Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 307 Bush 231
News from the Votemaster
A new poll in Oklahoma shows Bush still way ahead. He has Oklahoma locked up. Of perhaps more interest is Rasmussen's two-week poll ending August 8th in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three key industrial states. He didn't report on the states individually, though. Collectively, he reports that Kerry has a 5% lead. Our current state polls put Kerry ahead by 12% in Pennsylvania and 11% in Michigan and Bush ahead by 5% in Ohio. If we just add these up weighted by population, we get a Kerry lead of 8%, certainly within the MoE of Rasmussen's poll. It looks like that region is stable for the moment. The next scheduled news that might affect the race there is the September BLS jobs number, which comes out just hours after Bush's acceptance speech at the RNC.
Rasmussen also gave his electoral college totals: Kerry 228, Bush 197. States with a difference of less than 5% (what we call "Barely") are not counted. Our data gives Kerry 253, Bush 186, with 270 needed to win. Rasmussen is only using his own polls whereas this site uses his, Zogby's, Mason-Dixon's, ARG's and several others.
Several people noticed that using the new interactive maps it is easy to produce a tie in the electoral college. In fact, if you look at the map for Aug. 6 and Bush wins Missouri, you have a tie. What is supposed to happen next is described on the Electoral college page, namely, the newly-elected House of Representatives chooses the president, with each state having one vote. To make it easier to see how that would come out with the current House, I have colored the Excel spreadsheet with the state data to indicate which party controls which state delegation. Currently the Republicans control 31, the Democrats control 14, and 5 are tied. While the Democrats have a chance to recapture the majority of seats in the House, they have no chance in the world to capture a majority of the state delegations, especially since a number of the states in the West have one or two (well-entrenched) Representatives. Thus if the electoral college is tied and the House votes, Bush wins. However, all is not lost for the Democrats. The Senate picks the Vice President, so if the Democrats pick up the two seats needed to recapture the Senate, we get a hybrid administration: Bush-Edwards. And don't forget, the Vice President's one constitutional power is to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate. It could get real dicey.
And then there is the problem of faithless electors. How much does it cost to buy an elector? $5 million? $10 million? $50 million? Can they be auctioned off on E-Bay? Throughout history, there have been eight faithless electors, most recently in 2000. The problem also occurs if the electoral college score is Kerry 270, Bush 268. If one Kerry elector jumps ship it becomes a tie and the House elects Bush.
One state (Missouri) and six counties are true bellwethers: they have voted with the winner in every presidential election since 1960. While campaigns rarely focus on individual counties, Missouri is surely going to get a lot of attention this time. If Bush wins Ohio, Florida, Nevada and West Virginia and Kerry sweeps the Northeast, the Pacific coast, and the upper Midwest, it may all come down to Missouri. Watch it closely.
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