Fun with maps

Survey USA polled 600 voters in all 50 states and then drew up electoral maps based on the data they received. Both polls showing whether it was Obama or Hillary running against McCain in November, that the Democrats will win. I’m not going to take issue with that, I predicted a Democratic victory when I did my 2008 crystal ball gazing at the end of 2007.

First Survey USA issues these caveats

There are specific limitations to this exercise. The winner’s margin in each state is not always outside of the survey’s margin of sampling error. Rather than show states where the results are inside of the margin of sampling error as “leaning” or “toss-ups,” SurveyUSA for this illustration assigned Electoral Votes to the candidate with the larger share of the vote, no matter how small the winner’s margin. The Democratic nominee is not yet known. Running mates on neither side are known. These are not surveys of likely voters, these are surveys of registered voters. Those caveats stated, the exercise is a remarkable foreshadowing of how contested, and how fiercely fought, the general election in November may be, regardless of who the Democratic nominee is. And the exercise speaks to which states may vote one way or the other, depending on who the Democrats nominate.

Here are the actual maps.


Some things pop to mind as soon as you take a close look at either map. Analysis beneath the fold.

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Obama winning North Dakota? The last time this state went Democratic was the LBJ-Goldwater landslide of 1964. Here are the head to head results of the last four Presidential elections.


Bush 62 Kerry 35


Bush 61 Gore 33


Dole 47 Clinton 40


Bush 44 Clinton 32

Any reasonable analyst think ND will go Democratic in 2008? Don’t think so, and if it did, Obama would certainly win PA and NJ which this same map has going Republican.

How about Nebraska giving two electoral votes to Obama in 2008. Like ND, Nebraska hasn’t gone for a Democrat in the general election since 2008.

In Nebraska the electoral votes are alloted based on the results of the individual congressional seat results. Let us check out the results of these districts in 2000.

1st CD- 59-36 for Bush
2nd CD- 57-38 for Bush
3rd CD- 71-27 for Bush

Any reasonable analyst see any of these races going Democratic in 1964? I didn’t think so.

The Hillary map has its own problems. Like WA and OR going Republican while at the same time WV and AR going democratic. If the later two go Democratic, WA and OR would also.

James Joyner at OTB writes

If nothing else, it’s a useful reminder (as if we needed one after the last two elections) that we elect presidents on a state-by-state basis rather than a national popular vote.

What’s truly remarkable about these results is not the close margins but rather the variance between the two projected races. My initial reaction was “What state does Obama take that Clinton doesn’t?” It turns out that the maps are markedly different:


I’m frankly dubious that all those states are truly going to be in play. Then again, McCain is a different kind of Republican and Obama a different kind of Democrat than we’ve seen in several cycles. And Clinton is a uniquely polarizing figure.

Both maps have states in play that won’t be in November.

Note- I copied the above data on NE and ND from my comments at OTB. Rufus T Firefly is a joke alias I use sometimes. That’s the name of Groucho Marx’s character in Duck Soup.

Bottom line- Survery USA map and polling results should be placed in the trash, or at the very least taken with a pound of salt.

Update- Post corrected to say 1964 rather than 2008 when talking about Nebraska congressional districts.

Not Feeling Overly Sympathetic
$42 million here, $42 million there