Sunday, October 24, 2004



Sat Oct 23rd, 2004 at 20:14:08 GMT

So what's going on with Ohio? No Republican has won the presidency in modern times without carrying Ohio. Yet here we are the, the final month of the election, and Bush has been in the Buckeye State once, with only a short visit planned before election day.

It can't be the overconfidence. Not only is Kerry leading in most of the October polling in the state, but Bush is below 50 percent in all of them.

Fact is, Ohio is a glaring problem in Bush's reelection stratgy. The state's job situation is bleak.

In Ohio, the jobless rate improved slightly from 6.3% last month but still hovers at 6%, well above the national average and virtually the same as a year before. This is up sharply from the 3.9% unemployment rate in Ohio when George W. Bush took office.

The race is exceedingly close in both these battleground states, but the Kerry economic pitch seems to resonate more in Ohio. One recent Democratic survey there found almost 70% of Ohio residents thought the country was on the wrong track.

Slate talks about Bush's strange Ohio strategy:
Ohio and Florida remain central to Kerry's Electoral College strategy. But for Bush, has Ohio been demoted? He's not going to start spending a lot of time in Ohio over the next few days after his Canton toe-touch. Here's his schedule after the Saturday trip to Florida: New Mexico on Sunday, Colorado and Iowa on Monday, and Wisconsin and Iowa on Tuesday. (Sunday's Alamogordo, N.M., rally is a change from the schedule issued two days ago, which showed President Bush spending the day at his Crawford ranch, with no public events. The late-inning vacation is one mistake from 2000 that Bush has apparently decided not to repeat.)
New Mexico and Wisconsin, two Gore states, are apparently Rove's replacement for an increasingly out-of-reach Ohio. Here is what's becoming Rove's best-case scenario map:

Note Bush's upcoming schedule -- lots of Iowa, NM and Wisconsin. It increasingly looks like Bush will end up camping out in Wisconsin the last week of the election. Because without Wisconsin, he can't pull it off. (And here I am assuming that MN is increasingly out of reach -- a fact confirmed by Bush's upcoming travel schedule.)

The map above puts the EV count at 262 Kerry, 254 Bush. NM and IA, combined, would not offset a Kerry victory in WI. Bush needs both Wisconsin and either Iowa or New Mexico. Wisconsin and NM, in this scenario, gives us the dreaded 269-269 tie that would send matters to the House of Representatives and a likely Bush victory (here's an old analysis of how a tie would play out).

For the record, this is the map I'm betting on today:

That would give Kerry a 311-227 victory. And I still think we have legitimate chances to take NV, CO, MO and WV, and outside chances to take VA, NC, AR, and AZ.


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