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The Critical States in 2004
Intellectual Conservative ^ | 24 February 2004 | Bruce Walker

Posted on 02/28/2004 2:23:30 PM PST by presidio9

Very soon the 2004 election will start in earnest. Some things are certain. Republicans, because of the redistricting of congressional districts in Texas, will not only retain control of the House of Representatives, but will have more seats.

Democrats need a net gain of two seats to control the Senate, and there are only three Republican seats which Democrats have any hope of winning: Illinois, Alaska and Oklahoma. Illinois is very likely to go Democrat, but Alaska and Oklahoma are conservative states which President Bush will carry easily. Democrats will be hard pressed to win both these seats.

Republicans have the opportunity to pick up seats in five southern states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana - and will give Daschle a tough fight in South Dakota. Washington and Nevada could each shape up into tough fights for incumbent Democrats as well.

That understates the position of Republicans. While Democrats will almost certainly gain a seat in Illinois, Republicans will also certainly gain seats in Georgia (recall Zell will be campaigning for President Bush) and South Carolina (which Fritz Hollings had a tough time winning as a former governor and incumbent senator.)

That means there are seven senate races which, absent a landslide either way, will be horse races - Alaska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Carolina, Louisiana, Nevada and Washington. Even if Republicans lose all seven of these senate races, the Senate will be split fifty-fifty and Republicans will still control the Senate. It is almost certain that Republicans will gain at least one Senate seat.

The presidential race is the only real contest in November 2004. If either candidate has a plurality of more than four percent (e.g. 52% to 48%) then the Electoral College victory will be substantial. If the margin is four percent or less, a few critical states will be in play and these will decide the election.

Pundits love to speculate on big states that may be "put into play" but no big states will be in play in a close election. Republicans may dream of being competitive in Pennsylvania or picking up a surprise victory in California or New York, but in a close election, Democrats will win all three of those states.

Democrats may hope to win Florida or Ohio, but in a close election that too will not happen. Republicans in Florida and in Ohio won big in November 2002, turning Republican states into more strongly Republican states.

The governor, both senators, most congressmen and both houses of the Ohio Legislature are Republican. Moreover, the strength in numbers and in votes cast is lopsided Republican at every level in Ohio. Florida, despite having two Democrat senators, is at least as strongly Republican. Several Republican congressmen in Florida run unopposed.

If President Bush carried the same states that he did in the 2000 Election, he would win with 279 electoral votes, nine more than the number needed to win outright and ten more than the number needed for a Republican House of Representatives to reelect the president in a tie. Reelections often closely parallel the first term election. Eisenhower in 1956 carried almost exactly the same states as in 1952. Clinton in 1996 carried pretty much the same states as in 1992.

Democrats will likely win in West Virginia, a state that Bush won in 2000, which would reduce the president’s total to 274 electoral votes. Seven states will be nail-biters in a close election - New Hampshire, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon.

Five of those seven - New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon - were microscopic pluralities in 2000. Gore won four of those five (he lost New Hampshire) and had those four gone for Bush, then Florida would have been irrelevant.

If the Democrat nominee wins all five states of those very close states, as well as West Virginia, then President Bush will still win reelection with 270 electoral votes. That means the Democrat nominee would have to win not only all those extremely close states in the 2000 election, but also hold Minnesota and capture Missouri.

The Democrat nominee does not have to win all seven of seven. He could lose New Hampshire, if everything else fell into place, but that seems like a tall order in a close election.

In November 2002, Republicans gained control of both houses of the Missouri Legislature and defeated Senator Carnahan. In November 2004, Democrats will be saddled with a very unpopular incumbent governor running for reelection.

In November 2002, Republicans grew dramatically stronger in Minnesota, capturing the governorship and a Senate seat, as well as increasing their strength in both houses of the Minnesota Legislature.

The November 2002 elections did not provide Republicans with big victories in those four states which Gore carried by paper thin margins - Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon - but Democrats did not make big gains either. All four look to be very much in play.

Can the Democrat nominee win the six out of six that he must win? Almost certainly no. The issues which will motivate voters to support the Democrat nominee in states like Missouri and Minnesota, like protectionism, will cost the Democrat votes in New Mexico and Oregon.

