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Ohio (20): Until last week, Bush had gone missing from Ohio for a period of about two weeks. I thought this troubling, since the polls showed Kerry leading. But this shows why they run campaigns, and I just write about them. Apparently the Republican Party has a very intricate get-out-the-vote organization here and it is questionable to what extent the Democrats have much of anything comparable. Add to that the fact that social conservatives will come out in droves to vote for a ballot initiative banning gay marriage, and it is not surprising that most of the recent polls show Bush opening up a small lead. Looks like the conservatives are coming home. Ohio Votes Bush.
Pennsylvania (21): Kerry’s lead seems to have shrunk a little in the last week. But it seems too little too late. Kerry will win here by 1 to 2 points. Pennsylvania Votes Kerry.
West Virginia (5): Bush appears to up by 8-9 points here now. West Virginia Votes Bush.
Wisconsin (10): This may be the toughest state to call. Bush led in the polls here until last Wednesday, and then Kerry showed a small lead. The one factor I see playing in Kerry’s favor is that Democratic Senator Russ Feingold will win big here, probably pulling some people toward Kerry. It won’t surprise me if Bush wins here, but for now I’m betting Wisconsin Votes Kerry.
By my count, that is Bush 286, Kerry 252.
A few final thoughts:
First, Bush supporters have some cause to be nervous. If either Florida or Ohio votes Kerry, well, you can do the math. Both of those states are still close. Ohio is particularly troubling as it is a state that shouldn’t be too hard for the GOP to prevail (and for why it isn’t, go here).
That said, Kerry supporters should be even more nervous. Of the states that Bush won last time, Kerry is battling Bush only in Florida, Ohio, and New Hampshire. New Hampshire may be irrelevant; thanks to reapportionment, Bush can lose New Hampshire but win all of the other states he won last time and still come away with 274 electoral votes. Of the states that Gore won last time, Bush is battling Kerry in Hawaii(?), Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In short, Bush is fighting far more on Kerry’s territory than vice-versa. Bush has more room to make up a loss in Ohio than Kerry does to make up a loss in Michigan.
Finally, if Kerry should pull out a squeaker, I hope that Bush concedes in a timely fashion. He should not mount a Gore-like legal challenge barring substantial evidence of voter fraud in a state that went narrowly for Kerry. There are three reasons. First, we are trying to bring democracy to the Middle East, and we will be setting a bad example if we can’t resolve our elections shortly after the polls close. Next, opinion polls show Americans worried that we are headed for another Florida-like imbroglio; another one this time, and Americans will become increasingly cynical about our system of government, something that could hurt us in the long run. Finally, Bush should do it for the good of the GOP. If he mounts a legal challenge, the Party will take a long time recovering from a media-hyped charge of hypocrisy.
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