17 likely, 24 lean])
  • September 27th: + 55 Obama (239 for Obama [154 safe, 43 likely, 42 lean] and 174 for McCain [122 safe, 38 likely, 14 lean])
  • September 20th: +6 Obama (222 for Obama [154 safe, 19 likely, 49 lean] and 216 for McCain [119 safe, 41 likely, 56 lean])
  • August 31st: + 16 Obama (243 for Obama [154 safe, 29 likely, 60 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • August 20th: + 14 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 32 likely, 55 lean] and 224 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 30th: + 38 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 42 likely, 45 lean] and 200 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 35 lean])
  • July 16th: +28 Obama (255 for Obama [150 safe, 43 likely, 62 lean] and 227 for McCain [90 safe, 78 likely, 59 lean])
  • July 2rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Seventh electoral ratings: Veepstakes have little immediate impact

This is not Wednesday - the usual day of my presidential ratings - but considering that the week ahead is supposed to that of the Republican convention, we will have enough to talk about then. Consider this a special veepstakes edition. McCain and Obama had an opportunity to reshape the electoral map with their vice-presidential pick. For Democrats, choosing Kaine, Bayh, Richardson could have boosted his chances in key battleground states; for Republicans, Romney would have helped in Michigan and Pawlenty could have sufficed to transform Minnesota into a toss-up.

Instead, both candidates chose a pick from states with 3 electoral vote - one of which was considered a swing state (Alaska), the other was not (Delaware). Thus, the veepstakes’ only immediate impact is to move Alaska out of the toss-up column. Democrats would surely point out that Biden solidifies Obama’s claim on Pennsylvania (the Keystone State was already rated lean Obama in my previous ratings). The Obama campaign is playing up Biden’s roots in Scranton, PA (even airing an ad only in northeastern Pennsylvania) and is hoping Biden can help among blue-collar voters who voted for Clinton on April 22nd.

Beyond this home-state phenomenon, it is very much possible Palin and Biden’s impact will be felt in some states with more strength than others. If Biden helps Obama among blue-collar whites, that could be significant not only in PA but in places like Ohio and Virginia; if he helps him with older voters by adding gravitas to the ticket, look to Florida as a place numbers could move. Meanwhile, if Palin helps McCain among undecided women, that could be particularly important in the suburbs of Pennsylvania and Michigan; if she boosts his conservative credentials, Republican turnout in conservative regions of the Midwest and the parts of the South that are contested could increase; and if she makes him look more libertarian, she could prove a boost in Western states like Montana, North Dakota and even Colorado.

For now, most states are remaining in their place, and the latest polling supports this stability. The latest from Pennsylvania continue to show Obama with a consistent edge while Ohio and Virginia surveys are among the tightest in the country. As for Florida, McCain was ahead in seven of the eight polls released in August (Obama was leading by 1% in the eight). Stability also reigns in Colorado, where polls have stabilized and find both candidates in the lead after months of Obama holding a clear lead. Results in Michigan, New Hampshire and Minnesota, meanwhile, are finding Obama ahead but by widely differing margins.

I have moved New Mexico and Indiana’s ratings this month, however. Both states were very rarely polled, but we three and two polls from these states over the past two weeks. Combined with what we know about the two campaign’s ad investments and ground game, that is enough for a change.

Without further delay, here are the sixth electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed are in bold). Remember that states that are in the “lean” category are still considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested, but it is possible to say that one candidate has a slight edge at this time.

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming (90 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), South Dakota, Texas (64 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota (73 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia (68 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (60 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Maine (at-large, 2nd district), New Jersey, Washington (29 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine’s 1st district, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (154 EVs)

This gives us the following map and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 183 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 243
  • Toss-up: 68
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 227
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 154

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Alaska, toss-up to lean McCain: To everyone’s surprise, the Obama campaign had included Alaska in its list of 18 targeted states and was airing ads in this traditionally Republican state. That was paying off in the polls, as Obama had taken the lead for the first time in a survey released mid-August; Obama trailed in low-to-mid single digits in most other surveys. But Sarah Palin joining the Republican ticket makes the state even more of an uphill battle than it was before. The state’s Governor has extremely high approval ratings (80% in a recent poll) and will Alaska voters reject this opportunity for one of their own to be on a winning ticket for the first time? That said, I am only moving this to the lean column for now, because Republicans still have much to fear in Alaska in the coming weeks (the local press will focus on corruption, Ted Stevens’ scandal and troopergate) and because the Obama campaign has said that it will continue airing ads in the state. But odds that Alaska move to the likely column are much higher than its migrating back to toss-up.

