Tag Archives: Nevada

Once Upon a Time in the West

Once upon a time the West was solid GOP territory, but in 2008, the Democrats hope to make the region competitive.

The Los Angeles Times and the Politico have very similar but interesting articles today about how the top presidential contenders for each party are campaigning throughout the West early this week.  Both Barack Obama and John McCain gave remarks in New Mexico for Memorial Day; Obama is in Las Vegas and McCain is in Denver today; and Obama visits Colorado while McCain shoots over to Reno tomorrow.

Politico’s Carrie Buddoff Brown explains the important of the region, writing, “President Bush picked up 19 electoral votes across these three states – the margin by which Democrat John Kerry fell short in the Electoral College in 2004. He edged out Kerry by five percentage points in Colorado, two points in Nevada and less than one point in New Mexico.”

L.A. TimesMaeve Reston, Noam N. Levey and Scott Martelle break down the raw tallies, explaining, “Bush defeated Democrat John F. Kerry in the three states by a combined 127,011 votes — just 8,412 votes more than his margin in Ohio. Had Kerry won the three Western battlegrounds, he would be president.”

Our friends E.J. Kalafarski and Chadwick Matlin at Slate have a great map of where the candidates are campaigning —  here’s the link to the interactive of their go-to site “Map the Candidates.” As a side note, check out how Hillary Clinton is still actively campaigning in the primary states of South Dakota and Montana.

Obama and McCain Tour the Mountain West (Map the Candidates)

McCain and Obama Tour the West

And I’ll let Mark Knopfler take care of the soundtrack for this post:


Cillizza Posts His Latest Electoral Map Line

Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza is releasing a new presidential electoral map line each Friday. Here is his latest list on Cillizza’s The Fix b.og, along with The Electoral Map’s own analysis. What do you think?

10. Florida (Bush, 52 percent)

  • The Fix: “Polling suggests that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is the nominee, then the state is a toss up; if Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is the Democratic standard-bearer — as is more likely — then presumptive GOP nominee John McCain holds a double-digit lead in current polling.”
  • The Electoral Map: Florida is as red as the Georgia Bulldog’s jerseys.

9. New Hampshire (Kerry, 50 percent)

  • The Fix: “There’s little doubt that McCain is extremely popular in the Granite State — especially with the independent voters who comprise the most crucial voting bloc. But New Hampshire is also one of the hotbeds of anti-war sentiment in the country.”
  • The Electoral Map: Expect McCain to make a strong push for New Hampshire. He’ll make it his home base on Northeastern swings through the moderate states of Maine, Connecticut and New Jersey.

8. Michigan (Kerry, 51 percent)

  • The Fix: “John Kerry won the state by just over 150,000 votes (out of more than 4.6 million cast) in 2004, and the ongoing question of whether and how Democrats will seat the Michigan delegation provides ammunition for Republicans to argue that the other party is trying to silence the voters of the state.”
  • The Electoral Map: Didn’t Patrick Ruffini say McCain will win the Gerald Ford Republicans? Well, Ford was from Grand Rapids.

7. Minnesota (Kerry, 51 percent)

  • “The Fix still believes Pawlenty is the frontrunner to serve as McCain’s runningmate, a scenario that if it comes to pass will make the Republican ticket quite competitive in Minnesota.”
  • The Electoral Map: I love how Republicans are making a play for the Gopher State by hosting their convention there, but Minnesota’s DNA is as liberal as Paul Wellstone.

6. Colorado (Bush, 52 percent)

  • The Fix: “The November election will be a seminal vote in determining the future direction of Colorado politics.”
  • The Electoral Map: Obama wins Colorado by wooing independents. Clinton looses to McCain.

5. Ohio (Bush, 51 percent)

  • The Fix: “A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed… Clinton leading McCain 48 percent to 39 percent while Obama took 43 percent to 42 percent for McCain — a potential problem for Democrats if Obama winds up as the nominee.”
  • The Electoral Map: Ohio is Clinton’s best argument. Her win in Strickland’s old sixth district along the Ohio River Valley was impressive.

4. Virginia (Bush, 54 percent)

  • The Fix: “The fact that three Virginia Democrats — Sen. Jim Webb, Gov. Tim Kaine and former governor Mark Warner — are all mentioned as potential vice presidential picks and you quickly see why Virginia is moving up The Line.”
  • The Electoral Map: The biggest misconception is that Virginia is now a tossup. First of all, it’s still a Republican state, even if it has chosen Democrats in the last two gubernatorial elections and watched a Republican Senate incumbent self-destruct. McCain will win with strong support in the Navy-heavy Hampton Roads and with moderate Republicans in Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Richmond.

