Tag Archives: Ohio

The Five Places McCain Should Go

Cross-posted at The Next Right.

Politico‘s Charlie Mahtesian and Amie Parnes wrote an article yesterday about the “Five Places Obama Should Go,” and four out of the five areas they identified were places where he struggled against Clinton: Broward County, FL (Jews), Youngstown, OH (blue-collar, gun-owning Catholics), San Antonio (Latinos) and Mingo Couny, WV (“the heart of the anti-Obama belt”). The fifth suggestion — Maricopa County, AZ — was clearly aimed at McCain.

If four out of the five places Obama has to go are aimed at shoring up his base, it means he still has plenty of loose ends to tie up from the primary before he starts trying to win over independents and Republicans.

With that in mind, where are the five places that McCain should go?

This is a tough one, since most of his weaknesses seem to be more personal (age, speaking skills, Bush) rather than geographic. Still, I think visiting areas where Obama is vulnerable and putting him on the defensive would be a smart move — So, how about:

  1. Ohio River Valley Tour — From Pittsburgh to St. Louis — When it comes to the Ohio River Valley, the bad news for the GOP is that the party’s brand is in poor shape in this border region and has been resulting in substantial loses on the congressional level (think PA-04, OH-18, KY-03, IN-08 and IN-09, and the near-miss in OH-02). The good news for the GOP is that Obama is very unpopular here and was pummeled by Hillary in the primaries. In one trip, McCain could hit competitive areas in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, while also challenging the myth that Kentucky could become competitve and even making a symbolic swing through the Land of Lincoln.
  2. Fairfield County, Conn. — A campaign stop with New York-area Jews and Joe Lieberman would inevitably shine a light on Obama’s comments about Iran and would fan media speculation that the state could become competitive. And Henry Kissinger lives in Kent, an hour up the beautiful Housatonic Valley from Fairfield County — perhaps he could lend an opinion on Obama’s foreign policy?
  3. Northern Suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis. — The suburbs will be key nationwide and Wisconsin is a vital target state for the GOP. The north and west ‘burbs of Milwaukee also “remain overwhelmingly Republican,” notes Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. But “If Obama can crack them to any degree he probably wins the state by several points.” Besides shoring up support with voters, a McCain appearance in the “Beer Capital of the World” would also remind the media that he’s the beer track candidate and Obama is the wine track one. It would also be smart to campaign with fellow Teddy Roosevelt Republican Tommy Thompson.
  4. Grand Rapids — Michigan might be Obama’s most blue vulnerable state and Gerald Ford’s hometown is at the ideological intersection of what Patrick Ruffini once called “the real dividing lines of” the GOP primary — wealthy suburbanites, religious conservatives and Ford-like mainline moderates. A smart sidekick would be Mitt Romney, who beat McCain in Grand Rapids by a 38-31% margin.
  5. Iowa, Early and Often — Iowa might be McCain’s most vulnerable state; he clearly has never built much of an operation here. He needs to visit Iowa… repeatedly.



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.

Hillary Analyzes the Electoral Map

No, not this blog, but the small-letter electoral map. Here’s what she had to say about the political geography:

“You have to look at what the electoral map is likely to be in the fall, and I don’t think anybody doubts that a Democrat has to have a number of the big states anchored in order to put together the electoral votes needed to win.

“There’s a generally accepted position that Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are the critical swing states for Democrats, and that you have to try to win at least two out of three. I would like to win three out of three, and I think it is significant that I have won Ohio and I’ve won Florida, and I’ve won the big states that would serve as those anchors for the electoral map.”

Anchors away, Mrs. Clinton!

Hill is Racking Up Huge Wins in Appalachia

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interesting postmortem about how Hillary Clinton won Ohio by racking up votes in the rural part of the state. Plain Dealer reporter Mark Naymik noted, “It came down to places like ‘The Little Smokies,’ the hilly region where the Scioto and Ohio rivers meet, more than 200 miles south of Cleveland.” In Scioto County, for example, Hillary won with a whopping 81%.

Hillary success in the region was due in no small part to her support from Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who was born in Scioto County and used to represent the Sixth Congressional District along the Ohio River.

J-Mart also picked up on Hill’s success in Ohio Appalachia, noting, “She won every county in Strickland’s old district, many of them with over 70% of the vote.”

