Obama Closing Gap in Republican Regions

Barack Obama has been campaigning across the country, including some areas that have been highly coveted Republican areas like Florida, which has 27 electoral votes. Since August, Obama has closed McCain’s 10-point gap McCain in the Sunshine State to 2 points in late September. McCain significant boost in popularity following the RNC and Palin’s nomination has begun to recede, with some regional and national trends reverting back to Obama.

Mike Allen and Alexander Burn of Politico.com consider Obama’s rising strength in these areas dangerously decisive:

But with states like Florida, Virginia and, in the mountain West, Colorado and Nevada looking increasingly favorable to Obama, McCain may not be able to reach 270 by picking off just one or two of these Midwestern swing states. If Obama’s upward trend continues, McCain would have to run the tables in these states, or win a big surprise victory elsewhere, in order to make up for it.

Indeed, signs do show several emerging hurdles for the McCain-Palin campaign. Obama and McCain are neck-in-neck in places like Virginia (13 electoral votes), and within 4.5 points from one another in Missouri (11 electoral votes). Consistently key Republican states like Texas largely remain unaffected by Obama (as do consistently Democratic states like California), but in all likelihood it is the current swing-states that will determine the outcome of the November elections. Two of these current swing states are Florida and Virginia.

For the last two elections, Florida’s and Virginia’s electorates decisively went to George Bush. In Virginia. Bush led by 8 points in both in 2000 and in 2004. In Florida, Bush led by 5 points against Kerry in 2004, and by less than 1 point against Gore in 2000. Some of these close races are less about Obama than they are of larger and older shifts. In 2006, Virginia showed significant improvement in Democratic strength, and Florida has revealed ambivalence to either party in the past several elections. Yet these close races in Virginia and Florida reflect a weakened Republican base. The last time a Democrat won the presidential ballot in Virginia was with Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Although Florida is often considered a swing state, it has only voted for a Democratic president three times in the last 44 years: Lyndon John in 1964, Jimmy Carter in 1976, and Bill Clinton in 1996.

While Florida and Virginia are up for grabs, so are the electoral rich states of Ohio (20) and Pennsylvania (21). For the last two presidential races, a Republican win in Ohio and Florida spelled victory. With so many Republican swing states like Nevada and Indiana, this is no longer the case.

As of September 23, 2008, Obama is winning the electoral race 282 votes to McCain’s 236 due to an indecisive Ohio and a marginal lead in Pennsylvania. At this point, a McCain victory would require him tipping the scale in both these states, as well as retaining Florida and the marginal areas that right now include Indiana and New Hampshire.

  • Babs

    Michael, why didn’t you do this article LAST week when McCain was on top of the electoral map? Never mind, I know the answer, just kidding with you.

    But the fact is, the various polls AND the electoral map change weekly, if not daily.

    I could do an article here talking about the new Lifetime poll that indicates McCain’s confidence among women has risen and surpassed Obama’s previous lead of 58%. I could say the Quinnipiac pollsters have determined that the deciding swing voters in this election are “white women”. Doesn’t sound too good for Obama, considering I’m a “white women” who works with both Women for McCain, Citizens (Democrats) for McCain, and have a good working relationship as well with PUMA – who, incidentally, have taken a page from Rush’s book and are skewing the polls to mess with Obama. I know the level of support being given McCain/Palin, whether these people are being called and asked to participate in polls or not. They are the silent majority in this election, no doubt.

    I think these polls are guesses, and are entertaining, but not definitive of anything. McCain is also pulling way too close for Obama’s comfort in normally blue states. Not to mention that Obama stated that THIS election the “south” would be his, feeling confident of his 96% lead with black voters. Take a look at your electoral map, it hasn’t happened and it won’t.

    I still say this election will be a replay of 1984, and the latest poll information backs that up – 28% of Hillary’s democrats are voting republican – 28% of 18 Million votes equals over 5 million votes. 27% of all democrats voting republican put Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1984. Fact. JFK won the election in 1960 by less than 100,000 votes. Fact. In 2008 it will be McCain/Palin, and it will be because independents and women rock the vote. My prediction.

    But if saying Obama’s winning over republicans makes your day a little brighter, Michael, I’m all for it. 😉

  • Babs, at times i think people over-focus on specificities for these polls (e.g., White women above 30 who feel X). The polls I am referencing are general polls, averaged out by Real Clear Politics, for entire states. In the end, these statistics are going to be what matters, not the identity-ones.