Delaware, likely Obama to safe Obama: Do I really have to explain why?

Indiana, likely McCain to lean McCain: Obama did not pick Evan Bayh as his running mate, depriving himself of a sure boost in the Hoosier state, but he has been airing ads in this red state for months now. McCain has yet to invest any money here. Despite this, I had left Indiana in the likely McCain column because of the lack of evidence and polling data to support Democratic confidence. A poll back in June showed a toss-up, but the GOP deserves the benefit of the doubt in a state Bush carried by more than 20% in 2004. But two polls released in the past two weeks have shown McCain leading by only 4% and 6%. Combined with the fact that one side is organizing in the state while the other is not, this is enough to move the state to a competitive category.

New Mexico, toss-up to lean Obama: After a summer of few polls, the last two weeks have brought us three, with widely differing results. While CNN found Obama leading by 13% and Rasmussen by 6%, Mason Dixon surprised by giving McCain his first lead in the state since April (4%). However, the CNN and Rasmussen numbers are more in line with other information coming from the state. For one, Obama’s hold on the Latino vote is much stronger than was expected earlier in the general election, as most polls are showing him over-performing Kerry’s showing among Hispanics. That will have obvious consequences in New Mexico, where Kerry only got 56% of the Latino vote.

Second, the Obama campaign is  spreading its wings across the state into rural areas that Dems have neglected in the past. The Obama campaign has 17 campaign offices in the state, versus 1 for the McCain campaign (plus 5 by the RNC). Finally, most of the McCain campaign’s recent offense have been aimed at firing up the conservative base (the Palin choice) or appealing to blue-collar white voters. While both could have an impact nationally, it looks like the McCain campaign is more committed to climbing back in a state like Michigan, which is why MI remains in the toss-up column while NM is now out of it.

That said, New Mexico is certainly more tenuous a “lean Obama” state than any of the others in that category, but it is very much parallel to Florida - a state that could make its way back to the toss-up group in a heartbeat and where polling finds is not that consistent.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • August 31st: + 16 Obama (243 for Obama [154 safe, 29 likely, 60 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean]
  • August 20th: + 14 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 32 likely, 55 lean] and 224 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean]
  • July 30th: + 38 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 42 likely, 45 lean] and 200 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 35 lean]
  • July 16th: +28 Obama (255 for Obama [150 safe, 43 likely, 62 lean] and 227 for McCain [90 safe, 78 likely, 59 lean]
  • July 2rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Sixth presidential ratings: Late-summer tightening shrinks Obama’s lead to 14 EVs

Three weeks is a long time in presidential politics, and what a change there has been since my fifth presidential ratings. It is one thing to over-react to every single poll, drawing unwarranted conclusions for even the smallest trendlines. It is quite another to take a look at the accumulation of polling data released since the beginning of August that shows John McCain gaining on Barack Obama and erasing much of the lead that the Democrat had built.

That applies to national polls (the latest Quinnipiac, NBC, CBS/New York Times, Bloomberg/LA Times, Gallup and Zogby polls have McCain gaining and even taking the lead, with some big swings) and also to state surveys. McCain has led in all five Florida polls released since the last ratings; he has also gained in Colorado and Minnesota. Quite logically, Obama’s advantage in the electoral ratings today is down to 14 electoral votes - the smallest margin since July 2nd.

In the next 15 days, the race will go through a complete upheaval. We will know the two vice-presidential nominees and the two parties will have gone through their convention. Starting on September 5th, it will be a whole new ballgame, but here is the situation at the end of the summer - and it is not a pretty one for either candidate. Obama has lost ground and is seeing his favorability numbers crumble; McCain has had as great a run as he could have hoped for and he is still trailing his rival - narrowly, sure, but this was the last stretch in which McCain could hope to remain on par with Obama financially.

