Obama’s Strange Electoral Map

Cillizza has an interesting post about an Obama campaign memo using an electoral map to argue in favor of his electability. There’s nothing odd about using maps in campaign memos — the McCain camp and the Giuliani camp both leaned on maps to push narratives of electability.

What is strange is the map itself.

The Obama camp identified three tiers: “Big States,” “Traditional Battlegrounds” and “New States.” The “Big States” are pretty standard, but I have some questions about the “Traditional Battlegrounds” and the “New States.”

  • North Dakota and Montana? Really? There’s a potentially potent mix of fierce independents and civic-minded voters of Northern European descent that might like Obama’s post-partisan appeals, but these states are pretty red in presidential elections.
  • Texas? It’s clear that the Obama camp relied too heavily on that bizarre series of Survey USA 50 state polls about a month back. They should know better.
  • The mid-Atlantic: Is North Carolina more competitive than Virginia? I would say North Carolina is trending in the same ways that Virginia did in the last decade if anything.
  • Washington State: Is the Obama camp just assuming this is a lay-up?
  • And last but certainly not least: Where are Ohio and Florida? These two states are Clinton‘s best arguments for electability. Does the Obama camp have a coherent strategy on these two behemoths?

Obama’s Strange Electoral MapDark blue is the “Big States,” royal blue is the “Traditional Battlegrounds,” and light blue is the “New States”

Obama\'s Strange Electoral Map


18 responses to “Obama’s Strange Electoral Map

  1. leaving out OH and FL…so much for this 48-state strategy.

  2. I think you should refer to Northern Europeans as “Nordic” from now on. Or perhaps “Teutonic.” It sounds fierce!

    Seriously, the Obama team is delusional if they think they have a shot in MT or TX. Dems can win in these places on local issues, but on the national platforms that define a presidential campaign… not likely.

    On the other hand, I give them credit for recognizing that they have to keep a grip on the upper midwest, or see it slide into the GOP column as irrevocably as the South has.

  3. coldintheuppermidwest

    North Dakota would definitely be in play. It has been trending blue with Fargo leading the way. Don’t forget the tremendous amount of Native Americans that continuously provide the democratic votes that send Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan to the US Senate and Earl Pomeroy to the US House year after year.

    It is a very populist state.

    This map tells me where his VP candidate is going to come from.

  4. Obama is a general election disaster waiting to happen. No Democrat will win without winning either Ohio or Florida.

    New Quinnipiac polls out today …

    Clinton 48%
    McCain 38%

    Obama 42%
    McCain 43%

    Clinton 49%
    McCain 41%

    Obama 43%
    McCain 44%

  5. This map looks like a LOSER in november. Where’s Ohio? Florida? This is nuts!!!! Texas?? Hillary won Texas! Obama cannot win Texas against McCain. Obama does terrible with Hispanic voters. This map is a joke.

  6. The Obama campaign likes to talk about the “math” – well, the only reason they threw in TX and a few of the other “new states” is to detract from his likely loss of Ohio and Florida. Let’s hope the superdelegates aren’t dumb enough to buy it.

  7. Obama/Axelrod is a fraudulent enterprise, designed solely to separate suckers from dollars with the click of a mouse.

  8. Mike of Minnesota

    President-Elect John McCain thanks you for this informative map making excercise. Should just call it the ‘Wright’ map.

  9. I think it’s interesting. North Dakota and Texas are a little nutty and yeah he should be making a play for Florida and Ohio if for the House seats and nothing else. He should prob play more in New England, MD, DE, and WA at least a little bit as well. But dems do need to finesse MT to continue to foster the leftward trend and CO and VA are particularly good choices to reach for as well and I hope Hillary is planning to make a play for them too.

  10. Actually, the Ohio and Fla aren’t needed. Look at the Obama/McCain map, upper left corner of MyDD.com. Flip PA and NM, both realistic for the fall. Wow, a 269-269 tie.

    Besides, MT and VA have Popular Dem Govs right now. To think that means nothing with what’s happening is disingenuous.

  11. Governors win states on local issues, not national ones.

    This is why you’ll find Dem governors in red states (Schweizer, Sibelius) and GOP governors in blue states (Romney, Pataki, Schwarzenegger).

    Most politics isn’t very partisan, until you get to the national level… specifically the Senate and White House.

