Friday, August 22, 2008

Electoral Update - Enough Is Enough. Obama Fights Back.

Last week's Electoral Projection focused on the Democrat's chances in Alaska and John McCain's climb up the electoral ladder. In this week's projection, McCain keeps on climbing in Missouri, and Obama is still stuck in the electoral mud.

Over the past three weeks, the nation has witnessed a flurry of GOP bombs hurled at Barack Obama.  Besides the Paris and Brittany ads attacking his popularity, a slew of anti-Obama books have hit the shelves including Corsi's The Obama Nation.  The attacks worked, and projections everywhere, including our own, show McCain gaining serious ground while Obama remains flat (graph). Meanwhile, the media pile on.

As national numbers have drifted toward John McCain's favor, so have battlegrounds like Missouri where Obama has now fallen behind in the last three consecutive polls by an average of 7 points.  As a result, we've moved Missouri from tossup to McCain.

We've been waiting for several days for Obama to change the dialogue of this election. And just three weeks ago, I was asking, "Where's the beef?" in Obama's campaign. The Mister Nice Guy approach hasn't worked for him since March when Hillary Clinton began throwing flames of her own. 

So finally, after closing his eyes and taking a vacation, Obama is fighting back.  Last week, in a first sign of showing teeth, Obama firmly warned John McCain to not question his patriotism. And yesterday,  Obama tore into McCain's perceived notion of a "fundamentally strong economy" and reminded Americans of McCain's wealthy lifestyle. I get the sense that Obama is getting sick of being pushed around by the playground bully.   

The new aggressive strategy is almost certain to be a preamble of what's to come at next week's Democratic Convention in Denver. After eight years of losing close elections as a result of not waging an all-out political war, the new strategy will be well received.  The words of George W. Bush are rarely appropriate, but for this moment, they are.  "Bring it on!"

We're starting to see a finer definition of where the battlegrounds are going to be in 2008. If the election remains close, it appears the race for the White House will be won or lost in Virginia (13), Colorado (9), Ohio (20), Florida (27), Nevada (5), and North Carolina (15).  

Barack Obama needs to win just 18 electoral votes in states where Kerry lost.*  He's off to a good start with leads in Bush states, NM (5) and IA (7), but that won't be enough.  The battlegrounds listed above represent 89 electoral votes where Obama is most capable of winning.  He cannot afford to lose ground in places like Minnesota and New Hampshire where Obama is ahead but by smaller margins than he was one month ago.
* Kerry fell 19 electoral votes shy of 270 in 2008 with one elector from MN voting for John Edwards.

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