The Plank

Mccain's Mountain Of A Problem


Our model does not make any specific adjustments for early voting, but
it is presenting a major problem for John McCain in three states in the
Mountain West region, where Barack Obama has a huge fraction of his
vote locked in.In the wee hours of this morning, Public Policy Polling released data from Colorado and New Mexico.
The toplines are strong for Obama, giving him leads of 10 and 17
points, respectively in those states. What's worse for McCain, however,
is that PPP estimates that nearly two-thirds of Coloradans have already
cast their ballots, as have 55-60 percent of New Mexicans, with large
majorities of those votes going to Barack Obama. This is backed up to
some extent by Michael McDonald's turnout statistics.
In Colorado, the state had already processed approximately 1.3 million
ballots as of Thursday, around 60 percent of the total 2004 turnout. In
Bernalillo County (Albuquerque), New Mexico (statewide figures are not
available), 145,000 ballots had been cast as of Wednesday, equaling 55
percent of 2004's total.Should
New Mexico and Colorado become safe Obama states, McCain's only
realistic path to victory runs through Pennsylvania. Even if McCain
were to win the Keystone, however -- say that Philadelphia remains in a
collective stupor from the Phillies' win and that there is some sort of
Bradley Effect in the Alleghanies -- Obama has a pretty decent firewall
in the form of Virginia and Nevada, which had already achieved 53
percent of its 2004 voting totals as of Wednesday, and where Democrats
have a 23-point edge in ballots cast so far in Las Vegas's Clark County
(and perhaps more impressively, a 15-point advantage in Reno's Washoe
County, a traditionally Republican area). The Kerry states less
Pennsylvania, but plus Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa and Virginia,
total 270 electoral votes: an ugly, nail-biter of a win for Obama, but
still one that would get him to 1600 Pennsylvania all the same.

--Nate Silver 

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