That’s true, but Clinton has also dominated in Appalachian counties from Winchester, Va. to Chattanooga, Tenn. In Virginia, she only won one congressional district, and that was rugged Ninth District represented by Rick Boucher, who happens to be a fervent Obama support.

Judging by her success in Appalachia so far, can we expect her to absolutely dominate in Pennsyltucky?

Hillary Clinton’s Ohio Electoral Map (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Hillary Clinton’s Ohio Electoral Map

Ohio Congressional Districts (Hat tip, Jonathan Martin)

Ohio Congressional Districts

Democratic Virginia Electoral Map (New York Times)

Democratic Virginia Electoral Map

Virginia Ninth Congressional District (NationalAtals.gov)

Virginia Ninth Congressional District

“Pennsyltucky” (Wikipedia) — everything between Philly and Pittsburgh.



Darke Outlook for Democrats in Rural Ohio

The Washington Post has a really interesting article today about the voting habits in western Ohio and Darke County in particular.  They conclude that Darke County is as out of the hands of Democrats now as it was in 2004, when George W. Bush took over 70%.  Since its an article about Dems and rural strategy, the Post naturally has to quote my pal from The Hotline, Mudcat Saunders.  Mudcat has some good insight about how Dems don’t need to win there, but should at least cut their losses.

The article’s worth a read.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Democrats have been pummeled at the polls [here] since Ronald Reagan‘s presidency. The flat state highway takes you past acres and acres of brown farmland first, with wooden barns in the distance and hardly ever a political sign planted in a yard. Greenville is the seat of Darke County, which typically ranks first in the state in corn and soybean production.


“‘We don’t have to win these counties, but we have to lose them better,'” says John Hagner, the state party’s field and targeting director. The fall strategy: Win southeastern Ohio, compete in the small towns of the north and cut the losses in the exurban and rural counties, such as Darke.”

2004 Ohio Electoral Map (CNN.com)

2004 Ohio Electoral Map

2006 Gubernatorial Electoral Map (CNN.com)

2006 Gubernatorial Electoral Map

2008 Democratic Primary Electoral Map (New York Times)

2008 Democratic Primary Electoral Map

Super Tuesday II Maps: Hillary Confirms Her Coalition

Hillary Clinton made another first down last night, but it wasn’t enough to put her into the lead. She also reaffirmed the narrative that she has strong support in blue-collar and Latino communities, winning the Rust-Belt state of Ohio by 10 points and the border state of Texas by four.

In Ohio, she took the two counties surrounding Youngstown — the town that Springsteen lamented was littered by “scrap and rubble” — by a combined 46,000 votes. It was a clear display of her appeal in economically depressed areas.

In Texas, she won El Paso — the town that lent its name to a salsa — by 41,255 votes, and took Hidalgo County — home to the border-boomtown of McAllen — by 39,603. Those wide margins of victories demonstrated her appeal with Latinos.

For his part, Barack Obama made up significant ground in the last two weeks and nearly clipped Hilary in Texas, but geographically, he doesn’t have much to brag about.

In Ohio, he won only the counties that house Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati (and one more bordering Columbus) and lost 83 counties. In Texas, he won 25 counties — mostly pocketed around Dallas, Austin and Houston — and lost 226 counties. Obama’s dependence on urban votes certainly didn’t do much to prove his argument that he has appeal in traditionally red areas.

On the GOP side, McCain swept all 88 counties in Ohio and won 184 in Texas. Mike Huckabee was able to take a cluster near the Arkansas border that rippled southwest from Texarkana (which by the way he won by 48 points).

Oh yeah, and there were elections in Vermont and Rhode Island on Tuesday, too. McCain won every county in the GOP contests in both states, Obama swept the Green Mountain State and Hillary swept the Ocean State.

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Texas Republican Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Democratic Electoral Map

Texas Republican Electoral Map (New York Times)

Ohio Republican Electoral Map

Super Tuesday II

The Electoral Map will have Super Tuesday II results as soon as they’re available.  McCain is cruising to big victories in Texas and Ohio, and according to Huck —  who is giving his concession speech as I type this — the Arizona senator “will achieve the 1,191 delegates to become the Republican nominee.”

On the Dem side, Hill is looking unexpectedly strong in Ohio and Obama is winning in Texas.  Vermont has great local beers and Rhode Island has awesome chowdah, but neither state has many delegates.  That being said, Obama and McCain won the Green Mountain State, and the Ocean State is too close to call.

I’ll post the full results as they come in — stay tuned!