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Sunday, November 09, 2003

The Republicans are Doing the Math, Too

Posted by DavidNYC

I love writing this blog, but I know that this project is far from unique. In fact, I hope it's not: I expect that every Democratic presidential campaign, every left-wing think tank, and every progressive labor union is doing the same analysis, crunching the numbers and figuring out where we're going to fight this battle next year. Everyone is caught up with primary politics right now, and with good reason. But in the back corner of the office somewhere, there oughta be one guy or gal with a degree in political science, Googling like mad, hitting the library & plugging away at the Excel spreadsheets. While this may be back-burner stuff at the moment, it has to at least be on the back burner.

I say this because the Republicans have clearly started thinking out loud about this subject. This may be old news to some of you, but I recently came across a September memo put out by two Republican pollsters at Moore Information (MI), an Oregon-based consultancy. It's called "Why Dean Can Win." My reason for bringing up this memo is not to discuss Dean - the analysis on this site has been (and will remain) largely candidate-neutral until we actually have a nominee. I believe that, with a few specific exceptions (such as Clark in Arkansas), all of the major candidates are likely to fare equally well. In other words, I think the "electability" issue is bogus.

The MI memo does indeed discuss Dean extensively, and the discussion of his strengths is one of the most honest I've ever seen on the GOP side. (Though their grating use of the phrase "Democrat Party" drives me nuts.) But what really caught my eye is the chart in the middle, which I believe could apply to all of the potential candidates. (I won't reproduce it here, but you can look at it by following the link above.) Essentially, MI sees 183 EVs as solid Dem (they include Washington & Maine's 2nd CD, which I don't), and they see 87 EVs as lean-Dem, which includes only two states (NV and WV) that went GOP last time around. That's 270 electoral votes right there.

Of course, getting to 270 always looks easier on paper than it ever is in real life. As they say about baseball, that's why they play the games. But the point is that honest Republicans are taking this electoral math quite seriously. They know the election is going to come down to a handful of true battleground states - MI puts the number at just 13 - and they aren't so sure the numbers favor them. I'm not sure the numbers favor us, either, but the fact that the other side feels the same way gives me a lot of hope.

P.S. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Republican cop to a statement like this in print, which is why I give the MI memo high marks for honesty:

Furthermore, the ���far-left liberal��� charge which Republicans have used effectively in the past to define Democrats has much less impact today than it used to. The problem here is that the GOP spent years warning America about the ills of a left-wing liberal Clinton presidency and how it would destroy the economy, ruin our children, and leave America a twisted wreck. Well, we survived and the economy actually did well during much of the Clinton years. America didn���t have a problem with Bill Clinton being a far-left liberal, they had a problem with his inability to tell the truth and his total lack of morals.

Posted at 05:02 AM in General | Technorati


Everyone is doing the "math" which makes sense given the fact that the election is likely to be close. One of the major problems during the last presidential election is that Bush was fighting Gore on what was supposed to be Gore's turf. As a result of the Nader effect Gore had to waste TIME & MONEY defending Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, etc. while not allowing him enough time to campaign in Ohio and Missouri. I honestly believe that we MISSED a huge opportunity to take OHIO the last time around. Gore barely spent any money in that state and gave up on winning there in early September. The effort in Missouri was left wanting as well. Assuming that our nominee is competitive then the five most important states in 2004 will be as follows Pennslyvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, and Florida, in 2000 we won 1 out of 5, this time around we have to win at least 3 of the five states listed above, Ideally winning Pennslyvania, W.Virginia, and Ohio would certainly assure a defeat for GW, I would not waste time in trying to pick off any southern states, we can and will win without the south.

Posted by: JFK-Democrat at November 9, 2003 03:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It looks like steel tariffs are hitting the fan today. The NY Times is reporting that they are being ruled illegal. This could have huge impacts in Pennsylvania, W. Virginia, and Ohio. What will the effect of this be? Bush is on record in at least adopting tariffs. I don't pay enough attention to know how the steel unions would respond to the question of tariff legality.

Posted by: Seamus at November 10, 2003 10:18 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Great blog and a great project.

Besides seeing parallels to Ronald Reagan in Dean, I found the last paragraph of this suprisingly candid memo the most interesting:

"Ironically, if he does get the nomination, Howard Dean���s biggest problem will be Bill and Hillary���s attempts to subvert his candidacy. They simply cannot afford to have another Democrat in the White House, in short, if Howard Dean is elected President, Hillary never will be. So, the Clinton���s will do whatever they must to make sure that doesn���t happen. So maybe Dean can���t win after all. But that���s another memo."

Sure we could just chalk this up to simply more Clinton bashing, but does anyone else think there might be a grain of truth here?

Posted by: Night Owl at November 10, 2003 07:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

On their chart, may I also add that I think both Arizona and Colorado should be put in the GOP 'leaning' category.

In 2000, AZ (8)(10 in 2004) went for Bush 51.02% to 44.73% with Nader getting 2.98%. That's pretty close (3.31%) assuming those Nader votes go to the Dem in a 2-man race.

Likewise Colorado, (8) (9 in 2004) went for Bush 50.75% to 42.39% with Nader at a whopping 5.25%. Again add the Gore and Nader votes and you've got a very tight (3.11%) race here also.

I wonder why they didn't add these is in as well? Could it be they didn't want to depress their loyal readers too much at the numbers? Take away 19 from their Bush 'base' 206 and you have 187 - only 4 more than the Dem 'base'. Don't want to overstate things now do we?

Posted by: Night Owl at November 10, 2003 08:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My problem with this article is the last paragraph. What is the obsession with the Clintons? Really...

Posted by: fester at November 10, 2003 08:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm with fester. What is that damned obsession? I'll never understand it as someone who never voted for Bill even. The best answer I've been able to come up with is jealousy. They are damned jealous of the success of this man they targeted for eight long years. ANd might I add that their slandering of Clinton worked - he really did compromise his policies in the face of opposition. At least that is my impression.

Posted by: Seamus at November 10, 2003 10:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just wonder if black voters will be enthusiastic for Dean. While I doubt Bush will win many black votes, they can just stay home. He just doesn't have strong ties to this constituency.

Posted by: dave at November 11, 2003 08:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

keeping the right frothing at the mouth over the clintons keeps the money flowing in. dean or kerry just can't get people to open their checkbooks like the clintons can. i heard drudge today subbing for limbaugh going on about how the hilary is now waiting until the convention to take over. they think if no one has enough votes for nomination hilary is waiting to swoop in. funny the longer we get into the process the further back they create scenarios for hilary to steal their country away...

Posted by: bdfstl2 at November 12, 2003 05:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I hope the author of that report is wrong about the Clintons working against the nominee; Hillary Clinton will never be president and the Democratic Party will never nominate her. If she entered the race, her candidacy would collapse like Geraldine Ferraro's last Senate candidacy.

Sure, the Republicans were monsters throughout the Clinton presidency but the fact is, Bill Clinton was a disaster for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton is mainly a personal opportunist. She voted for the Patriot Act and for the war; she's no champion of principle and justice. Black voters don't vote Democratic because of Clinton.

Posted by: Karen at November 24, 2003 08:58 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment