Jack Tapper acquired two interesting maps today from the consulting firm of Karl Rove & Co. The first measures John McCain against Barack Obama, and the second pits McCain against Hillary Clinton. Some of the battlegrounds are the usual suspects, but Rove has a few surprises for us. In the McCain-Obama matchup, Rove has Obama taking 238 electoral votes to McCain's 221, with 79 up for grabs. McCain has strong leads in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, but Obama is up in Colorado and Virginia. McCain edges Obama in a few key states such as Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and New Mexico, but Obama has resounding leads in the Pacific Northwest battlegrounds of Oregon and Washington.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect in Rove's matchup, however, is that McCain barely gets by Obama in North Dakota and Nebraska. It's striking that the Architect would include these two states. When the Obama camp mentioned North Dakota in a campaign memo, most pundits scoffed despite polling that indicated he could compete there. And don't forget that Obama does better in whiter states.
As for the Cornhusker State, I wrote last week that Obama should make a run at NE-01 and NE-02 (Nebraska divvies electoral votes by congressional disrict), and after scanning Poblano's data on these CD's, I'm even more convinced that Obama could take Omaha. Also keep in mind that Warren Buffett has all but endorsed Obama.
For her part, Clinton doesn't need red prairie states. Rove has her taking the big enchiladas of Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio by solid margins and racking up 259 electoral votes to McCain's 206. As for the other 79 electoral votes up for grabs, he has Clinton winning the blue collar states of West Virginia and Arkansas, and even putting Missouri into play.
Rove has her loosing the prime Obama targets of Virginia, Iowa and Colorado by solid margins and also letting Wisconsin slip. His scenarios suggest that Clinton would also get wiped clean in the Plains and in the West, and would give McCain an opening in the Pacific Northwest.
But before we enshrine Rove's political predictions as the gospel, Tapper points to too every important caveats:
- "States are allocated in Rove's exercise based on an average of public polls, which many pollsters would tell you is a rather unscientific way to look at the data."
- (Paraphrased by Teagan Goddard) Rove is not exactly a neutral observer in the presidential race.
Rove & Co.'s Obama vs. McCain Electoral Map
Rove & Co.'s Clinton vs. McCain Electoral Map