Scenarios: How the Race Can Be Won
Slate is asking today whether Bush has given up on Ohio. This is a silly question since he's ahead, slightly, in that state.
The author goes on to suggest that Bush isn't worried about Ohio because he can win without it. To see if he's right, let's play with the numbers. The states in play are:
- New Mexico...........5 votes
- Iowa.....................7 votes
- Wisconsin............10 votes
- Ohio...................20 votes
- Florida................27 votes
- New Hampshire.....4 votes
Slate is right that Bush could win without Ohio. If Bush takes Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida he wins 271-262 with Kerry taking the other tossups (New Mexico, Ohio, and New Hampshire).
Slate also said that Bush can't win without Florida. This is not exactly true. With 27 electoral votes, Florida is one powerful fence-sitter. It is conceivable though that Bush could win 273-265 by taking all the other toss-ups: New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Hampshire.
Here's a nightmare: 269 - 269. This could happen two different ways (that I can see). Bush takes New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Florida; but loses Iowa, Ohio, and New Hampshire. Or, Bush takes New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio; but loses Florida and New Hampshire.
In a tie the election would be decided in the Senate. With the Senate as evenly divided as it is, Cheney could possibly cast the deciding vote. Can you imagine the Bush-hatred on the left if that happened? We wouldn't hear the end of it for a generation.
Removing the tossup states from the count, Kerry is holding 238 electoral votes, and Bush has 227 votes. This would seem to be an advantage for Kerry (and it is), but it helps Bush that of the tossups, he's slightly ahead in two and tied in the other four.
Tradesports is currently showing an electoral vote count of 274 - 238. This vote count excludes New Hampshire, New Mexico, Iowa, and Wisconsin because they are too close to call. Because Bush is above the magic number "270," losing the four tied tossups wouldn't change the outcome. The final count would be 274-264 Bush.
The 2004 Poll Watcher helped me calculate vote counts for this post.