Kudos, high-fives, and generally all sorts of respect to the people over at 270toWin.com for their fantastic website. Their homepage has an interactive map of the United States of America that shows a variety of scenarios for the 2016 American presidential election. In addition, there is a feature that allows the user to create their own scenario. It is that feature that I will be showcasing in this particular blog posting.
I wrote an earlier post (and please click here for the details) that laid out where I thought the fifty states (plus the District of Columbia) stood in terms of how solidly they leaned towards the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate. I had a “Solid” category (it would take a miracle for the state to switch), a “Mostly” category (it would be possible to flip the state but it would require an enormous effort), a “Leaning” category (these states were somewhat fickle and unpredictable), and a “Tossup” category (explanation self-evident). My previous post used many a word to show that, at this early stage of prognostication, the Democratic presidential nominee had an advantage with a starting point of 242 votes in the Electoral College (EC) compared to the Republican presidential nominee who starts with 206 EC votes.
As a reminder, an American presidential candidate needs 270 EC votes to win the election.
Words are fine and dandy, but now let me show you graphically what all those words meant.
First, here is the map showing only those states in the “Solid” category:
As mentioned above, these are the states that each major party candidate can feel 99.99% certain will be in their column come Election Day this November. With simply these states, the Democratic Party starts off enjoying a 179-143 advantage, despite the fact that the Republicans own more states (19) than their opponents (14).
Adding in the “Mostly” category fills the map in like this:
These five states are areas that each party can feel moderately confident will stay with them. It is not inconceivable for one of these states to flip, but it would take a huge ball of resources to make that happen. With a trio of states added to the Republican tally compared to the two that go for the Democratic candidate, the Republican candidate narrows the gap to only a 202-181 contest.
Finally, by shading in the states that I classify as “Leaning”, my baseline map for the 2016 American presidential election looks like this:
The states in light blue (Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) and light red (Missouri, North Carolina) are the “Leaning” states while those in gray (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia) fall into the “Tossup” bucket. These are the thirteen states that comprise my Swing State Symphony.
With my map filled in as such, it shows that the Democratic presidential nominee starts off with 242 EC votes and thus only needs to find 28 (out of the possible 90 from the Tossup category) more votes to win. In contrast, the Republican nominee begins the quest for the White House with 206 EC votes and thus has to find an additional 64 (out of 90) to secure the win.
The Swing State Symphony, and the 155 EC votes that they control, is where the battle for the White House will be fought, won, and lost.
Or not. Everything else that has been “predicted” during this election cycle has been proven wrong, so why should this be any different.