Electoral College Prediction 2004

Without further ado, here’s my prediction for the Electoral College in 2004:

This results in Bush 310/Kerry 228, and a resounding Bush win.

Read on for the method behind the madness.

“It’s The War, Stupid”

The first and most important factor here is simple: *It’s the war, stupid*. Bush has an advantage in the double digits in national security. National security is key to this election. Ergo, Bush has the advantage. It’s as simple as that. For all the doubts people have, they don’t trust John Kerry to be Commander in Chief. For instance, looking at the data from the ABC/WaPo tracking poll we see Bush with a 12-point lead on handling terrorism. We see a strong lead on Iraq.

The American people do not trust Senator Kerry to lead this country in war. They may agree with him on the economy, they may dislike Bush on social issues, and if this weren’t a wartime election, Bush would be toast right now. But for many voters, they simply do not trust a man like Senator Kerry to lead on the most crucial issue of our times.

Victory Is Spelled G-O-P G-O-T-V

Add to that analysis the GOP getting their vote out like never before. 2002 saw the first time that the GOP had a top-notch voter identification drive. This year they’re ready to do one better. The GOP has never been this organized or this effective. States like Wisconsin and Iowa that used to be safely Democratic are now swing states. States like Pennsylvania and New Jersey are even much closer than they were. Much of this is due to the Republicans doing what it takes to get voters to the polls. This massive voter drive will propel the GOP to have the highest numbers they’ve ever had.

Contrast this to the Democrats, who have outsourced their efforts to poorly-trained 527 organizations. Most of these 527s are trying to get registrations for cash, and they don’t care if the voters show up or even exist at all. Groups like ACORN, America Coming Together, and others are nothing more than electoral mercenaries for the Kerry camp. Thanks to 2000, voter fraud is harder than it was, and the Democrats are going to try to steal this election, but they won’t succeed. Like the Dean machine early this year, the Democrat’s GOTV is more smoke and mirrors than real substance. While Bush volunteers are motivated, well-trained, and providing personal contact between voters and the campaign, the Democrats are using 527s to get out their vote, and I have a feeling that will cause a backlash in key states like Ohio.

Finally, the upper Midwest usually votes as a bloc. As Iowa and Wisconsin go, Minnesota will go too. I’ve little expectation that Bush will carry Michigan, but it’s within the realm of possibility. The Minnesota Republican Party is one of the best organized in the country now, and 2002 proved that the Republicans have what it takes to get their candidates into office. Don’t be surprised if Minnesota turns into a red state, even if the margin is slim. Based on the polls, I’d say that Iowa and Wisconsin also have a strong chance at going red.

Kerry Is Playing Defense

If Bush wins Ohio and Florida, it’s over. Bush has only lost one red state from 2000: New Hampshire (which may be closer than I’m predicting). Bush has to defend Ohio and Florida, with Florida likely being safe for him. Kerry has more than likely lost New Mexico (Bush is ahead by an average of 4 points), and he’s playing defense in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Hawaii. All Bush needs is 11 electoral votes from the base of state’s he’s already picked up. Kerry has a much longer uphill battle to fight.

I’m much more confident of a Bush win than I was a while ago. Right now Bush has most of the advantage, and I have a feeling that the combination of Bush’s advantage on terrorism, better GOP GOTV, and Kerry’s inability to close the sale will lead Bush to victory. There will be a lot of 9/11 Democrats who will vote for Bush solely on the war, and they’ll probably have to take a shower afterwards. They’ll vote on the war, and only on the war. I have a feeling that there are a lot of people who are closet Bush supporters who will tilt the balance on Election Day. It doesn’t even have to be many of them – a few percent here and there are enough to tip the balance.

If the evidence that undecideds are breaking 60/40 for Bush is true, and the CBS poll is right that early voters are for Bush 51-43, it’s looking like a strong finish for the President.

At the end of the day, this race comes down to one question: who will keep America safe? In no wartime election has the more dovish candidate won in this country. I do not believe that this election will be any different.

