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Saturday, March 08, 2008
Clinton vs. McCain: An Electoral College Analysis

What does a Clinton-McCain national match-up look like? We already know that the Clinton campaign is good at winning the big states in elections, so I decided to run the most likely scenario of a Clinton led Democratic ticket. I then throw a Clinton-Obama ticket for kicks.

Here are the states that the Democrats can expect to win against McCain with Clinton in the lead( electoral college votes follow the state). Remember that 271 are needed.

California 55
Illinois 21
New York 31
Michigan 17
Ohio 20
Washington 11
Oregon 7
Minnesota 10
Wisconsin 10
Maryland 10
Delaware 3
Pennsylvania 21
New Jersey 15
Connecticut 7
Rhode Island 4
Massachusetts 12
Vermont 3
Maine 4
Hawaii 4

This represents a total of 261 of the 271 needed for victory. (Obama does not poll well in the industrial states other than Illinois.)

These are the additional states that she puts into play:
New Mexico 5
Nevada 5
Arkansas 6
Missouri 11
West Virginia 5
Virginia 13
Florida 27
Missouri 11
Tennessee 11

Any two of these will put her over the top, and any three will secure her victory. Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri seem like the best bets.

In addition, here are the toss ups since John McCain is the opponent (only including those states that could swing either way with McCain in the race):

New Hampshire 4
Texas 34
Iowa 7

If it were a Clinton-Obama ticket, here are the additional states he puts into play:

North Carolina 15
South Carolina 8
Georgia 15
Louisiana 9
Kansas 6
Colorado 9

The Clinton-Obama ticket probably makes Florida and Missouri guarentees, giving the Democrats the election handily at 299 of 271.

Regarding the House of Representatives and the Senate, Clinton's coattails should put the following states in play: New Mexico, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California, Michigan, and Nevada. (I can get a list of vacant seats in the House and Senate from somewhere as well.) We don't yet know about Ohio or Pennsylvania yet, but Gov. Ed Rendell (PA) has endorsed her.

This is the scenario that the super-delegates should be thinking about. It would be odd to allow the candidate who has lost California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Okalahoma by substantial margins to clinch the Democratic nomination based on caucus wins in Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho, coupled with a combination of white independent/Republican and an understandably skewed black vote in South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, and Virginia primaries. In other words, "if Obama does somehow manage to become the nominee, the Democrats may well turn out to have pulled a Dukakis (Mondale, McGovern) once again. They'll be sending the candidate who lost in their primaries all the states they must win in the general election, and the one utterly without a resume, to do battle against the party that has dominated presidential election contests since World War II and a candidate who is a legitimate national hero."

Clinton, on the other hand, will bring in the Democratic stongholds as well as reach deeply into the Republican safe and border states, giving Democrats control of the executive.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein has this, which is similar to my exercise but predicts different numbers.