SurveyUSA released a series of polls in all 50 states on Thursday that measure both John McCain against Hillary Clinton and McCain against Barack Obama. The results should be taken with a grain of salt considering SurveyUSA uses robocalls instead of live people, but the results are still fascinating.
The key takeaway is that either Dem would beat McCain. But the results also show that the electoral map is going to be scrambled this year, with McCain making potential inroads into traditionally blue states in the Northeast, and either Obama turning the Mountain West into the massive battleground or Hillary picking off a couple of the key states that slayed Al Gore and John Kerry.
If Obama is the Democratic nominee, the SurveyUSA polls suggest that he’d put into play states that Dem strategists have lustily watched turn purple. The polls show Virginia and North Carolina within reach, and Obama winning Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. (The polls also have him competing in Texas and Florida, which I’m going to dismiss as aberrations for now.)
But Obama would have to watch his back in the Northeast. The polls suggest that New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Michigan would be ripe targets from McCain. The Arizona senator would have rock solid support in SEC Country, which could free him from having to worry about a least one faction of the GOP coalition eroding.
If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, the polls indicate that she would probably win Arkansas and Florida, both states where the Clinton brand remains popular. But Clinton would loose several key states, including Iowa, and she would be decimated in the West. The SurveryUSA polls have her loosing every Mountain West state as well as Washington and Oregon.
Ezra sums up it very well:
“Obama’s electoral coalition is Western, while Clinton relies more on the Midwest. He’s Sun Belt, she’s Rust Belt. Moreover, many states have them performing wildly different from one another.”
Nicholas Beaudrot, at the go-to Cogitmausblog, takes is a step further and produced a map detailing the states where Obama and Clinton perform well relative to each other (Map 5). He found that Obama would do much better than HRC in Vermont, Nebraska and Utah, while Hillary would have a better showing than Obama in Arkansas and West Virginia.
Beaudrot also makes a great point about the coattail effect:
“In the states with the ten most competitive Senate races, Obama does better than Clinton in eight of them; only Kentucky and Louisiana are better for Clinton (and, seriously, if Mary Landrieu can’t win 25% of the white vote in Louisiana, she’s got bigger problems). There’s also the third tier of Senate races, in places like North Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota (that’s a defense), Texas, and Idaho, where Obama does better in four of five and ties Clinton in the fifth. Should Rick Noriega or Scott Kleeb catch lightning in a bottle, it would be better to have Obama at the top of the ticket. Put Tom Daschle or Ed Rendell as VP and he’ll be unstoppable.”
And Kos sums up those sentiments this way (which I agree with):
“It’s clear that in those states (and many others like it), Obama will be a dramatic help at the top of the ticket versus Clinton, who will play the traditional role of top-of-the-ticket albatross.”
(Map 1) SurveyUSA: John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton
(Map 2) SurveyUSA: John McCain vs. Barack Obama
(Map 3) CogitamusBlog: John McCain vs. Hillary Clinton
(Map 4) CogitamusBlog: John McCain vs. Barack Obama
(Map 5) CogitamusBlog: Clinton Vs. Obama Realtive Strength