    I do not see any evidence that women and independents are voting more for McCain than Obama. I have heard some women shifting toward McCain due to Palin, but this is a shift, it does not imply a majority. And I do not see Palin improving McCain’s standing for Independents. Before, Obama was polling slightly ahead of McCain in that category.

  • JD

    Babs – “it will be because independents and women rock the vote.”

    What are your thoughts about young voters? They have overwhelmingly gone for Obama and unlike previous elections they are organized and showing up to vote. They are also responsible for helping him clinch the Democratic Nomination.

    I would not be surprised if they help offset your so called women swing voters that you are touting.

    Obama will win and soon after McCain is going to be pull a Ted kennedy and show his age and end up in a hospital. We will all breathe a sigh of relief because there will be no chance of Nut Job Palin getting the presidential seat. Obama will then reform Washington and life in Never Never land will be perfect! My Prediction.

  • Babs

    Michael, you do not see any evidence because you pay attention to the polls that put your candidate in the best light, we all do. And there is a poll out there somewhere to please everyone.

    I haven’t seen many women shift to McCain because of Palin, I’ve seen many women become much more excited and vocal about supporting McCain because of Palin. And I talk to approx. 100 different women a day on the subject from all over the country, either by phone or email. My days are long and exhaustive and I’m enjoying them immensely. I’ve never put in the boots on the ground time in an election before, we should all do it at least once. I’ve seen the swing first hand, so you can believe MY poll. I’m in those trenches every day, and will be until Nov. 4th. More independents – both male and female – are joining the team everyday, excited to not only vote but volunteer, a trend that started after Obama chose Biden instead of Hillary, and PUMA members count heavily among those. It’s been electrified among democrats and women since the naming of Sarah Palin as VP for McCain. And any day that a democrat says something else about Palin being “George Bush in earrings” or some such, it’s like rush hour traffic to McCain inboxes and volunteer phone banks. When they diss one of her children, it’s a traffic jam. We’re loving it.

    As I said, the electoral map changes weekly, last week McCain owned the map, this week Obama. If McCain wins the debate on Friday, it will shift again back to McCain. If Biden wins the VP debate, it will shift again. It’s all academic until the polls close on Nov. 4th. What happens in the private voting booth will be the final poll, and it will be the accurate one. Until then, they’re all just for our entertainment, speculation, and debate.

  • Babs

    JD, should Obama win, you are spot on with “Never Never Land”. 😉

    Historically, young voters get excited and then move on to the next hot video on You Tube. I don’t think this year will be any different. The election has gone on far too long to hold their attention. And I say that knowing that I’m grouping both the avid Obama supporters and the strong group of “Young Republicans” and “Students for McCain” into the same group. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but the numbers don’t back up the argument that young voters could decide the election – even if they hang in there.

    As I understand it, the youngest delegate at the Democratic Convention was 17 years old. Good for PR, but he can’t vote on Nov. 4th. Also from what I understand, a good percentage of the Obama volunteers fall into that same category, too young to vote. And having said that, many of the McCain youth sector also falls into that category, so it’s a wash to me on that score. They’re just not a core voting group, and while we encourage their growth in citizenship, we don’t count on a lot of influence in voting from them.

  • JD


    If Obama Wins there are going to be a lot of angry Captain Hook followers and if we are lucky some of them will flee Never Never land. That is if any other place would take them (which they won’t) so we will always have to deal with those crazy Republicans. 😛

    I have to agree that it is hard to measure the amount of Young voters (18-29 Yrs olds) but with record turnout at the Primaries coupled with 5-10% increase to match in almost every state during the primary season… it points to a significant amount of new voters.

    Though I do agree it is hard to measure how they will show, it is equally hard to measure the amount of so called Hillary defectors. Like New Voters I am not saying Hillary defectors are not out there but, rather, I believe you are playing up the numbers and emphasis of them when there is no definite way to measure. Swing Women voters are a big Question Mark. So are Young Voters (18-29 demographic)

    But like I said, if Young Voters come out to vote in the percentage they did for the primary then they will easily Nullify any swing women votes. I don’t know the last time you stepped foot on a college campus but it is a different environment then 8 years ago. They are organized, motivated and all are legal to vote.

