Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain's Hope

In my previous post listing a number of advantages that appear to favor Obama, I said I would also spend to time outlining reasons that could give McCain hope. Here are a couple.

1. Onsight early voting appears to be being done mostly by Obama partisans who would have voted for Obama anyway. At this point, it doesn't appear as though the fence sitters are voting early and McCain still has a chance to win their vote. There have been no indications of what is happening with the mail-in absentee ballots.

2. Kerry saw a much larger increase in the total number of registered voters in Democratic leaning counties from 2000 to 2004 (0ver 350,000) than Obama is seeing from 2004 to 2008 (around 60,000). That huge advantage only translated into a decrease of 50,000 votes in Bush's winning margin from 2000 to 2004.

3. Voter turnout in Democratic leaning counties has traditionally run 4% lower than in Republican leaning counties. Additionally, the Democrat's margin of victory in Democratic counties has run about 2 points lower than Republican's margin of victory in Republican leaning counties. This means it takes less registered voters in Republican countiers to get the same margin of victory the Democratic candidate gets in the Democratic counties.

4. It is extremely difficult for a Democrat to win a majority of votes in Ohio. Jimmy Carter was the last candidate to do so in 1976 when he beat Gerald Ford by a little over 11,000 votes. But wait you say, what about Bill Clinton? Bill Clinton did not win a majority of votes in 1992 or 1996. In fact, he got a lower percentage of the vote in Republican counties than Gore or Kerry in the last two elections. What happened was that Ross Perot pulled in over 1,000,000 votes in 1992 and almost 500,000 across Ohio, mostly from the Republican counties.

The bottom line, Ohioans in the rural counties will vote against Republicans, but even when they do, they'd prefer not to vote for Democrats. In the end, this may be McCain's best chance. McCain can still win these voters.

They are looking for a reason to vote for him. The question is, will he give it to them?