Monday, June 16, 2008

A Lot of Ways to 270

270 is the magic number to win the presidency and Obama and his team are working out many paths to win, including without Florida and Ohio. As you may know, those two states helped George Bush get elected the last two times.

In the primary, some Ohio democrats weren't inclined to vote for a black man (too bad for them), though Obama is up slightly over McCain in Ohio. Florida is filled with older people, who have, let's call them, old fashioned thoughts as well. McCain's lead in Florida has shrunk in the past couple of weeks.

AP: Asked about his remarks, Plouffe said Ohio and Florida start out very competitive — but he stressed that they are not tougher than other swing states and said Obama will play "extremely hard" for both. But he said the strategy is not reliant on one or two states.

"You have a lot of ways to get to 270," Plouffe said. "Our goal is not to be reliant on one state on November 4th."

Plouffe has been pitching such a new approach to the electoral map in calls and meetings, according to several people who discussed the conversations on the condition of anonymity because they were meant to be private. Plouffe confirmed the descriptions in the interview.

Plouffe and his aides are weighing where to contest, and where chances are too slim to marshal a large effort. A win in Virginia (13 electoral votes) or Georgia (15 votes) could give Obama a shot if he, like Kerry, loses Ohio or Florida.

Plouffe also has been touting Obama's appeal in once Republican-leaning states where Democrats have made gains in recent gubernatorial and congressional races, such as Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota.

Obama's campaign has spent heavily on time and money in Virginia, where a Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won since 1964. In recent elections, however, high-profile Republicans have lost there. And in a sign of how serious Obama is taking the state, Plouffe dispatched to Virginia many aides who helped Obama stage his upset win in the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3.

The key, Plouffe told supporters, will be to register new black voters and new young voters in Virginia.

The common belief is that no one wins the presidency without ohio but Obama has bucked the common wisdom to this point.

If Sen. Obama is ahead solidly in Ohio, Colorado and Virginia and competitive in Florida, he will be headed for the Oval Office with a mandate.

Ohio is the single most important state. No Republican has ever been elected president without carrying it, and if Sen. Obama could win it, the chances of Sen. McCain breaking the pattern are slim, although possible.

Moreover, if Sen. Obama carries Ohio, he is likely to carry Pennsylvania and Michigan. They are similar demographically to Ohio, but slightly more Democratic, and Obama victories in those three would ensure his election.

Should he crack Virginia, that would be a hugely positive omen. The Old Dominion has not gone Democratic for president since 1964, but Sen. Obama thinks a large African-American vote and the trending-Democratic suburbs of Washington, D.C., could do the trick.

More guesswork that suggests a comfortable win for Obama

Obama Redistribution of Wealth