(As a point of comparison, you can see what other pundits and bloggers are predicting here, thanks to Les Jones.)

16 thoughts on “Electoral College Prediction 2004

  1. Pingback: Les Jones's Blog
  2. Such a scenario is certainly possible, and Bush does clearly have some built-in advantages with the undecideds (they don’t want a post-election brouhaha; the topic of the day is again terrorism) yet the polls of the last 36 hours have showed Bush’s lead in the polls erased. Virtually everyone now shows a dead heat, which is a bad place for an incumbent to be. Kerry is looking considerably better two days before the election than Al Gore did, and the expected heavy turnout strongly favors Kerry.

    I don’t know if I trust an early voter poll showing Bush ahead 51-43. In Florida, we’re being told early voting favors Kerry by a 17-point margin. Considering Florida represents 10% of the electorate and probably an even higher percentage of early voters, a 25-point gap between Florida and the US at large seems highly unlikely.

    Your Upper Midwest sweep for Bush is tremendously at odds with every shred of polling data from the last 48 hours which shows Kerry surging here. Even if the Strib Poll is an outlier, both parties seem to have all but conceded that Minnesota is Kerry country. Meanwhile, Wisconsin numbers have shown consistent gains for Kerry and a comfortable lead in most polls. Iowa remains close, but has trended sharply in Kerry’s favor.

    Without further adieu, here’s how the election will play out in the real world.

    Alabama–Bush by 17
    Alaska–Bush by 25
    Arizona–Bush by 5
    Arkansas–Bush by 3
    California–Kerry by 9
    Colorado–Bush by 4
    Connecticut–Kerry by 11
    Delaware–Kerry by 8
    District of Columbia–Kerry by 77
    Florida–Bush by 2
    Georgia–Bush by 14
    Hawaii–Kerry by 3
    Idaho–Bush by 38
    Illinois–Kerry by 11
    Indiana–Bush by 13
    Iowa–Kerry by 2
    Kansas–Bush by 21
    Kentucky–Bush by 18
    Louisiana–Bush by 9
    Maine–Kerry by 7
    Maryland–Kerry by 13
    Massaschusetts–Kerry by 33
    Michigan–Kerry by 5
    Minnesota–Kerry by 3
    Mississippi–Bush by 18
    Missouri–Bush by 5
    Montana–Bush by 20
    Nebraska–Bush by 30
    Nevada–Kerry by 1 (controversial call, but I expect an undetected surge of new Hispanic voters)
    New Hampshire–Kerry by 5
    New Jersey–Kerry by 6
    New Mexico–Kerry by 2
    New York–Kerry by 19
    North Carolina–Bush by 7
    North Dakota–Bush by 16
    Ohio–Kerry by 3
    Oklahoma–Bush by 27
    Oregon–Kerry by 5
    Pennsylvania–Kerry by 4 (I do wish Kerry was going here one more time for insurance)
    Rhode Island–Kerry by 26
    South Carolina–Bush by 13
    South Dakota–Bush by 13
    Tennessee–Bush by 8
    Texas–Bush by 18
    Utah–Bush by 40
    Vermont–Kerry by 11
    Virginia–Bush by 5
    Washington–Kerry by 7
    West Virginia–Bush by 4
    Wisconsin–Kerry by 2
    Wyoming–Bush by 38

    Final Electoral Vote Tally–Kerry 289, Bush 249

  3. For some more specific Minnesota numbers, here’s how I believe Minnesota’s 87 counties will go (with Gore’s numbers last time in parentheses)…..

