Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obama's Electoral Map Shrinks by One State

Sen. Barack Obama has an uphill battle to win the presidency. Don't think so? Take a look at the Electoral College map. Despite having a slim lead in national polls over Republican Sen. John McCain, Obama has a lower ceiling in Electoral College votes than McCain, and must breakthrough to take a red state in order to win the presidency, no matter how many points he may beat McCain by in the national popular vote. In other words, if McCain is able to hold all of the states that voted Republican in 2004, he will win.

Obama must not only wrest a state or states from McCain, he must put together the right combination to reach the magic Electoral College number of 270 votes. For example, looking at the 2004 Electoral College map above, if Obama were to take Iowa and New Mexico from McCain this November, two fairly good possibilities, that would still leave him seven electoral votes shy of the mark. Obama needs to win a big McCain state to win the White House.

It would come as a disappointment, then that Ohio Governor Ted Strickland recently ruled out the possibility that he would serve as Sen. Obama's running mate. Strickland is the popular governor of a swing state from the last two presidential elections who was swept into power in 2006 in a paroxysm of voter anger over Republican mismanagement and scandal. Strickland's presence on the ticket would conceivably help Obama with rural working-class whites, a demographic he struggled with in the primaries and perhaps tip the state and its 20 electors into his column.

But Strickland was not only dismissive of a potential Vice-Presidential selection, he was dismissive of Sen. Obama's chances to win Ohio in November regardless of who he picks for the ticket.

"Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve.

So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be." [...]

When asked to rank the degree of difficulty of Obama carrying Ohio, Strickland says: "I would say somewhere around 5 in a scale of 1 to 10. I think it’s, I just think it’s a challenge because of the nature of our state."

Ohioans just aren't that into Obama, according to the governor. So Sen. Obama will have to look elsewhwere for the 19 Electoral College votes he needs to make it to 270.

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