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Either candidate has chance to win in November election

Josh Goldberg

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Opinion
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In the wake of the debates, many are asking if the GOP has a chance this November. The answer is unequivocally yes. The CNN electoral map shows Obama ahead of McCain with 264 presumptive electoral votes to McCain's 174. This leaves 100 electoral votes up for grabs in states that haven't completely swung for either candidate. The marquee races this year will be found in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Missouri, and Virginia.

Florida, since the Goldwater revolution of the 1960s, has typically voted Republican, save for two instances, both of which featured candidates from the south. Obama leads the latest poll by five points, and McCain has been slipping since late September. However, the state voted twice for Bush and is currently run by an immensely popular Republican governor. There is still a race to be had in the Sunshine State.

The latest polls also indicate a virtual tie between Obama and McCain in North Carolina. This is shocking electoral news since Democrats have not fared well on the presidential level in North Carolina for nearly 20 years. Similarly shocking is Obama's slight lead in Virginia, another state that has not voted blue in over four elections. Should either of these states vote in favor of Obama, McCain's chances of election are slim to none. Virginia and North Carolina comprise 28 precious electoral votes that have usually been assumed to go red.

All polling data conducted in Ohio favors Obama by less than three points, which is well within the margin of error. In order for Obama to seal the deal in the Buckeye State, he needs to step up the political pressure on the rural areas of the state to vote Democrat. Conversely, John McCain needs to bring his message to the urban areas of the state in order to garner more support from Republicans living in the inner city and surrounding suburbs. In both Bush victories, Ohio voted with the President, but his margin of victory was razor thin.

Out west, Nevada and Colorado are still up for grabs, as are their combined electoral contribution of 14 votes. If either candidate were to lose one or more of the states listed, these two are the least detrimental. Both have featured very close races in recent elections. Obama's pro-union message is not lost on the thousands of casino workers in Nevada, and Colorado has a long history of supporting Independent candidates. McCain still plays out well with Independents, and having voted for Republican presidential candidates in the last three elections, McCain might be able to capitalize.

Missouri has voted for the winner of the presidential races for years now, prompting the saying "as goes Missouri, so goes the nation." Regardless if the saying is true or not, the state is currently, according to polling, leaning toward Obama if one were to ignore the margin of error.

A few additional states to watch for: In a Washington state post-debate survey, 40 percent of respondents said that McCain won the debate; 38 percent said Obama was the winner. The state usually votes Democratic. In New Hampshire, the heavy concentration of Independents might swing the state's four electoral votes to McCain as well.
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