Electoral College and the "new math"

“The race is still fundamentally tied, and the Electoral College map reflects that,” said Bush strategist Matthew Dowd. “But there is beginning to be a slight tilt toward us with Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Arizona no longer being seriously contested.”

…the AP reports.

Funny then that a July 10 Zogby poll shows Bush leading by only 2% in Arkansas, another Zogby poll on July 1o shows Tennessee tied at 48% each, and a July 20 Market Research Institute poll from July 20 shows Kerry leading in Missouri 46%-44%, and a July 18 ASU poll shows Kerry leading 42%-41% in Arizona.

None of that is a convincing win for either side. To say those starts are no longer being seriously contested implies that Bush has them locked up. The data do not support than contention.

Neither do they support the AP’s headline: Kerry Trails Bush in Electoral Votes.

The report goes on to add, ominously, that:

Of the states won by Gore, Pennsylvania is by far Bush’s top target. The president has spent millions of dollars in the state on commercials and has visited it more than any other contested state — 30 trips since his inauguration.

For Kerry, losing Pennsylvania would create a virtually insurmountable electoral vote gap.

Of course, a July 21 LA Times poll shows Kerry with a 10 point lead there. If you follow the actual recent polls, the loss of PA still leaves Kerry in the win column. And this is all pre-convention, with most of the undecideds likely to break to the challenger. Nice spin by the Bush people.

Clinton said in his book that he wished that the survey data showing his giant lead in October 1996 hand’t come out, and that he feels that probably cost him the 50% lead he wanted. Spinning it that way, this could be just what Kerry wants: his supporters to continue to feel a sense of urgency. As for me, I’m tired of bullshit from the media.