    Aitkin County (Aitkin)–Kerry by 5 (Gore by 1)
    Anoka County (Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley)–Bush by 3 (Bush by 1)
    Becker County (Detroit Lakes)–Bush by 14 (Bush by 20)
    Beltrami County (Bemidji, Blackduck)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 6)
    Benton County (Sauk Rapids, Foley)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 11)
    Big Stone County (Ortonville)–Kerry by 12 (Gore by 2)
    Blue Earth County (Mankato)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 2)
    Brown County (New Ulm, Sleepy Eye)–Bush by 18 (Bush by 21)
    Carlton County (Cloquet, Moose Lake)–Kerry by 28 (Gore by 20)
    Carver County (Chanhassen, Chaska)–Bush by 28 (Bush by 24)
    Cass County (Walker, East Gull Lake)–Bush by 11 (Bush by 12)
    Chippewa County (Montevideo)–Kerry by 10 (Bush by less than 1)
    Chisago County (Lindstrom, North Branch)–Bush by 9 (Bush by 6)
    Clay County (Moorhead)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 6)
    Clearwater County (Bagley)–Bush by 8 (Bush by 18)
    Cook County (Grand Marais)–Kerry by 5 (Bush by 4)
    Cottonwood County (Windom, Mountain Lake)–Bush by 6 (Bush by 14)
    Crow Wing County (Brainerd, Breezy Point)–Bush by 9 (Bush by 14)
    Dakota County (Eagan, Burnsville)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 1)
    Dodge County (Kasson, Dodge Center)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 11)
    Douglas County (Alexandria)–Bush by 18 (Bush by 21)
    Faribault County (Blue Earth, Wells)–Bush by 2 (Bush by 8)
    Fillmore County (Spring Valley, Preston)–Kerry by 6 (Gore by 3)
    Freeborn County (Albert Lea)–Kerry by 14 (Gore by 10)
    Goodhue County (Red Wing, Cannon Falls)–Bush by 5 (Bush by 4)
    Grant County (Elbow Lake)–Kerry by 3 (Bush by 8)
    Hennepin County (Minneapolis, Bloomington, Plymouth)–Kerry by 15 (Gore by 15)
    Houston County (La Crescent, Caledonia)–Bush by 3 (Bush by 5)
    Hubbard County (Park Rapids)–Bush by 16 (Bush by 18)
    Isanti County (Cambridge)–Bush by 9 (Bush by 9)
    Itasca County (Grand Rapids, Keewatin)–Kerry by 14 (Gore by 4)
    Jackson County (Jackson)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 7)
    Kanabec County (Mora)–Bush by 6 (Bush by 9)
    Kandiyohi COunty (Willmar)–Bush by 2 (Bush by 9)
    Kittson County (Hallock)–Kerry by 7 (Bush by 9)
    Koochiching County (International Falls)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 9)
    Lac qui Parle County (Madison, Dawson)–Kerry by 14 (Gore by 6)
    Lake County (Two Harbors, Silver Bay)–Kerry by 23 (Gore by 17)
    Lake of the Woods COunty (Baudette)–Bush by 8 (Bush by 17)
    Le Sueur County (Le Sueur, Montgomery)–Bush by 4 (Bush by 6)
    Lincoln County (Tyler, Ivanhoe)–Kerry by 7 (Gore by 2)
    Lyon County (Marshall)–Bush by 4 (Bush by 12)
    McLeod County (Hutchinson, Glencoe)–Bush by 21 (Bush by 21)