3. New Mexico (Bush, 50 percent)

  • The Fix: “McCain gives Republicans a fighting chance in the state due to his neighbor appeal, but the state has been trending Democratic of late and either Clinton or Obama will be favored in the fall.”
  • The Electoral Map: Never been to New Mexico, but if it has a rivalry with Arizona in the same way that Virginia does with Maryland then John McCain might be in trouble.

2. Nevada (Bush, 50 percent)

  • The Fix: “As of last month, there were 441,676 active Democrats compared with 396,489 active registered Republicans.”
  • The Electoral Map: This state is growing so quickly, I haven’t come across one analyst who has a good read on it.

1. Iowa (Bush, 50 percent)

  • The Fix: “After a series of difficult reelection races in past cycles, Sen. Tom Harkin (D) faces no serious opposition from Republicans this fall — meaning he will almost certainly win a fifth term. Harkin’s race symbolizes Democrats’ ascendancy of late in the state — a trend line that should help whoever is the party’s presidential nominee.”
  • The Electoral Map: Iowa Democrats should be bullish after their 2006 drubbing.

Where’s Wisconsin??? Republicans have a better chance of winning the Badger State than Dems do of taking the Sunshine State.

Navigating the “Southwest Passage”

In a fascinating article in The American Prospect today, Tom Schaller dissects whether or not John McCain will thwart the Democrats’ hopes to capture the southwest in 2008. He makes the usual key points that McCain has good name recognition in the West and has a good rep with Hispanics.

But Schaller also adds some counterpoints that I hadn’t thought about. The Arizona senator might face pressure from both conservatives who have issues with “Juan McCain” and Hispanics who think that he walked away from the immigration bill when the going got tough. Popular Democratic govs and Senate candidates could also offer a reverse-coattail effect.

But Schaller ends with perhaps the most important point: The West is growing at such a rapid clip that it’s tough to handicap these voters. As Schaller notes, “the Southwest should be the most difficult to project because Arizona, Nevada and Colorado are consistently the three fastest growing states in the nation, and therefore the hardest to figure out.”

Candidates Hope to Redraw the Electoral Map

Which candidate can expand the electoral map: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?  Which one can win the red states that failed Al Gore and John Kerry and pull together a winning geographic coalition? 

These are some of the key questions that Democratic voters are asking as the two presidential hopefuls battle in out in primary states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana and in the living rooms of superdelegates,.

Both candidates can make a strong case, but their two equations are starkly different.  Clinton looks strong in the Midwest and Appalachia and would likely try to execute and expand on the Democrats’ traditional electoral strategy.  Obama is more likely to attempt to scramble the map and looks well-suited to pick off independents in the mid-Atlantic and Mountain West. 

Obama and Independents in the mid-Atlantic and Mountain West

Obama would likely target independents in the fast-growing counties like Loudoun in Virginia, Wake in North Carolina, Clark in Nevada and Douglas in Colorado.  These are among the fastest-growing areas in the nation and are packed with young professionals who don’t have an allegiance to either party, let alone time to watch “Hardball.” 

 The model for winning these voters comes from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who was the first governor outside of Illinois to endorse Obama. In his 2005 campaign, Kaine targeted and won these independents focusing on issues like roads and schools.  If Obama pushed a similar post-partisan message in these fast-growing exurbs, he could likely win big in these areas.

A series of SurveyUSA polls released last week suggested that Obama would be a strong candidate against John McCain in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. Independents, upscale liberals and African-American in Virginia and North Carolina would also makes those states key targets, although the Tarheel State would be more of a reach.

Hillary and Blue-Collar Voters in the Midwest and Appalachia

The Clinton camp would probably consider the prospect of Obama winning these states “The biggest fairytale I’ve ever seen,” to borrow Bill’s famous phrase from New Hampshire.  Hillary would probably have more success targeting blue-collar Reagan Democrats in the Midwest, down the Appalachian spine and in traditionally blue Arkansas.

The model for winning these voters is best exemplified in Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who was Hillary’s strongest surrogate in the Buckeye State and whose former congressional district in the Ohio River Valley went decidedly to Clinton. Strickland has won over blue-collar Democrats by focusing on traditional economic and bread-and-butter issues.

Hillary’s success in Ohio and rural Missouri (not to mention her perceived strength in Michigan) has demonstrated that she would start from a strong position in those states.  She has also dominated in Appalachian counties from Ohio to Virginia to Tennessee, suggesting that she might be able to bring hardscrabble states like West Virginia back into the Democratic column.

