Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Electoral College in the 2004 Presidential Election

270 electoral votes, a majority of the total of 538 electoral votes available, are needed to win the presidential election. Let's take a look at each of the 50 states (plus the District of Columbia, also known as Washington DC) and consider which candidate might win these electoral votes on November 2nd. (I am basing the following analysis entirely on the 2000 presidential election returns. You may have seen state polls that contradict this analysis.)

As I see it the 51 states and districts can be divided up as follows:

15 John Kerry States worth 200 Electoral Votes.
12 Swing States worth 138 Electoral Votes.
24 George W. Bush States worth 200 Electoral Votes.

I have defined swing states to be those states where the 2000 presidential vote for Al Gore and George W. Bush differed by less than 5 percent of the vote. The reason why many pundits pay attention to national polls rather than state polls is because most of the swing states are likely to vote for the winning candidate if the winning candidate wins the national popular vote by a few percentage points. These swing states are so similar, in terms of their voting patterns, to the nation as a whole that a single national poll can provide more data for a pundit than a few state polls.

12 Solid John Kerry States - 168 Electoral Votes
In the following states Al Gore beat George W. Bush by over 9 percentage points in the 2000 presidential race.

Washington DC - 3 electoral votes
Rhode Island - 4 electoral votes
Massachusetts - 12 electoral votes
New York - 31 electoral votes
Hawaii - 4 electoral votes
Connecticut - 7 electoral votes
Maryland - 10 electoral votes
New Jersey - 15 electoral votes
Delaware - 3 electoral votes
California - 55 electoral votes
Illinois - 21 electoral votes
Vermont - 3 electoral votes

3 Marginal John Kerry States - 32 Electoral Votes
In the following states Al Gore beat George W. Bush by between 5 and 6 percentage points in the 2000 presidential race.

Washington State - 11 electoral votes
Maine - 4 electoral votes
Michigan - 17 electoral votes

12 Swing States - 138 Electoral Votes
In the following states the vote for Al Gore and George W. Bush differed by less than 5 percentage points in the 2000 presidential race.

Pennsylvania - 21 electoral votes
Minnesota - 10 electoral votes
Oregon - 7 electoral votes
Wisconsin - 10 electoral votes
New Mexico - 5 electoral votes
Iowa - 7 electoral votes
Florida - 27 electoral votes
New Hampshire - 4 electoral votes
Missouri - 11 electoral votes
Ohio - 20 electoral votes
Nevada - 5 electoral votes
Tennessee - 11 electoral votes

4 Marginal George W. Bush States - 30 Electoral Votes
In the following states George W. Bush received between 50 and 52 percent of the vote and Al Gore received less than 46 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential race.

Arkansas - 6 electoral votes
Arizona - 10 electoral votes
West Virginia - 5 electoral votes
Colorado - 9 electoral votes

20 Solid George W. Bush States - 170 Electoral Votes
In the following states George W. Bush received over 52 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential race.

Louisiana - 9 electoral votes
Virginia - 13 electoral votes
Georgia - 15 electoral votes
North Carolina - 15 electoral votes
Alabama - 9 electoral votes
Kentucky - 8 electoral votes
Indiana - 11 electoral votes
South Carolina - 8 electoral votes
Mississippi - 6 electoral votes
Kansas - 6 electoral votes
Texas - 34 electoral votes
Oklahoma - 7 electoral votes
Montana - 3 electoral votes
South Dakota - 3 electoral votes
North Dakota - 3 electoral votes
Alaska - 3 electoral votes
Nebraska - 5 electoral votes
Idaho - 4 electoral votes
Utah - 5 electoral votes
Wyoming - 3 electoral votes

Friday, October 15, 2004

Dragging Mary Cheney into Presidential Politics

It seems reasonable to conclude that the Kerry-Edwards campaign made a calculating decision to discuss the homosexuality of Mary Cheney, one of the Vice President Dick Cheney's daughters, on national television. John Edwards brought the issue up for no good reason during his debate with Dick Cheney, so we know that John Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney was not an accident. Further, when the campaign chairwoman of the Kerry-Edwards campaign was asked about the appropriateness of John Kerry's statements, Mary Beth Cahill responded that it was "fair game." It appears that John Edwards also used the "fair game" term on the campaign trail a day or two after the debate.

