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Sunday, October 24, 2004

The New Republic > OHIO'S NOT ENOUGH:

Two of the best sites for polling analysis, Ruy Teixeira's DonkeyRising and Chris Bowers's and Jerome Armstrong's MyDD, note that a string of recent polls in Ohio suggest that the state is closing for Kerry. MyDD's poll of Ohio polls shows Kerry ahead by two points, 48-46. Bush has clearly de-emphasized the state. Today was his first visit since October 2, and he doesn't have a return trip on his schedule yet. [UPDATE: He'll be back in Ohio on Wednesday.] But contrary to the CW, an Ohio victory for Kerry doesn't necessarily mean he will win the election.
Let's look again at our remaining ten swing states. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire are leaning towards Kerry. Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and West Virginia are leaning towards Bush. That gets Kerry to 262 electoral votes and Bush to 254. I wrote recently that Kerry's path to victory--270 electoral votes--was "Ohio plus 7." But since then, New Hampshire has shifted toward Kerry and New Mexico has shifted away from him, resulting in a net loss of one electoral vote. So now it's Ohio plus 8.
The states to watch over the next few days are Wisconsin (10), Iowa (7), and New Mexico (5), the three states that Bush will be hitting Sunday through Tuesday as he tries to make up for the potential loss of Ohio's 20 electoral votes.
In fact, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Mexico might now be the key to the whole election. Democrats have won all three states in the last three presidential contests, but in 2000 they were also the three states that gave Al Gore his slimmest margins of victory: New Mexico by .1 percent, Wisconsin by .2 percent, and Iowa by .3 percent. Ralph Nader is again on the ballot in all three states, and recent polls in all three places are inconclusive. Even if Kerry wins Ohio, to win the election he has to also win either Wisconsin or both Iowa and New Mexico. Like West Virginia in 2000, these are the three spots where Karl Rove could pick his opponent's pockets.


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