Early State-By-State Numbers

Barry Ritholtz analyzes a recent article in Barron’s ($) that shows Kerry in a strong position vis-a-vis Bush in the state by state voting. It’s based on late February Zogby numbers.

“Only four of the states that we list as “in play” (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington) were Blue states in 2000, when they delivered a majority for Vice-President Al Gore. The other eight states that are “in play” now (including Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Missouri), with a treasure trove of 98 electoral votes, were part of Bush Country in 2000. That suggests the Democratic presidential candidate is holding his base of support better than the president is, allowing Senator Kerry to peel off a couple of the paler Red states from the president’s column.

“National poll numbers are irrelevant,” Zogby says. “What is relevant is how the president plays in the Red states, and how the Democrats play in the Blue states.”

Of course, this poll was conducted at what is likely the low point of Bush’s popularity during this election cycle–and quite possibly Kerry’s highest. At the end of the day, absent some major catastrophe in Iraq, I don’t believe Kerry has much of a shot in most of the eight “red” states that Zogby currently polls as “in play.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Moe Lane says:

    (Shrug) I’d be careful of Zogby’s numbers anyway: they’ve been off wrt Southern states generally, especially when it involved Edwards. Minnesota, too, now that I think of it.

  2. McGehee says:

    Arizona and Florida in play? Depends if Kerry’s running mate is Bob Graham <snicker> or John McCain. <guffaw>

    Missouri? Barnes and Kondracke think Kerry might pick Gephardt, but Kerry beat him in a state that was supposed to be Gephardt’s “almost home turf.”

    Naw. Ain’t buyin’ it.

  3. I’ve been somewhat sanguine about the Red/Blue state analysis, figuring that it favors Bush, even down to the seven electoral votes that shifted since the 2000 Census.

    Then I had a cold chill. Think of it this way. Suppose everything, in all states, is the same (generally the starting point of Red/Blue state analyses), and Bush’s popularity takes a 0.1% ding, then he loses Florida. Game over.

  4. CharleyCarp says:

    It isn’t even necessary that the President take a .1% ding. All that has to happen is that Dem voters who were unable to figure out how to vote (eg butterfly ballots in Palm Co. and overvotes [checking the Gore box and also writing in Gore] in Duval Co.) do so and Florida isn’t even close.

    If Florida has gone touchscreen, which is nearly idiot proof, the balance shifts dramatically right there.

  5. Two words: Florida panhandle.

    Remember all the conservative Florida voters who stayed home because the state got called for Gore prematurely.