    Mahnomen County (Mahnomen)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 9)
    Marshall County (Warren, Stephen)–Bush by 2 (Bush by 20)
    Martin County (Fairmont)–Bush by 9 (Bush by 14)
    Meeker County (Litchfield)–Bush by 10 (Bush by 10)
    Mille Lacs County (Princeton, Milaca)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 8)
    Morrison County (Little Falls)–Bush by 13 (Bush by 21)
    Mower County (Austin)–Kerry by 25 (Gore by 21)
    Murray County (Slayton, Fulda)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 6)
    Nicollet County (North Mankato, St. Peter)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 1)
    Nobles County (Worthington)–Bush by 3 (Bush by 11)
    Norman County (Ada)–Kerry by 5 (Bush by 6)
    Olmsted County (Rochester)–Bush by 4 (Bush by 8)
    Otter Tail County (Fergus Falls)–Bush by 19 (Bush by 26)
    Pennington County (Thief River Falls)–Bush by 2 (Bush by 15)
    Pine County (Pine City, Hinckley)–Kerry by 4 (Gore by 2)
    Pipestone County (Pipestone, Edgerton)–Bush by 8 (Bush by 15)
    Polk County (Crookston, East Grand Forks)–Bush by 2 (Bush by 13)
    Pope County (Glenwood, Starbuck)–Kerry by 4 (Bush by less than 1)
    Ramsey County (St. Paul, Shoreview)–Kerry by 19 (Gore by 21)
    Red Lake County (Red Lake Falls)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 13)
    Redwood County (Redwood Falls)–Bush by 20 (Bush by 25)
    Renville County (Olivia, Renville)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 6)
    Rice County (Faribault, Northfield)–Kerry by 10 (Gore by 8)
    Rock County (Luverne)–Bush by 8 (Bush by 14)
    Roseau County (Roseau, Warroad)–Bush by 24 (Bush by 36)
    St. Louis County (Duluth, Hibbing)–Kerry by 33 (Gore by 28)
    Scott County (Shakopee, Prior Lake)–Bush by 22 (Bush by 15)
    Sherburne County (Elk River)–Bush by 22 (Bush by 16)
    Sibley County (Gaylord, Arlington)–Bush by 14 (Bush by 20)
    Stearns County (St. Cloud, Sauk Centre)–Bush by 9 (Bush by 12)
    Steele County (Owatonna)–Bush by 6 (Bush by 8)
    Stevens County (Morris)–Kerry by 1 (Bush by 6)
    Swift County (Benson, Appleton)–Kerry by 17 (Gore by 6)
    Todd County (Long Prairie, Staples)–Bush by 11 (Bush by 18)
    Traverse County (Wheaton)–Kerry by 3 (Bush by 9)
    Wabasha County (Lake City, Wabasha)–Bush by 3 (Bush by 7)
    Wadena County (Wadena)–Bush by 18 (Bush by 24)
    Waseca County (Waseca)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 10)
    Washington County (Stillwater, Woodbury, Forest Lake)–Bush by 7 (Bush by 1)
    Watonwan County (St. James, Madelia)–Kerry by 2 (Bush by 6)
    Wilkin County (Breckenridge)–Bush by 18 (Bush by 31)
    Winona County (Winona, St. Charles)–Kerry by 3 (Gore by 1)
    Wright County (Buffalo, St. Michael)–Bush by 22 (Bush by 16)
    Yellow Medicine County (Granite Falls, Canby)–Kerry by 7 (Bush by 1)