What electoral path should Obama privilege in the weeks ahead? There seem to be two roads to the White House for the Illinois Senator. Assuming that Iowa returns to its Democratic roots (and it looks to be more solidly blue than many of the 2004 Kerry states), either one of the Florida/Ohio/Virginia/North Carolina would be enough to get Obama to the White House, even if he loses New Hampshire. If he loses all four of these larger states, Plan B would be compiling 10 electoral votes in the smaller Western states Obama is contesting (Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, Montana, Nebraska’s 2nd…). Of course, a loss in Michigan would complicate everything and could go a long way towards opening the doors of the White House to John McCain.

Without further delay, here are the sixth electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed are in bold). Remember that states that are in the “lean” category are still considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested, but it is possible to say that one candidate has a slight edge at this time.

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming (90 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), South Dakota, Texas (75 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Florida, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota (59 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia (76 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (55 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Delaware, Maine (at-large, 2nd district), New Jersey, Washington (32 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine’s 1st district, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (151 EVs)

This gives us the following map and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 183 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 238
  • Toss-up: 76
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 224
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 165

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Alaska, lean McCain to toss-up: Alaska’s move to the toss-up column would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. This has been a dependable red state - one George W. Bush one by 25% in 2004. Yet, the GOP brand has been more tarnished in Alaska than in perhaps any other state. And the corruption scandals that have engulfed so many state Republicans are only now reaching fever pitch, potentially costing Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens the congressional seats they have occupied for decades now, nearly uncontested. The Obama campaign knows it has an opportunity to steal the state’s 3 electoral votes and has included Alaska in the list of states it is seriously contesting. And its investment is paying off, as polls are consistently showing narrow margins and Obama even grabbed a 5% lead in a mid-August survey.

Colorado, moving towards pure toss-up status: This is the first time I am providing explanation for why a state is even more strongly in its category that it’s already in - but given the changes in Colorado polls over the past few weeks it would seem wrong to not mention that Obama appears to have lost whatever advantage he had built in Colorado. Until July 24th, McCain had not led in a single poll from this state (here is my compilation of surveys from June 18th onward). Obama’s leads were always in the margin of error - but consistently so. In the past three weeks, however, three polls have found McCain inching ahead - Quinnipiac, Rasmussen and Rocky Mountain News. Keep in mind that the Democratic convention will be in Denver and the local coverage could help Democrats gain a narrow edge.

Florida, toss-up to lean McCain: Just 3 weeks after Florida moved to the toss-up column for the first time, the Sunshine State gets colored red again. And this one has got to hurt for the Obama campaign: They have spent millions in the Sunshine State whereas the McCain campaign has not invested anything on TV ads here. Yet, McCain has undoubtedly improved his position in the past month. After taking the lead in his first Florida poll on June 18th, Obama led in every single survey from the state taken in July; yet, McCain has inched back ahead in all 5 polls released in August - a clear enough trend to justify Florida’s second move in two ratings. As Obama’s favorability has taken a hit, it appears that conservative-minded independents, disaffected Republicans and former Clinton supporters are the ones who are abandoning him first - and the effect of that is amplified in a red-leaning and Clinton-friendly state like Florida.

Minnesota, likely Obama to lean Obama: Minnesota moved to the likely Obama column on July 2nd - almost another lifetime. At the time, the Illinois Senator was building big margins in a number of blue-leaning states and looked to be putting states like Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin away. Now, the past three surveys have found McCain posting massive gains and closing the race (Obama leads by 4% in Rasmussen, 2% in SUSA and in Quinnipiac). As McCain’s attacks have erased whatever gains Obama made during the first few weeks of the summer, the battleground states are returning to their natural condition - and that makes Minnesota a slightly Democratic state. And don’t forget that Governor Tim Pawlenty remains a top contender in the GOP veepstakes.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • August 20th: + 14 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 32 likely, 55 lean] and 224 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 59 lean]
  • July 30th: + 38 Obama (238 for Obama [151 safe, 42 likely, 45 lean] and 200 for McCain [90 safe, 75 likely, 35 lean]
  • July 16th: +28 Obama (255 for Obama [150 safe, 43 likely, 62 lean] and 227 for McCain [90 safe, 78 likely, 59 lean]
  • July 2rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Third electoral ratings: Obama solidifies his base, though his edge narrows

