Betting on the races

The astute and prescient Richard Baehr is taking a look down the road at the shape of the 2008 election — an election he sees between Clinton and Giuliani:

The 2008 Presidential contest is shaping up to be similar to the 2000 and 2004 races. Those two races had very similar red – blue maps. In 2000, Bush won 30 states (including all the states in the South), and in 2004 Bush won 31 states. He picked up Iowa and New Mexico in 2004, in each case winning by less than 10,000 votes, after losing both states by similar narrow margins in 2000, and Bush lost New Hampshire in 2004, after narrowly winning the state in 2000. This was similar to the pattern in the 1992 and 1996 races, when but 5 states changed from one election to the next (Clinton gaining Florida and Arizona in 1996, and losing Colorado, Montana and Georgia that year). Clinton won 32 states in 1992 and 31 in 1996. The big shift was from 1996 to 2000, when the GOP picked up 11 states it had lost in 1996: Ohio, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada and Arizona.

Looking at the map for 2008, Giuliani would bring strength to the GOP in the northeast (where it is now weakest), and maybe the Midwest region among suburban voters, and would likely run weaker than Bush did in the South (where the Party has been the strongest) and Southwest. In 2004, Bush won Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada and Ohio by less than 3%, and Florida and Colorado by 5%. All six states will be very competitive in 2008. John Kerry won New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by less than 3%, and Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon by 3 to 4%. All six states are likely to be competitive, with the possible exception of New Hampshire, which is trending Democratic. Giuliani probably puts New Jersey and its 15 Electoral votes in play. On the other side, Virginia (13) and Arkansas (6) are the most winnable Southern states for the Democrats (other than Florida), and Missouri will likely be a close race as well (Bush won by 7% in 2004).

Baehr also takes on the question of possible VPs.  In a race that’s inevitably going to be close, selecting the right VP may be the difference between victory and defeat.

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