The social issues which may help the Democrat nominee in New Mexico and Oregon will cost the Democrat votes in Iowa and Missouri. Issues like gay marriage will compel the Democrat nominee to lose votes in two of those four states, as his position helps bolster support in the other two states. The problem is, the Democrat must carry all four states.

The farm vote is significant in all of these states except New Mexico, and yet those issues which appeal to the farm vote tend to alienate environmental voters and trade union voters opposed to free trade. Ralph Nader can also peel off votes from any Democrat who seems soft on Green issues.

Does this mean that President Bush will be reelected? No. If Kerry or another Democrat has fifty-three percent or more of the popular vote, then he will win easily. If President Bush wins much more than fifty-one percent of the popular vote, then he will win easily. But in a genuinely close election, the critical states will almost certainly not break completely for the Democrat, and that means the reelection of President Bush.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; electionpresident; electoralcollege; gwb2004

1 posted on 02/28/2004 2:23:31 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9
IMHO the reps absolutely must have poll watchers in all the big cities and even the small towns, to ensure that the debacle of 2000 will not be repeated.
2 posted on 02/28/2004 2:28:16 PM PST by tkathy (The liberal media: september 10th rhetoric in a september 11th world.)
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To: presidio9
One element that may come into play is that we won't have Janet Reno and her pollsters in place during this election. Hopefully the fraud in St. Louis and Milwaukee will not come into play this time around. That should help Republicans. A fair fight just doesn't seem to be the path the Democrats choose.
3 posted on 02/28/2004 2:32:27 PM PST by onevoter
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To: All
In St. Louis and Milwaukee the GOP should rent every single rental van in both cities days before the election. Drive around and pick up elderly veterans here and there, but mostly deny the vans to the opposition, who will use them to pick up homeless and bribe them with cigs enroute to the polls.

GOTV is decisive. We have to get as energized as they are.
4 posted on 02/28/2004 2:35:58 PM PST by Owen
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To: tkathy
No doubt.

And thank God for the electoral college. I know that this is not the reason the founders went with it, but it makes sure that the worst possible result of rampant voter fraud is losing the state the voter fraud comes from - CA, NY, etc

The Reps really have to monitor the polls closely in the more evenly split states though, like PA, MO, FL, etc. It is probable that Democrat voter fraud gave Gore PA, and almost gave him FL.

All this being said, I can easily see Bush winning 40 states in 2004. With Kerry being, essentially, a less charismatic, more extreme Gore, without the benefits of incumbency, it is tough to see him getting anywhere near the number of votes Gore got.

And we also have to factor in the effects that gay marriage and Bush's significant war chest will have on the election.
5 posted on 02/28/2004 2:38:18 PM PST by swilhelm73
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To: presidio9
Very good article. Agree Florida goes Bush due to shifting demographics. However, believe New Mexico is a lock for dems but think West Virginia will go Bush. Either way very few states are truly in play. Also, while Kerry may be an idiot regarding destructive policies to America he tends to campaign well and will have the entire established press cheering for him. Dem insiders know Edwards would not even help Kerry take North Carolina (ala Al Gore/Tenn). Therefore, Kerry has to pick Gephart as a running mate in the hopes of capturing Missouri, which by itself could determine the outcome. All while Bush attempts to decide if he is or is not a believer in conservatism, which could well lead to many conservatives staying home or casting protest votes. Whatever the results, the country remains deeply divided.
6 posted on 02/28/2004 2:44:40 PM PST by mysonsfuture
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: mysonsfuture
Just like the Passion the box office will be True to Bush!
That is my forecat, 2/03.
8 posted on 02/28/2004 3:59:06 PM PST by iopscusa (El Vaquero)
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To: presidio9
There are other senarios that are possible. Oregon (which went for Gore by some 6,800 votes) and Washington state, have the nation's highest unemployment. Kerry will have fun with that. Gore's near-victory in Florida was a fluke, and Bush will do better there in 2004. On the other hand, Bush's victory in West Virginia was also a fluke, and will probably go for Kerry. So Bush needs to carry a couple of Gore states to win. The three most important targets would be Minnesota (which is trending Repuiblican), Wisconsin (slowly drifting towards Republicans), and Pennsylvania. The best candidate Kerry could pick would be Evan Bayh of Indiana. He would put Indiana into play and help in Ohio. Ohio will be ground zero this year.
9 posted on 02/28/2004 4:06:01 PM PST by Clintonfatigued
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To: presidio9
Alabama - R
Alaska - R
Arizona - R
Arkansas - R
California - D
Colorado - R
Connecticut - D
Delaware - D
District of Columbia - D
Florida - R
Georgia - R
Hawaii - D
Idaho - R
Illinois - D
Indiana - R
Iowa - D
Kansas - R
Kentucky - R
Louisiana - R
Maine - D
Maryland - D
Massachusetts - D
Michigan - D
Minnesota - D
Mississippi - R
Missouri - D
Montana - R
Nebraska - R
Nevada - R
New Hampshire - R
New Jersey - D
New Mexico - D
New York - D
North Carolina - R
North Dakota - R
Ohio - D
Oklahoma - R
Oregon - D
Pennsylvania - D
Rhode Island - D
South Carolina - R
South Dakota - R
Tennessee - R
Texas - R
Utah - R
Vermont - D
Virginia - R
Washington - D
West Virginia - R
Wisconsin - D
Wyoming - R