It’s Wednesday, and two weeks have passed since my previous electoral college ratings. That means it is time to update the presidential chart. Two weeks ago, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin shifted out of the toss-up category and into the Obama column. This week, five changes are introduced, 3 in Obama’s direction and 2 in McCain’s. There are two main lessons out of today’s update:

  1. Obama’s base currently looks more secure than McCain’s. Obama now has 143 electoral votes rated as “safe,” versus 93 for McCain. His base (likely + lean) is now up to 193, versus 160 for his opponent. It is possible that, over the next four months, traditionally red states will return to be reliably Republican or that McCain will be successful in putting in play states that look more firmly Democratic this cycle than in past elections. But the shifts in partisan breakdown have only firmed up the Democratic leanings of blue states and McCain’s financial disadvantage makes it unlikely that the he will succeed in an offensive in Democratic terrain, while Obama has the resources to run ads and send paid staffers to states neither Kerry nor Gore thought about for a second.
  2. Yet, Obama’s advantage is cut in half to only 11 electoral votes. While the Democratic nominee has a lot going for him and his lead in national polls is consistent, how that will translate in the electoral college remains unclear and the Illinois Senator’s numbers in Ohio, Florida and Missouri are not as improved as his numbers in states like Alaska and North Carolina, leaving the electoral college in a toss-up situation.

I discuss Tom Schaller’s argument about Obama’s chances in Southern states in more detail in my run-down of Mississippi. Without further delay, here are the third 2008 electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed are in bold). Remember that states that are in the “lean” category are still considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested, but it is possible to say that one candidate has a slight edge at this time.

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming (93 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), North Dakota, Texas (78 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Alaska, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina (56 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia (73 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (45 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington (50 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: California, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (143 EVs)

This gives us the following map (courtesy of the Washington Post’s interactive feature, though I was not able to color lean states a lighter shade) and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 193 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 238
  • Toss-up: 73
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 227
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 171

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on those that have shifted over the past two weeks:

Alaska, likely McCain to lean McCain: Four factors have determined this rating move. First, polls continue to find Obama amazingly close in this very red state. Second, a Democrat is unlikely to cross 50% here, so that Bob Barr’s candidacy is an essential weapon for Obama — though it is unclear whether Barr will be able to make any dent. Third, Obama started airing ads in the state! And while he did the same in North Dakota and Montana, his Alaska stunner was followed-up by reports in Alaska’s media that the Democrat might actually spend time visiting the state — something no Democrat has done since 1964 (courtesy TPM).

California, likely Obama to safe Obama: Unlike in Massachusetts, Obama never seemed to struggle in California . It is therefor not the recent surveys showing him with massive leads that prompted this rating change, but the fact that McCain is unlikely to possess the ressources to put Obama on the defensive. In fact, the more Democrats pull McCain to single-digits in states like AKand TX, the less time McCain will have to even visit California as Bush had done in the fall of 2000. This is one of the benefits of Obama expanding the presidential map and benefiting from the shifts in partisan identification: It prevents McCain from going on the offensive and forces him to fall back on a narrow strategy of defending Bush states.

Minnesota, lean Obama to likely Obama: The situation is certainly less dramatic here than in CA, but the bottom-line is the same: McCain might want to contest a state that Bush lost narrowly in 2004 and where independents are a strong political force, but will he dare spend resources here when Wisconsin and Michigan seem like more vulnerable Kerry states? Recent polls are showing a double-digit lead for Obama, and they are too consistent to ignore. If McCain selects Gov. Pawlenty as his running-mate, the state will be downgraded to lean Obama.

Mississippi, likely McCain to safe McCain: Obama’s ability to put staunchly red Southern states in play has been debated for months. While there is now little doubt that VA and NC will be competitive, I have never been convinced that Georgia will. And ever since the MS-01 special election, Mississippi has been added to the list based on the possibility of increased black turnout. Tom Schaller’s op-ed in the NYT dismisses th Democrats’ southern hopes. His first argument is that, contrary to the CW, blacks are not under-represented among voters. But I do not agree that that matters: This only means an increase would make them over-represented this year, which is hardly implausible. In fact, it is almost certain that Obama will somewhat increase black turnout, if only because his campaign will make an organized push in the South — something past presidential candidates have not attempted.