    They could be the unsung heroes of the election.

  • Babs

    Interesting we should be discussing this issue this morning. I just read this:

    “University of Massachusetts officials yesterday quashed efforts by an Amherst campus chaplain to offer two college credits to any student willing to campaign in New Hampshire this fall for Democrat Barack Obama.

    Chaplain Ken Higgins told students in a Sept. 18 e-mail, “If you’re scared about the prospects for this election, you’re not alone. The most important way to make a difference in the outcome is to activate yourself. It would be just fine with McCain if Obama supporters just think about helping, then sleep in and stay home between now and Election Day.”

    Higgins added that an unnamed “sponsor” in the university’s History Department would offer a two-credit independent study for students willing to canvass or volunteer on behalf of the Democratic nominee.

    “It is relatively (easy) to do late add-ons,” Higgins wrote.

    But university officials disavowed themselves of the effort after inquiries yesterday by the Associated Press. They said it could run afoul of state ethics laws banning on-the-job political activity, as well as university policy.

    “There is no independent study for credit in the History Department that involves partisan political work, and no such activity has ever been approved,” said a statement issued by UMass-Amherst spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

    Higgins refused to identify the History Department sponsor and referred all further questions to university officials.

    Blaguszewski said Higgins is one of about a dozen chaplains from different faiths working in Amherst, the flagship campus among the university’s five schools.”

    Now, this tells me that there is an unsure feeling somewhere about the previously devoted youth. I read it this way – we’ll give you two college credits if you’ll come back to the front lines and show up. That falls into line with both our doubts on the youth vote.

    The fact is women make up 52% of the voting population in this country, the largest sector there is. Women will truly decide this election if we choose to do so. That’s why both Obama and McCain are focusing on us. Obama is even holding “Women Rallys”, haven’t you heard?

    The difference in the youth vs. Hillary supporters is that the youth have never voted before and don’t have long attention spans. The Hillary supporters and swing democrats have been voting for years. No doubt they’ll vote again, this isn’t their first rodeo.

    It’s ok if you think I play up the numbers, I can hardly believe them myself on a day to day basis. A little rush, yes, a short outcry based on recent headlines, yes – that’s what I expected. What we’re getting is much different, and frankly shocking, and I don’t expect anyone to believe it unless they’re sitting here experiencing it. I certainly didn’t.

    And if you count first time voter registration, remember you can register to vote on your chosen candidate’s website. That’s one of the ways we have to monitor these things. You’d be surprised to know how many women are also registering to vote for the first time this election. I haven’t been on a college campus in over two years, but 18-29 year olds don’t make up 52% of all voters – women, no matter how crowded they are. 😉

  • Dreadsen

    JD and Babs

    What about the Republican Female voters who were in the tank for Hilary just because she was a woman?
    When she lost they just went over to where they were going to vote anyway. But now Palin has sparked some excitement in that block of voters.
    How do you determine if they were a democrat defector vs a Republican defector defecting back?

  • Babs

    Dreadsen, by whether they are registered Democrats or Republicans, there’s no other way. Like I’m a registered Democrat (that’s why I’ve been offered so many “positions” in the McCain camp, I’m sure). But you bring up an interesting point – as of yet, I haven’t met or talked to a single women who said she was voting for Hillary just because she was a woman – not democrat or republican. In fact, I haven’t met a republican woman who said they voted for Hillary in the primary for any reason. There may be some out there, and I just haven’t had any contact with them, but it would be news to me.

  • JD


    You are an empowered woman. You are right that young voters don’t make up 52% of voters but they help make up that 52% of women you are talking about. You seem to forget that if you are not a man then you are a woman so it goes without saying that they are going to be split down the middle between Male voter turnout and female turnout.

    The Young vote is a part of the 52% total that you are using and so are minority groups and single mothers and single women. When you start chopping down the percentages and looking at how the 52% will vote, I think it will be split or at least close to split down the middle. Perhaps a 5% lean one way or the other.

    However, the 52% you are talking about are not all going to vote Republican. Which I am sure you were aware of.

    Babs – “I’m a registered Democrat (that’s why I’ve been offered so many “positions” in the McCain camp)”

    You are a part of McCain’s camp so all you see are those women. I feel pretty confident that if you (in a parallel dimension) were to be a part of the Obama women’s campaign you would be singing a different tune and looking at the women’s voting trend differently.