It seems to me that such sleazy behavior on the part of John Kerry and John Edwards will hurt their campaign, not help it. If so, why did they employ this bizarre tactic? I can only think of two reasons. (1) They believed that informing socially conservative viewers about Mary Cheney's sexuality would reduce voter turnout among Republican voting groups such as evangelical Protestants and traditional Catholics. (2) They believed that they could persuade voters that Bush and Cheney must be really mean people to deny gay marriage given that a member of the Cheney family is a homosexual.

There is one thing that we do know about this incident. It was "dirty pool" as Fox News analyst Morton Kondracke said immediately after Wednesday night's debate. And it seems that a recent poll shows that two-thirds of voters believe John Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney was inappropriate. We know that John Kerry's personality rubs many voters, even those who agree with his political views, the wrong way. Could the Mary Cheney incident confirm what many voters already suspected, that John Kerry is totally self-serving and willing to exploit anyone, even his rich wife with whom he "married up", for personal gain?

Here's a column by Bill Kristol and another by William F. Buckley Jr. on this same topic.

UPDATE: Here's a post by Tom the Redhunter on this topic on his personal blog site.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Third Debate

On the one hand, I'm glad the debates are over. Last night I wasn't as enthusiastic about listening to the debate as I was in the others. But on the other hand, I am glad that the GOP negotiators accepted the Kerry team's request for three debates, as this was Bush's best performance so far.

And this brings us to the irony of these debates. The Bush team wanted to have the foreign policy debate first, as they thought that it would bring out the best in their candidate. The Kerry team wanted three debates, as they thought that their candidate would shine in all three. Both camps miscalculated.

The question for Republicans is this; was last night's performance by the president too little too late? If he looses this election, which is very possible, blame will center on that first debate.

So yes, Bush won last night. It was his best performance to date. If I sound unenthusiastic it is because I am getting really worried about this election.

The Moderator

Republicans got rolled in the selection of moderators this year. Bob Schieffer was the worst of all of them. He threw softballs to Kerry all night long.

The only good moderator this year was Gwen Ifill in the VP debate. Republicans simply must stop accepting people like Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer. If we can't get someone like Brit Hume, how about a panel? That way at least one or two of them will be fair.

"Assault Weapons"


Is what I and a million other gun owners across the country yelled to their TVs after hearing this from Senator Kerry
I believe it was a failure of presidential leadership not to reauthorize the assault weapons ban.

I am a hunter. I'm a gun owner. I've been a hunter since I was a kid, 12, 13 years old. And I respect the Second Amendment and I will not tamper with the Second Amendment.

But I'll tell you this. I'm also a former law enforcement officer. I ran one of the largest district attorney's offices in America, one of the ten largest. I put people behind bars for the rest of their life. I've broken up organized crime. I know something about prosecuting.

And most of the law enforcement agencies in America wanted that assault weapons ban. They don't want to go into a drug bust and be facing an AK-47.

I was hunting in Iowa last year with a sheriff from one of the counties there, and he pointed to a house in back of us, and said, "See the house over? We just did a drug bust a week earlier, and the guy we arrested had an AK-47 lying on the bed right beside him."

There are so many things wrong here it's hard to know where to start.

For one, he sees the Second Amendment as being designed to protect the rights of hunters. This is completely mistaken. The Seconed Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. Nothing.

Senator Kerry also misunderstands, perhaps deliberately, the definition of "assault weapon"

Dave Kopel explains

The AK-47 (an automatic rifle) is not and never has been illegal; but it is very severely regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which covers automatic firearms. The (now-expired) 1994 Clinton ban on so-called "assault weapons" had nothing to do with automatic weapons, including the AK-47. The ban applied to about 200 firearms with a military appearance, yet had nothing to do with real automatic military weapons. Kerry makes a big deal about being a hunter (he wants to "hunt and kill terrorists," supposedly), but the "assault weapon" ban was about the cosmetics of ordinary guns, not about automatics, as I detailed for NRO.

And as I explained in a previous post, the term "assault weapon" is used as a "scary word" to frighten people. It has little legal or technical meaning.

"Last Resort"

Once again Kerry trotted out the line about how the president allegedly "rushed" to war. He didn't waste any time about it, either. In his very first answer he said

I believe that this president, regrettably, rushed us into a war, made decisions about foreign policy, pushed alliances away.

And later

The fact is that he did not choose to go to war as a last result.

The "Last Resort" justification comes from Just War Theory. And it is entirely legitimate. We should not "rush to war". But what exactly does this mean? The time required between diplomacy and other actions and outright warfare is a judgement call.