However, I partially subscribe to Schaller’s argument in that the white vote is a neglected factor here. Obama increasing black turnout will be a huge boost in VA and NC and at the non-presidential level in MS. But it is unlikely to get him close in Mississippi and its racially polarized voting. Kerry got 14% of the white vote there (!), as much as Bush did nationally among the black vote, and are we really to believe that a black candidate could do much better than that? Obama would need a significant increase among white voters to overcome Bush’s 20% margin. For now, there is no evidence that Obama will succeed in reducing racial polarization in Southern states. He does not need to dramatically do so to be competitive in VA and NC, but he does in Mississippi.

Missouri, toss-up to lean McCain: I changed Missouri’s rating to toss-up just two weeks ago based on the fact that Obama “will not give up on contesting Missouri.” In the meantime, not only did we get a new SUSA poll with McCain regaining the lead but a report by TPM that the Democratic nominee is barely up on air in Missouri whereas McCain is blanketing the state. Obama will no doubt pick up his spending, but McCain knows that this state is actually vulnerable and is acting accordingly (whereas he is unlikely to do much for now in places like Alaska and North Dakota). Missouri will remain competitive to the end (something that wasn’t obvious a few years ago), but McCain retains a narrow but clear edge.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • July 3rd: +11 Obama (238 for Obama [143 safe, 50 likely, 45 lean] and 227 for McCain [93 safe, 78 likely, 56 lean])
  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [86 safe, 97 likely, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [87 safe, 87 likely, 42 lean])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [76 base, 107 likely, 24 lean] and 227 for McCain [97 safe, 77 likely, 53 lean])

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Second electoral ratings: Five changes all favor Obama

Two weeks have passed since my first electoral ratings found a tight electoral college race, with 15 states making up the initial batch of battleground states. Since then, the general election has been heating up and the candidates have engaged in tense back-and-forth on issues ranging from energy policy to terrorism. There have also been a number of polls released in the interval, not all of which have confirmed the conventional wisdom.

I will attempt to update ratings every two weeks (and every week once we get closer to the election) to maintain a continuous history. As I wrote last time, these are based on a mixture of polling data, considerations of which states parties are likely to invest in, the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and voting and registration patterns of each state since 2004. Thus, a low double-digits in a poll is not synonymous with likely category, and it will not descend to the “lean” group as soon as a poll shows a single-digit margin. (For electoral ratings that are based on stricter formulas, check the always-excellent Electoral-Vote and FiveThirtyEight.)

For instance, a recent AR poll might have shown a 9% lead for McCain, but the state remains in the “safe” category for now. Not only is one survey not enough to shift a state, but not all 9% leads are equal: Obama’s very high unfavorability numbers in that AR poll suggest that he might have reached a ceiling he can only rise in case of a huge boost in black turnout. Until we see whether Obama is committed to such an effort in this particular state, there is no point in upgrading Arkansas to a more competitive category.

Without further delay, here are the second 2008 electoral college ratings (states whose ratings have been changed are in bold). Remember that states that are in the “lean” category are still considered to be very competitive and certain to be hotly contested, but it is possible to say that one candidate has a slight edge at this time.

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming (87 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), North Dakota, Texas (87 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Florida, North Carolina (42 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Virginia (84 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin (55 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, Washington (97 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (86 EVs)

This gives us the following map (courtesy of the Washington Post’s interactive feature, though I was not able to color lean states a lighter shade) and totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 183 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 238
  • Toss-up: 84
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 216
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 174

I will naturally not attempt to provide an explanation for every single one of these ratings and will concentrate instead on the four that have shifted over the past two weeks.

Arizona, Safe McCain to Likely McCain: Perhaps this is a case of an over-eager media looking for a story, but it is hard not to notice the abundance of articles questioning whether John McCain is a sure bet in his home-state, including recent pieces in The Christian Science Monitor and in CQ. The Senator’s surprisingly low percentage in the state primary (he beat Mitt Romney by 12%) raised red flags as to his rocky relationship with Arizona’s conservative base. The latest poll has an 11% margin and Obama could spell real trouble for McCain if he solidifies the Hispanic vote. The Republican remains heavily favored, if only because Obama is unlikely to push too hard. If he does lose here, however, would that push him towards the retirement in 2010?