  12. Yeah, but the point is that it’s not a great map or a bad map really. I would like to see Arkansas and Missouri given a more prominent role as well.

    Overall, we have to remember elections aren’t predestined to come down to the way two states vote. There are lots of purple states that will come back on to the battleground once we have a nominee.

  13. Mike for Hillary

    Obviously another hidden platform of the Obama campaign is the legalization of marijuana. Only way this map makes any sense.

    Texas ? Texas ? Rev. Wright commercials and hes gonna win Texas ?

    Gore – Clinton 08

    But seriously – maybe Hillary needs to get a black man (other than BO) for her Veep to keep the black vote on-board

  14. Colin Powell perhaps?

    I hear Alan Keyes is shopping around… he recently lose the nomination for the Constitution Party… Eventually he’s gonna have to settle to be the nominee for the Alaskan Independence Party.

  15. Some of the comments on here are ridiculous, and reflect a POOR understanding of the difference between winning a primary election and winning a state in a general election.

    Who cares if Hillary won Texas? First of all, she won the primary narrowly, 51-47, and Obama won the state’s caucuses as well. Both would have a tough time winning the state, but if Obama didn’t have any appeal, he wouldn’t have earned 47% . Clinton is a known commodity and was consistently polling above 50 percent for much of last year. She has 100% name recognition, so why couldn’t she “seal the deal”? I don’t buy her sudden electability, especially considering 58% of voters find her untrustworthy and 50% of people say they will never vote for her. Democrats have to win a GENERAL election folks, not a primary based on a small segment of working class voters in Appalachia. The Democrats have to expand the map and stop trying to run the table and hope for Ohio or Florida.

    An April Quinnipiac Poll does not mean someone won’t win a state in the fall. Get real. Hillary’s 10 point lead in Ohio could shrink, and Obama’s massive lead in Washington could narrow. Obama is down in Florida, 43-44, and Hillary is up 49-41. Good for Hillary for leading and Obama for keeping it close, but look how both candidates are polling below 50%. That’s not some huge blowout, by any means.

    The way some of you think, Hillary couldn’t win Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Maryland because she got blown out there, or Obama couldn’t win California, New Jersey, and Ohio because he lost those states. McCain crushed Bush in the 2000 GOP NH primary, and Bush beat Gore there later in the year.

    Obama can put Virginia and North Carolina into play. Clinton can’t win either of those states, due to extremely high negatives. She can compete better than Obama in Florida and Ohio. However, Obama leads in Michigan while she trails with 38 percent against McCain. He is somewhat competitive with unaffiliated voters in Montana, Colorado, Alaska (yes Alaska), and North Dakota. Don’t discount voters this year, especially the millions of new voters. This isn’t 2004 folks.

  16. There’s something seriously wrong with the way some of you are interpreting this map. You seem to be assuming that the states in white are the ones Obama has given up on. That’s clearly not the case, as he’ll obviously win HI, MA, VT, CT, and RI in November. The fact that he thinks he could win TX also is just a part of his optimism that is a major part of his appeal. But it’s not completely unfounded. He did beat Hillary in Texas after all (numerous claims by the arithmetically challenged aside – 103 delegates is more than 90 delegates – he won). I won’t bet on him winning FL against a geriatric caucasian, but it could happen. I think there’s a good chance he could sweep the rust belt and make up for it. It’ll help when he calls for all delegates in FL and MI to be seated as voted, which won’t stop him from being nominated.

  17. Montanans dislike phony politicians whether they be red or blue. Ousting long-time GOP Senator Conrad Burns in 2006 was no small event, and a good indication of things to come. Right now, its all “true”-blue: one bolo tie governor, with a flat-top and an old hand senate duo. You’ve got to be an outsider to win the hearts of Montanans. Hillary will fare very poorly here (thanks to Bill, although he did win the state in 1992) The Dems have a shot to win it with Obama. Though it will be close because McCain is almost as maverick as Ron Paul, who is popular there. (Was it 23% of the GOP primary, behind Romney?)

    Remember it was Montana that elected the first woman to Congress. The suffragette-peace candidate Janette Rankin: “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war.” The only vote against US involvement in WWI.

    Montana goes for the unconventional outsider…Go Obama.

  18. Pingback: Hillary Releases Mapping Memo Touting Her Electability « The Electoral Map

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