McCain and the Blue Coasts

Of course, both Hillary and Obama’s scenarios for expanding the electoral map assume that all other things are equal. Both equations fail to account that the Republican on the ticket has made a career out of challenging the conventional wisdom and defying political expectations. McCain, for this part, has already promised to run a national campaign. 

He has said on more than one occasion that he is going to target Ronald Reagan’s California, and McCain is a popular brand among independent voters in New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut.  He’d also likely be strong with Main Street Republicans in the Midwest, Hispanics in the Mountain West and military personnel in the mid-Atlantic – all scenarios that could thwart either Democrat’s vision of redrawing the map.

But one thing is for sure: The electoral map is going to be scrambled this year. Democrats will target states in Dixie, whether it’s Clinton in Arkansas or Obama in Virginia, and McCain will pour money into California, where he’ll be joined at the hip with the Governator.  It’s only been four years since the trench warfare of 2004, but the electoral map is as fluid as it’s ever been.




Will John McCain Paint the Map Red?

John Fund sure thinks so. In a Wall Street Journal column from Monday (that I put off until day because of the Potomac Primary), Fund explains how McCain gets to 270:

  • New Hampshire: “The Granite State went only narrowly to Mr. Kerry, a senator from a neighboring state, and Mr. McCain has unique advantages there. New Hampshire elections are determined by how that state’s fiercely independent voters go, and Mr. McCain has won over many of them in both the 2000 and 2008 GOP primaries. He spent 47 days in New Hampshire before this year’s primary and is well-known in the state.”
  • Rocky Mountain West: “McCain’s roots in the Rocky Mountain West complicate Democratic efforts to take states in that region.”
  • Nevada and Colorado: “His fierce individualism and support for property rights play well in Nevada and Colorado, which were close in 2004.”
  • New Mexico: “Next door to Mr. McCain’s Arizona, gave Mr. Bush a very narrow 49.6% to 49% victory in 2004. But Mr. McCain’s nuanced position on immigration marks him as the GOP candidate who is most likely to hold the Hispanic voters who are the key to carrying New Mexico.”
  • Minnesota and Wisconsin: “Should he pick Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his vice presidential choice, he might have a leg up on carrying both Minnesota and Wisconsin, which went narrowly for Mr. Kerry in 2004.”
  • Michigan and Oregon: “McCain can be competitive in other blue states. Michigan went Democratic in 2004 by only 3.4% of the total vote, and Oregon by just over 4%.”
  • California: “The latest Field Poll in California puts Mr. McCain and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie.”
  • Connecticut: “Support from Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential candidate, could put Connecticut in contention.”
    • New Jersey: “Ditto New Jersey, which Mr. Bush lost by only 53% to 46% in 2004.”
  • Pennsylvania: “Michael Smerconish, the most popular talk-show host in Philadelphia, believes Mr. McCain has a real chance to carry the state…. His independence and maverick status are exactly the qualities that could help him carry the tightly contested Philadelphia suburbs that voted to re-elect GOP senator Arlen Specter, a moderate, in 2004 but rejected conservative Rick Santorum in 2006.”

Why did Fund stop there? He could have added that McCain could hold Virginia because its military personnel, or Florida because of all of its retirees.

Looks like Fund’s angling for a repeat of 1972.

1972 Electoral Map (Red denotes Democratic; blue denotes Republican)

1972 Electoral Map

More Nevada and South Carolina Electoral Maps

Nicholas Beaudrot has great maps measuring the strength of the leading candidates in Nevada and South Carolina.  For the Democrats in Nevada, he notes that “Clinton won big not just in Vegas, but also the two neighboring counties, while Obama won the north and fared best in the sparsely populated Northeast.”

Beaudrot’s Nevada Democratic Caucus Map
Beaudrot’s Nevada Democratic Caucus Map

For the Republicans in South Carolina, Beaudrot writes “McCain managed to win Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach areas—the last two by large margins—while Huckabee won the Greenville-Spartanburg area as well as the more socially conservative northern counties, though not by the tremendous margins he would have needed.”

Beaudrot’s South Carolina Primary Map
Beaudrot’s South Carolina Primary Map

Nevada Electoral Map

I’ll be up with more maps later today, but in the meantime, the Washington Post has the best Nevada electoral map.

Barack Obama won 11 counties but Hillary Clinton took six of the more populous counties, including Las Vegas’ Clark County. Edwards’ paltry four percent didn’t earn him one county.

Nevada Democratic Electoral Map
Nevada Democratic Electoral Map

And check this out: Amid Mitt Romney‘s 16 county thumpin’ was one Nye County that chose Ron Paul.

Nevada Republican Electoral Map

Nevada Republican Electoral Map