On the Today show on Thursday, Tim Russert broke out the dry erase board to suggest what the electoral map might look like in November. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, Russert thinks he starts with a base of 168 Electoral College votes and has 42 within reach, while John McCain begins with 135 and has 81 leaning his way. That equals 210 for Obama and 216 for McCain before 10 battleground states are decided.
If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, Russert predicts she would have a base of 172 votes and have 42 within reach while McCain would begin with 174 and could grab another 47. That’s 216 for Hillary and 221 for McCain with seven battleground states as toss-ups.
The scenarios suggest that an Obama-McCain race would be a much more dynamic, national campaign and that a Hillary-McCain battle would resemble the trench warfare contests that we saw in 2000 and 2004. Obama has the opportunity to expand the map but Hillary starts with more anchors — in other words, her floor is higher; his ceiling in higher.
Russert thinks that Obama would be a stronger Democratic candidate in Colorado (9), Georgia (15), Mississippi (6), Missouri (11), Montana (3), Nevada (5), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13) and Washington (11), and generally throughout the South, mid-Atlantic and West. Russert suggests that Clinton would be a stronger nominee in Arkansas (6), Florida (27) and New Jersey (15), which are all states where the Clinton brand is strong.
What do you think?
Russert: Barack Obama vs. John McCain Electoral Map (Today)
Russert: Hillary Clinton vs. John McCain Electoral Map (Today)