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Final Electoral Predictions: What a McCain Upset Would Look Like

Cross-posted from NextGenGOP.

At this point, I don’t think that any of us can effectively predict what the outcome of tomorrow’s elections will be. Quite frankly, I’m not even sure that we’ll know the who the next President of the United States is going to be for many hours, if not days, after polls close. That said, it seems that there are three possible scenarios that could play out in tomorrow’s Presidential election:

  1. Barack Obama wins in a huge landslide.
  2. Barack Obama wins in a close race.
  3. John McCain pulls off an historical upset in a close race.

Barack Obama Wins in a Huge Landslide

This seems to be the narrative that the Leftosphere would like us to believe. This scenario seems to be the most unlikely due to a number of factors, including the huge percentage of undecided voters (which should break for McCain), McCain’s success in raising doubts in the minds of voters about Barack Obama, and Obama’s struggles with working-class voters in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Nonetheless, if current polling is to be believed, then we should see a such a landslide with an electoral map looking something like this (this is pulled straight from the RCP “No Toss Up States” map):

Barack Obama Wins in a Close Race

Unfortunately, I strongly believe that this scenario is the most likely. Basically, I see Florida and Ohio departing from their current polling numbers and going for McCain. Obama is polling near, but not at, the 50% mark in each of the states, and I think that the vast majority of undecided voters will swing to McCain in these states, allowing him to win each of them, albeit closely. Thus, the final electoral map in this scenario would look like this:

John McCain Pulls of an Historic Upset in a Close Race

I am extremely hopeful that John McCain can pull off an upset tomorrow. Unfortunately, looking at the electoral maps above, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he can accomplish such a difficult feat. However, if it’s going to happen, I think that in addition to Ohio and Florida bucking the current polling trends, so will Pennsylvania and, out of necessity, another state with a couple of electoral votes. Based on current RCP averages, I’m of the opinion that Nevada is the other state most likely to swing.

First, let’s talk about Pennsylvania. I’m Pittsburgh born and raised, and so I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life. As a former Santorum 2006 staffer, I know that accomplishing a statewide victory in Pennsylvania is an incredible challenge for Republicans. However, I also believe that the dynamics of Pennsylvania’s electorate make it the next most likely state to flip from polling projections after Ohio and Florida. No, this isn’t because we’re racist or a bunch of rednecks (although I believe that Murtha’s comments may drive an increased number of Republicans in his district to the polls tomorrow, which is undoubtedly in McCain’s favor). Rather, I believe that the blue collar voters of Pennsylvania, although reliably Democrat, find it extremely difficult to swallow Barack Obama’s “spread the wealth around” policies – and as a result, they may either decide to not vote at all, or to pull the lever for John McCain. Additionally, there are a number of highly competitive Congressional races in PA in which an outcry of Republican voters could help turn the race in favor of McCain. Specifically, I look to William Russell’s race against John Murtha (which I mentioned above), but also to Lou Barletta’s race against the filthy Paul Kanjorski, in which I think Lou will defeat Kanjorski. With Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida going against polling trends, the electoral college stands at 270 for Obama-Biden to 268 for McCain-Palin, requiring one more state to flip for a McCain-Palin victory.

In my eyes, there are two other states that potentially could end up becoming red despite polling that indicates otherwise: Virginia and Nevada. Winning in either of these states will prove difficult for John McCain. However, he only has to flip one of them from its polling trends in order to win. So a McCain-Palin victory might look something like this:

The roadmap to victory for the McCain-Palin ticket is enormously difficult and quite improbable, although certainly not impossible. Some important questions to ponder over the next day or so: Can Barack Obama close? Will the GOP’s vaunted GOTV machine have the success we’ve seen in previous elections? Will young voters turn out in droves, and if so, will they really disproportionately vote for Obama? And, most importantly, does John McCain’s campaign have the ability to pull off an unprecedented and historic electoral victory?

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