Missouri, Lean McCain to Toss-up: The polls showing a tight race between the two candidates were available two weeks ago and were only confirmed by two surveys released since that showed Obama barely edging out McCain. What changed was my confidence that the Obama campaign will not give up on contesting Missouri. In 2004, the Kerry campaign pulled out of the state in October — though it was certainly never their top priority — and ended up losing by 7%. This year, the Obama campaign will certainly have enough money to not have to pull out and given their determination to not have to rely on Ohio and Florida they will make sure to push hard in other states that are ripe for pick-up. The fact that Missouri’s gubernatorial race right now is an open seat in which the Democratic candidate is polling 20% ahead also tells us a lot about the dismal environment the GOP is facing.

Wisconsin, Toss-up to Lean Obama
: Barack Obama is polling well in the “Dukakis five,” states with traditional Democratic roots that had been more competitive in the past few cycles. By posting strong leads in Washington, Minnesota in particular, he is demonstrating that the shift in voters’ partisan breakdown towards an increased identification with the Democratic Party is making it very difficult for the GOP to contest in states that have a slight blue lean in a neutral environment. Obama is posting narrow leads in Wisconsin, though the latest Badger poll showed him up by double-digits. Neither candidate is likely to create much space here in the coming months — remember that Wisconsin really seemed lost to the Kerry campaign in the summer and fall of 2004 — but Obama starts off with a slight edge.

Pennsylvania, Toss-up to Lean Obama: There is a reason Obama unveiled John Edwards’s and Al Gore’s endorsements in Michigan rather than in Pennsylvania: The Keystone State is no longer the main target for Republicans anxious to pick-up a blue state. Kerry’s margin here in 2004 was smaller t
han Bush’s in Ohio, but the state has shifted in the past four years. The Democratic tsunami ended up submerging PA Republicans more than it did their OH counterparts and the heated Clinton-Obama showdown gave both Democratic contenders weeks of exposure. Hundred of thousands of new voters registered as Democrats or switched their party registration, providing Obama with an increased base, and it’s hard to ignore Quinnipiac’s insistence that Obama

However, that Obama starts off with a slight edge does not mean that this state does not remain very competitive. If the Illinois Senator ends up weak among blue-collar voters, it will have a major impact on Pennsylvania and McCain will seize on every opportunity to gain in the state’s rural regions. And the suburban areas remain a mystery, as Obama performed unexpectedly weakly in Philly’s suburbs on April 22nd. The situation here is similar as the one in Florida: Both states will be hotly contested by both parties but it’s hard to not think that they would go in opposing camps if the election were held today (I am aware of today’s polls that show Obama slightly ahead in FL though I have not changed my rating. More discussion of FL will come in due course).

Massachusetts, Likely Obama to Safe Obama: This is the exception to my rule that ratings will not shift based on a single poll. This state was one of the biggest disappointments for the Obama campaign on February 5th, and he has been polling stunningly weak general election numbers ever since, barely edging out McCain in a series of SUSA polls. Yet, and while it appears likely that Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory would have been far greater than Obama’s, the latest poll released by Suffolk does show Obama distancing McCain by 23%. The thought of Massachusetts’s general election being competitive is too ludicrous for me to entertain it without a constant stream of evidence, so this state is moving back where it should be — though we will keep a close eye on it.

History of Campaign Diaries’ electoral ratings:

  • June 18th: +22 Obama (238 for Obama [183 base, 55 lean] and 216 for McCain [174, 42])
  • June 4th: +20 McCain (207 for Obama [183, 24] and 227 for McCain [174, 53])

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First electoral college ratings: It’s a toss-up

Now that primary contests have come to an end, the time has come for the first electoral map ratings. Of course, if there is a popular vote blowout on either direction, careful electoral college calculations will be much less important, but until then the campaign has to be thought of as a collection of 51 contests that ought to be considered on a state by state basis.

