DAVID PAUL KUHN
Friday, October 10, 2008
Three weeks of historic economic upheaval have done more than just tilt a handful of once reliably Republican states in Barack Obama’s direction. Democratic strategists are now optimistic that the ongoing crisis could lead to a landslide Obama victory.
Four large states John McCain once seemed well-positioned to win — Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida — have in recent weeks shifted toward Obama. If Obama were to win those four states — a scenario that would represent a remarkable turn of events — he would likely surpass 350 electoral votes.
Under almost any feasible scenario, McCain cannot win the presidency if he loses any of those four states. And if Obama actually captured all four states, it would almost certainly signal a strong electoral tide that would likely sweep the Southwestern swing states — Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada — not to mention battlegrounds from New Hampshire to Iowa to Missouri.
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One month ago, Democratic strategist Paul Maslin, who closely tracks the electoral map, thought that perhaps Democrats would win by a couple of percentage points. At best, he thought Obama might earn a slight majority as Democrats earned in 1976, the last time the party’s presidential nominee cracked the 50 percent barrier.
“Now it’s a whole different world,” Maslin said. “The economy is way beyond 1992. In 1980, it was the Iran hostage crisis and the economy. I’ve never seen an issue take this kind of prominence.”
Gallup finds that 69 percent of Americans believe the economy is the most important issue facing the nation. The second most cited issue, the war in Iraq, is named by only 11 percent of voters.
Bill Clinton’s former pollster Doug Schoen calls this the “economic tsunami.”
And it’s this tsunami that has altered the electoral map in a way that Obama himself could not.
This article was posted: Friday, October 10, 2008 at 4:05 am