    Needless to say, you might have your McCain Blindfold on.

    Babs – “I haven’t met or talked to a single women who said she was voting for Hillary just because she was a woman”

    What self-respecting woman would admit this. It is like asking a Black voter if they are voting for Barack because he is black. Or a Mormon if they voted for Romney.

    Still, if any Hillary voter is moving over to McCain, let alone, because of Palin than they are indeed voting because it is a woman. Palin and Hillary are Day and Night with their differences. The ONLY thing they have in common is the lack of external plumbing.

    People do not admit when they are sexist or racist…one can only tell by their actions and their actions are speaking than any of their words.

  • Babs

    I can agree on some of what you say, but this “You are a part of McCain’s camp so all you see are those women”, though it is a natural assumption – is inaccurate. I make up to 50 cold calls a day as time permits – I have no idea who’s on the other end.

    The debate over Hillary voters moving to McCain and why is an old one. They say experience, they say they will vote for McCain against Obama for the same reasons they voted against Obama for Hillary in the Primaries. He’s not qualified.

  • The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes– 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  • Amanda

    Like me…27, College graduate with a degree in Political Science, middle class, independent, and happen to agree with everything Obama stands for. In fact, Obama is more popular with women! We had over 200 people at recent Camp Obama and the majority were women. They weren’t all young. Young, old, black, white, hispanic, religous, non religous. The common thread….intelligence!

  • Lindsey

    I guess I can understand how a relatively small number of women might want to abandon the Dem Party this year in the general election; I just wish they could admit the primary reason why: They’re mad that Hillary lost to Obama. This was supposed to be “her time”; and this is their “revenge.”

    But the overall trends don’t lie: Obama is surging in the polls again. The Palin/RNC “bounce” was just that, and the economic/banking situation — something that clearly favors the Dems — now has center stage. I also suspect that many of the women who might currently profess a preference for the Repub ticket will realize where their true convictions lie — the Dems — before the general election.

  • Dreadsen


    I believe the youdecide2008 needs to send a vetting team to verify you being a registered democrat! You are against the entire core philosophy of their platform. you make Lieberman look like Alan Keyes!

    There were some women who said they weren’t voting for Obama because they felt that an unqualified Male got the job over a well qualified Female.

    But now some of those same women feel that Palin got the job over other well qualified women because she is younger and better looking. Both situations are issues which women face every day. So they got screwed on both ends.

  • JD

    Dreadson – “I believe the youdecide2008 needs to send a vetting team to verify you being a registered democrat!”

    Lol. I was thinking the exact same thing. My conclusion was that she registered as a demecrat just so she could get furthur ahead in the McCain career.

  • There’s no numbers to prove either way how many ‘Hillary Voters’ went over to McCain. The Republicans are talking up the numbers because they’re hoping the rest will follow like sheep, when in truth most are probably still fence-sitting.

  • Sara B

    Real Reason why McCain chose Palin : Sexist and condescending
    Also his poor record of voting against equal pay for women and opposing Equal Roles for Women in the Military should be the business of American women voters.

  • Babs

    Dreadsen and JD, ya’ll are so funny. The fact is that McCain will be the first republican I’ve ever voted for. I didn’t vote for Bush, either. In my exactly 54 years (today is my birthday), I’ve voted in only 3 presidential elections ever – only 3 have moved me enough to vote. I voted for Jimmy Carter (I was young and liberal), and I voted for Bill Clinton – twice. I did not support Ronald Reagan, either.

    My views have become more conservative with age, I admit, and you’ll find that to be the case with you; as you age your priorities will change. Twenty years ago I threw money at the stock market with wild abandon, if the gamble paid off, great. If it didn’t I had plenty of time to make more money, I took the big risks. Now, I don’t have enough working years left or a good enough enonomy in which I can do that. Thus, I’m more conservative and more concerned about the state of my retirement money and my retirement. I’m also concerned about the state of my country that I’ll leaving to my grandchildren to deal with. I can’t afford to be so liberal anymore. None of us can, in my opinion.

    JD, there is no “career” with John McCain. I am not a paid staffer, I’m a volunteer. I’ve never done that before, but I believe in the cause this time. They don’t pay me – I pay them. I give them my time because it’s worth it, and I give them my money because I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.

