Sabato’s Crystal Ball: ELECTORAL COLLEGE UPDATE – OCTOBER 16
OVERALL: John McCain’s position in the Electoral College continued to deteriorate in the previous seven days. We are making the following adjustments, accordingly.
AR from Solid McCain to Likely McCain: The financial meltdown is lowering McCain’s percentage here, but as of now, we do not believe a McCain win is seriously threatened. If Bill Clinton spent a week here advocating Obama, though, the tide could turn.
FL from Toss-Up to Leans Obama: We’re still not completely convinced that the Sunshine State is in the Obama camp, but the polling data from many organizations suggest that Obama is doing well in the critical Tampa Bay area and elsewhere, and therefore he has at least a narrow lead. It goes without saying that there is zero chance that McCain can win without these 27 electoral votes, so this is one state where his campaign simply must reverse the tide.
MT from Solid McCain to Lean McCain: McCain thought he nailed down Big Sky Country when he picked an NRA favorite, Sarah Palin, for his ticket. But polls show it close enough for an Obama upset, especially if some of the third party candidates can collectively grab 5-8%. We still think McCain is the probable winner, but it will be no Bush landslide.
ND from Solid McCain to Lean McCain: ND has been swinging wildly this year. This usually guaranteed GOP state in presidential elections might be listening to its all-Democratic congressional delegation when they urge the state to vote Obama. McCain has been having problems in some farm states due to his agricultural policies and voting record.
WV from Likely McCain to Leans McCain: Good sources tell us that the economic downturn has made this most unlikely Obama state a possible surprise pick-up for the Democrat. WV went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in the May primary, and a McCain victory in November was then assumed (following on two Bush wins in the Mountain State). What a difference a financial meltdown can make. However, our sources caution that McCain is still narrowly favored, at least for now.
These changes result in the following adjustments to the Electoral College totals…