As a theoretical, one can always say that we should "give diplomacy more time." We could have done this in 1991. Most of the Democrats in Congress, Kerry included, wanted to give sanctions more time. They claimed that we were "rushing to war" then. But we could not have kept our 500,000 man army in Saudi Arabia for long waiting. There is a military "window of opportunity" before logistical concerns require the troops to be removed. It was a a case of use them or loose them. And does anyone doubt that Saddam would still be in Kuwait today had we delayed?

Likewise with the recent invasion of Iraq. This is not the place for a full discussion, however, as I have done that in an earlier post. As Jay Nordlinger says this morning, " It was the slowest rush to war in history." I count the time as starting from the end of the Gulf War, when Saddam was put on notice that he had to obey the terms of the cease-fire or else. Kerry and the other liberals use as their start date sometime in 2002, when Bush decided to hold Saddam accountable for his years of flouting 16(?) UN resolutions.

Gaffe of the Night

David Frum says that this was the worst moment for either candidate last night, and I tend to agree (but see below)
Kerry made the gaffe of a lifetime in his answer to Bob Schieffer’s last question. “Well I guess all three of us are lucky men who married up.” The second those words passed his lips, his face flushed and his face twisted into a self-horrified grimace.
He tried to laugh his way out of it, but the man simply cannot tell a joke.

The Other Gaffe

That is, the one that everyone was talking about last night and this morning
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President, let's get back to economic issues. But let's shift to some other questions here.

Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

(the president responds by saying that he doesn't know)

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.
Lynn Cheney was decidedly less than pleased. See story here also.

Best Put Down

Dan Rather must have choked on his pretzel when he heard this from the president
In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind.
And to think that Bob Schieffer was from CBS.

No doubt Bush will be savaged by the mainstream media for his comment. But who cares? And did you notice how much Schieffer quoted news organizations in his questions?

Kerry's Record in the Senate

Oh wait, he doesn't have one. At least not a record of doing anything.

The president finally pointed out that Kerry was "Senator Do-Nothing" for twenty years.
He introduced some 300 bills and he's passed five
Kerry tried to counter
Once again, the president is misleading America. I've actually passed 56 individual bills that I've personally written and, in addition to that, and not always under my name, there is amendments on certain bills.
The truth (as explained on Fox News last night) is that of the 56 bills that Kerry is referring to, 51 never became law. They were either vetoed by the president or died (the president can simply kill legislation by not signing it. Most of the time, anyway. It is a bit complicated)

Amnesty for Illegal Aliens

Here's what George Bush said on the subject
Now, it's very important for our citizens to also know that I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. And we ought not to crowd these people ahead of them in line
Ok, makes sense. Then it was Kerry's turn
...we need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.
This is "nuance" for "I'm in favor of letting illegal aliens become citizens"

Ok, enough from me

Let the comments begin!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Mark Steyn analyzes the second debate

It was a face-off without their faces on writes Mark Steyn in his analysis of the second Presidential debate between President Bush and John Kerry. Like most pundits, Steyn thinks Bush improved dramatically this second time around.
I wrote here last week that Bush owed the American people a "performance". Television types define performance very narrowly - the kind of accomplished blandness of a smooth news anchor or financial reporter or weather girl - and they tend to measure political performance in media terms, too. But what the over-caffeinated Bush communicated on Friday was his passion, his energy, his resolve, his sense of humour and his authenticity. If he yells and waves his arms around too much to make a convincing weather girl, big deal.

Kerry, on the other hand, was accomplished only in media-smoothie terms. At Friday's debate, the Senator pledged that he wouldn't raise taxes on families earning over $200,000. Then he gazed out over the audience and said: "And looking around here, at this group here, I suspect there are only three people here who are going to be affected: the President, me, and Charlie, I'm sorry, you too," he added, chuckling clubbily with the debate moderator, big-time ABC News anchor Charles Gibson.

Well, he has a point. Bush is a millionaire, Gibson's a zillionaire, and Kerry's a multi-gazillionaire. But how can you tell by looking at people that they earn under 200 grand? And, even if you can, is it such a great idea to let 'em know they look like working stiffs and chain-store schlubs? But, when you've married two heiresses, it's kinda hard to tell where the losers with mere six-figure incomes begin: it's like the 97-year-old who calls the guys in late-middle age "sonny".