    Anyone familiar with the layout of Minnesota will be able to notice the geographical scenario I forecast. It’s unclear how much of an impact the sugar beet issue will have on northwestern Minnesota this year, but the area is normally Democrat and went overwhelmingly Bush last time. Thus, I suspect Bush will lose his most ground in the 7th district, his best district in 2000. Counties that went double digits for Bush last time will go Kerry this time. The only variable is what impact the snowmobiling issue will have in a normally Democratic town like Thief River Falls (Arctic Cat country) where there’s still likely to be a perception of snowmobile-friendly policy coming from Bush than Kerry. The other big snowmobile county, Roseau County, is hopelessly Republican and was Bush’s best in 2000.

    Northeast Minnesota will also see improved numbers for Kerry over Gore as the Iron Range, particularly outside of St. Louis County proper, should be much better than last time. Bush will maintain his gains in more conservative southern portions of the 8th district near Mille Lacs and northern exurbia. It’ll be interesting to see if Cheney’s bizarre visit to International Falls will keep that area in the red column this year.

    Most of central and north-central Minnesota cabin country can now best be describes as “Apple Valley North” and I expect virtually identical numbers as 2000, if slightly better for Kerry.

    Southern Minnesota should be much better for Kerry almost across the board, with continued inroads for the Dems in the Rochester area. The hard-to-predict region here is the Irish Catholic-heavy and traditionally Democrat-leaning counties in southwest Minnesota such as Jackson, Nobles and Murray, which I predicted to go marginally for Kerry.

    The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should be virtually identical to their 2000 performance although I project higher voter turnout, benefitting Kerry.

    The only region of Minnesota where I (and most pollsters) project solid gains for Bush from 2000 is unfortunately the largest and most important region of the state…the suburbs and exurbs. Kerry is likely to do well in the liberal suburbs of Hennepin County such as Bloomington and Minnetonka, but see continued GOP strengthening in every other suburban county. As long as Kerry can hold Bush from Coleman and Pawlenty-esque double digits in the three main suburban counties (Anoka, Dakota, Washington), Kerry should win the state. Nonetheless, the clear trend towards the GOP in suburbia and especially exurbia spells a huge long-term problem for the Dems in Minnesota.

    Overall, a three-point Democratic victory based on their solid gains in rural Minnesota, where Gore got trounced, and only modest loses in the second-ring suburbs.

  4. Um, Mark, the St. Paul Pioneer Press poll has President Bush with a one-point lead. Bush is campaigning there.

    I don’t believe Bush has “all but conceded that Minnesota is Kerry country”.

    And “big turnout” doesn’t favor the Dems when the Republicans have shown a great GOTV effort.

  5. My friendly German news source Spiegel Online informs me that the last home game of the Redskins before the election will, infact, determine who will be President (Redskins lose – incumbent will lose). So this criterion predicts a Kerry win.

    Are there other wackies like this one?

    Just asking for the fun of it, you know.


  6. Greg D, the St. Paul Pioneer Press polls are always on the right end of the spectrum. In the Wellstone memorial-fueled unpredictable 2002 Senate race, the Strib Poll predicted Mondale by 5 and the St. Paul Pioneer Press Poll predicted Coleman by 5. The end result was Coleman by 2, as the GOP got out their base and independents swung Coleman because the Wellstone Memorial turned into an embarrassing political rally. True, the Pioneer Press was closer, but even so, the real outcome came somewhere in between the two polls. My suspicion, as noted above, is that the outcome will fall somewehere between the two again. Hence, I predicted Kerry by 3 in Minnesota.

  7. Hey! You picked the exact same outcome as I did. Good to see there’s some other smart people out there…

    No wait, you’ve got NH for Kerry and Hawaii for Bush — it’s the other way around, obviously. You’re wrong!

  8. Greg, I win the peace of mind that comes with living in a state that didn’t vote for Bush. You can’t put a price on that sort of victory. 🙂

  9. Funny….the day Jay Reding officially moves Minnesota into the red column is the same day most news organizations have seemed to move Minnesota from undecided to the blue column.

  10. Pingback: Blogs of War
  11. Pingback: RIGHT ON RED >>
  12. I’m skeptical about MN and seriously doubt HI, but otherwise agree. I predict 296 for Bush. That’s every state he won in 2000 (except NH, which I think may be contrarian) plus the states that were extremely close: Iowa, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. My key factors are similar to yours: voters don’t trust Kerry on foreign policy, and GOP GOTV.

    Details and 2000 data at pajamasphere.com/election2004/prediction.html

    For those who are predicting a major swing to Bush: add NH plus the remaining 3 swing states (MI, MN, PA). That’s 348. (I doubt that NJ is actually in play.)

  13. Pine County, Minnesota (which includes Pine City, Hinckley and Sandstone) voted in favor of Kerry this past election. However, not by as large a margin as it voted for Gore in 2000. I believe this shift is due to a lack of young voters. Therefore, I am starting a Pine County Young Dems group to get more young people engaged in the political process. Check out our Website at http://www.meetup.com and click on find a group. Or, our direct link is: http://democrat.meetup.com/562

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.