Here's the map from 2004. Had John Kerry won Ohio, he would have won - by one Electoral Vote. As it stands right now, Obama is poised to win all those "Kerry" states from 2004, plus (and here is my prediction, folks, please pay close attention, because I will either eat some serious crow in two weeks, or feel all smug and "I told you so"):
- Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado
These, I think, are pretty safe Electoral College picks. This would leave Obama with 296 Electoral Votes, and John McCain with 241 Electoral College votes. This is a kind of baseline prediction, and I feel pretty confident it will be the shape of the Electoral map. On the other hand, in a flight of fancy (and based upon recent polling showing Obama and McCain dead even in the following states, and being wishful and wistful as we sprint towards the finish line):
- North Carolina, Florida (Schadefreude, thy name is the Sunshine State), and Nevada
Should these three states turn blue, that would add 47 Electoral Votes to Obama's total, and subtract that same amount from McCain, for a total respectively of 343 for Obama and 194 for McCain.
While the former scenario represents a substantial win, certainly more comfortable than either of Bush's, the latter scenario would make many sit up and take notice (especially a win in either Florida or North Carolina; a win in both and I believe Cokie Roberts would get the vapors).
So, to sum up - two levels of prediction. My first, safe and confident one has Obama winning 296 to 241 Electoral College votes. My wistful prediction has him winning 343-194. I will hold both numbers, with the first as a lower threshold, and the second as a (possible) higher one. Anything within this range, and I will be happy to collect whatever prize awaits me.
UPDATE: If you click you will see a potential map that already has Obama winning, with 277. What I find most interesting about this map are Ohio and Indiana are considered toss ups. Should Obama win these, especially Indiana, then, well, I think the "L" word could be used to describe Obama's win (no, not "lesbian").