Electoral Totals: Rat gets 291, Bush gets 247. If Dubya signs the AWB and Kerry picks a "working class advocate" (who brings in OH and MO) for VP, this result coming to pass becomes quite possible.
10 posted on 02/28/2004 4:20:18 PM PST by KantianBurke (Principles, not blind loyalty)
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To: presidio9
I think Ohio and Missouri will fall to the Democrats; North and South Carolina will probably stay put in the Republican column. Jobs are going to be the biggest issue in these states. Bush will need a miracle to win Pennsylvania and/or Michigan.
11 posted on 02/28/2004 4:36:44 PM PST by Holden Magroin
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To: Holden Magroin
No perspective on Ohio, but I'd rate MO as 3-to-2 favourite to vote for Mr. Bush, EVEN IF Eyebrows Gebhardt is selected as 'Fin Kerry's running mate. Gebhardt is not nearly as popular here as the lamestream media constantly report him to be, and he would be a for-real albatross as a VP candidate. Hell, he's ALMOST as uninspiring in person as Ketchup Boy hisself.

The 'Rats are about to implode in a vicious primary for governor; OTB is a jerk and his opponent is Hitlery Lite -- this ought to be a blast to watch. Point is, the 'Rats are going to be running on fumes by November (unless Georgie Soros or one of his ilk kick in a few MBs), and the party will be splintered for some time...just as the Pubbies were when they went through the Blunt/Webster primary in 1992.

12 posted on 02/28/2004 5:11:31 PM PST by SAJ
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To: KantianBurke
That looks like a worse case scenario. Just changing Ohio to R makes it Dems 271 and GOP 267. Minnesota and Missouri are also good possibilities.
13 posted on 02/28/2004 5:22:07 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (06/07/04 - 1000 days since 09/11/01)
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To: KantianBurke
Excellent analysis! Ohio and Missouri seem like the make or break states. Missouri folkes here saying its going to Bush hands down. Hope so. Anyone from Ohio?. Whats the scoop?
14 posted on 02/28/2004 7:13:06 PM PST by mysonsfuture
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To: presidio9
I got bad news. The unemployment rate in Ohio is 6.2% and not improving. Ohio is going to be a knife fight in 2004 and will probably determine the election. And I think we still use punch cards. Get ready for another Florida.
15 posted on 02/28/2004 10:36:36 PM PST by staytrue
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To: presidio9
"Republicans have the opportunity to pick up seats in five southern states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana "

The Gay Marriage issue will KILL the democrats in those races. Ohio, Missouri, and other Industrial-midwestern swing-states also tend to be very socially conservative. Kerry has very limited maneuverability on gay marriage because Nader will hammer him if he moves on it. This issue will be the big winner for 2004... plus if Osama is captured this year Bush will probably be so popular that most of this electoral college speculation will probably be a waste of time.
P.S. West Virginia was not a fluke in 2000, Social Conservatism wins states like that.
16 posted on 02/28/2004 10:43:46 PM PST by Betaille (Seeing through moral relativism since 2002)
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To: Betaille
"Osama" also looks to be the "D" nominee for senate if Illinois, meaning the R's may hold this seat.
17 posted on 03/14/2004 6:50:49 PM PST by Meldrim
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