The states have been divided in seven categories and rated as “safe,” “likely,” “lean” or “toss-up” states. A state that is rated as likely should not be considered competitive at this time but there is a conceivable scenario under which it could become so in the next few months. For instance, Obama should not envision picking-up Texas and McCain should not expect to be close in California, but it would not be surprising if polls end up tighter than expected. On the other hand, the 15 “lean” and “toss-up” states are where most of the action will be in over the next few months.

These ratings are based on a mixture of polling data, considerations of which states both parties are likely to invest in, Obama and McCain’s respective strengths and weaknesses and the voting and registration patterns of each state since 2004. In other words, they are meant to be a snapshot of the present moment and we can expect a lot of changes in the coming months. These ratings will eventually be updated weekly, but there is no need for that frequent re-evaluations for now, so we will stick to an update every two weeks at most.

Without further delay, here are the first 2008 electoral college ratings:

  • Safe McCain: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska (at large + 3rd congressional district), Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming (97 EVs)
  • Likely McCain: Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (1st and 2nd congressional districts), North Dakota, Texas (77 EVs)
  • Lean McCain: Florida, Missouri, North Carolina (53 EVs)
  • Toss-up: Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin (104 EV)
  • Lean Obama: Iowa, Oregon, Minnesota (24 EVs)
  • Likely Obama: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, Washington (107 EVs)
  • Safe Obama: DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont (76 EVs)

This gives us the following totals:

  • Safe + Likely Obama: 183 electoral votes
  • Safe + Likely + Lean Obama: 207
  • Toss-up: 104
  • Safe + Likely + Lean McCain: 227
  • Safe + Likely McCain: 174

Of the toss-up states, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio look to be the holy trio of the 2008 election (Michigan has for the time being replaced the Sunshine state) but Barack Obama has carved himself an alternative route to the presidency that does not require him to carry Ohio. With Iowa leaning to his side, he needs a combination of the Western states, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado (I recently discussed this more in detail here).

The 9 toss-up states are made up of 4 states won twice by George Bush (CO, NV, OH and VA), 3 states that both John Kerry and Al Gore carried (MI, WI and PA) and two states that split their decision in 2000 and 2004 (NH and NM). If I had a gun pointed to my head and had to allocate these 104 electoral votes, I would say it is most likely at this point that Obama carries Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Pennsylvania for 273 electoral votes while McCain would carry Nevada, Ohio and Virginia for 265 electoral votes. As I said, this all presupposes that the national numbers remain as tight as they are today, for a blowout election would likely lead one party to snatch all these 104 electoral votes and score some upsets on the list of “likely” states.

Also, a few explanatory notes on some of my other ratings, starting with Massachusetts. It seems very unlikely that this state, which many dub as the most Democratic in the country, would give itself to John McCain, particularly given how low Bush’s approval rating is here. But there have been too many polls showing Obama polling weaker than he ought to for me to move the state in the safe column for now. SUSA has consistently shown Obama barely edging out McCain while Rasmussen has repeatedly shown him considerably weaker than Hillary Clinton.

Florida, meanwhile, is one of the rare states in which it seems hard to dispute that Hillary Clinton would have been in better shape than her opponent. Numerous polls have shown Obama struggling against McCain, and some of the constituencies that the Illinois Senator has the most trouble in and that McCain believes he can win over (older voters, Hispanics) are key to Florida politics.

As for the Southern states, the Obama campaign looks to be serious about planning a registration drive in states in which past nominees have fared extremely poorly like Georgia and Mississippi. The problem for Obama is that any surge in black turnout could be negated by increased racial polarization in the electorate and white voters turning even more away from Democrats than they have in the past, but the campaign’s determination to test these states is enough to warrant their move to the “likely” column. The Obama campaign has even more promising grounds in North Carolina and in Virginia, where high black turnout coupled with outreach to independent-minded voters could result in upsets.

There are two more regions of interest. First, the Mountain West, where a number of states which were never mentioned in 2000 and 2004 (MT, NE, ND) could be in play in 2008 though the GOP’s dominance in this region make them tough states to crack. Second, Appalachia, where West Virginia and Kentucky would have both been rated much more competitively had Hillary Clinton been the Democratic nominee as this region is definitely the only one in the country in which Obama looks unlikely to make numbers move.



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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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