Swing States Appear to Be Swinging to President Bush

Some Swing States Appear to Be Swinging to President (NYT)

Days before the presidential debates begin, President Bush appears to be gaining in several swing states he lost in 2000. Experts caution that the race is highly fluid, but Mr. Bush, for now at least, is surging ahead in several crucial states. Polls show Mr. Bush making headway in Iowa and Wisconsin, both of which he lost last time. He was also building leads in Ohio and West Virginia, states he won in 2000. All four states have been hotly contested this year. And Senator John Kerry seems to have ceded Missouri to Mr. Bush.

The shocker in the last week was New Jersey, where three polls showed Mr. Bush pulling even with Mr. Kerry. The state, never on the battleground list, has voted Democratic since 1988 and comes with a sizable chunk of electoral votes, 15. Mr. Bush’s strength there was a source of concern to Democrats. Experts said New Jersey would in the end almost certainly go Democratic, but a snapshot of polls last week put it as a tossup.

Mr. Kerry led in Maine and was solidifying leads in Michigan and Washington, states that Al Gore won in 2000 but that Mr. Bush is contesting this year. Polls also showed the candidates nearly even in Colorado.

An analysis of state polls by The New York Times showed that the race in the last six days has been most competitive in nine states, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. They have a total of 105 electoral votes. These polls show that if the election had been held in the last week, Mr. Kerry would have been able to count on 10 states plus the District of Columbia, for a total of 153 electoral votes, and that Mr. Bush would have been able to count on 18 states with 144 electoral votes. Three other states – Maine, Michigan and Washington – were leaning toward Mr. Kerry, and if they vote that way will provide Mr. Kerry an additional 32 electoral votes, for a total of 177. Ten others – Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia – were leaning toward Mr. Bush and would provide him with an additional 104 electoral votes, for a total of 248. A total of 270 electoral votes is needed to win.

Interesting. And, as noted in the previous post, Bush is within striking distance in Michigan as well. This is an excellent position for the challenger incumbent 33 days out.

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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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    Challenger? You mean incumbent?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Ooop. Yep.

  3. Oh, Arizona is “leaning” towards Bush. Sure, in the same that California is “leaning” towards Kerry. The margin is about the same.