    It’s very easy to get on discussion boards and blogs and spout off. It’s much harder to back up words written in leisure with the actions of your convictions. By doing that, I’m teaching my kids and grandchildren that if you’re not willing to stand up for what you believe in, don’t expect to respect yourself at the end of the day.

    You may not agree with me politically, but I would say I should get a little respect for my willingness to stand behind my convictions.

  • JD


    I am with you on that. I am apart of the Obama campaign on the ground level and volunteer to oragnize my community to knock on doors, make phone calls, come together and spread the work.

    I am the guy who had his 12 year old kid told off by some person who didn’t understand that getting the youth involved teaches kids how to except and deal with rejection as they are told to come back and preach when they are old enough to vote. But it also rewards them with every success even if it is as small as when they succeed in regestering a first time voter.

    I have contributed the max amount this year to my candidate but I have a big mouth so I would need to put in even more than that to match it.

    Still, I have to say that I have not heard you stand on a single issue that gives validity to you being a past Liberal. I have not heard you say anything that Clinton or Carter would back as a policy or a point.

    So if you have changed then you have done a complete 180 in the last 8 years since your last election. Which could be the case.

    But I have gone too far. The truth is you are allowed to vote as you choose and to be honest you are one of the great debaters on here, though you and I diagree on most issues.

    I am happy that you have gotten involved and are showing your youth that getting involved is where change happens.

    I am a sarcastic person and most of it I mean in jest but it doesn’t always come across as as intended.

  • Babs

    JD, the past policies of Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton haven’t been an issue brought up here before. If you check around the threads, you’ll see I don’t bash Bill Clinton. There were some things I didn’t agree with, but on the whole I think he was a good president. I don’t think that carries over to Hillary, however. Her, I have problems with. Clinton made some stupid moves personally in the White House, and Hillary responded in a poor way to that, but that doesn’t negate what he did as President.

    Well, I’m mistaken. There’s been quite a bit of discussion surrounding the likeness of Obama policies to Carter’s policies, and the simarlarities are certainly there – in a negative way for me. Another point against Obama on my scorecard. Carter is a regret for me. And I say that sadly, as he is a fellow southerner who, in fact, lives less than a hour from me and is a true southern gentleman. Just not a good President.

    I have respect for George Bush in many ways, most of them surrounding 9/11. Before that, I paid little to no attention to him. Since then, I’ll just say I’m glad he had the good sense to listen to McCain about the surge. The last 2 years he’s pretty much been beating a dead horse with a democratic congress, I don’t know what he could have done with any support. And at this point, it’s irrelevant.

    McCain caught my attention in 2000, though not enough to gain my interest – none of them did. This year I took another look, and the rest is history. That’s the year I lost my Dad to cancer and my home to fire. Politics was high on my list of priorities at the time. So I got out of the habit of voting.

    I’ll apologize for the 12 year old story. You’re right. I’ll just say the time and place of my experience was one I doubt you’d place your 12 year old in. There’s a right way and a wrong way to get children involved in the learning process. That kid didn’t have a clue what he was doing or why, and his own father was the local candidate. When I said what I did to him it was the third time in less than half an hour I had been approached by him, with the same flyer and the same question. Whoever didn’t take his flyer in the crowd, he threw it on the ground. Guess his Dad was counting them.

    I enjoy debating issues with you, most of the time your arguments have meat. Sometimes, as you say, more than a little sarcasm. People don’t always catch when I’m joking either, so no harm, no foul.

    Whichever of our candidates is elected, no one can tell either of us that we can’t complain about anything because we didn’t vote. We do a lot more than that. If McCain loses, it sure won’t be my fault, I’m doing my best. And if he wins, I’ll have a lot of pride in knowing I had a small part in it.

    Here’s to us, may the best man win. 😉

  • Babs

    EDIT (DUH)

    That’s the year *2000* I lost my Dad to cancer and my home to fire. Politics was *NOT* high on my list of priorities at the time. So I got out of the habit of voting.

  • Dreadsen and JD- from memory sake, Babs never presented herself as a Democrat under YD2008, but rather as an independent (which I am as well).

    Babs, I do agree with Dreadsen and JD in that since Palin’s nomination, your decisions and views (regarding values) overwhelmingly seem to go conservative/neo-conservative rather than moderate. This is fine, I am just noting that. I have been a little to the left on the site, as Nate correctly notes, and this is my bias.