Rove: Hillary Over McCain; McCain Over Obama
You may hate him or think he's sleazy or whatever, but you have to acknowledge that Karl Rove flat-out KNOWS his electoral politics. In The Wall Street Journal today, he handicaps the Electoral College (and, it turns out, he agrees with me):
... The Democrats' refusal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at their convention is an unresolved problem. If they insist on not seating these delegations, Democrats risk alienating voters in states with 44 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. And here Mr. Obama is at greater risk than Mrs. Clinton, especially in Florida. He trails John McCain badly in Sunshine State polls today, while Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. McCain there.(emphasis added)
The primary has created a deep fissure in Democratic ranks: blue collar, less affluent, less educated voters versus the white wine crowd of academics and upscale professionals (along with blacks and young people). Mr. Obama runs behind Mrs. Clinton's numbers when matched against Mr. McCain in key industrial battleground states. Less than half of Mrs. Clinton's backers in Indiana and North Carolina say they would support Mr. Obama if he were the nominee. In the most recent Fox News poll, two-and-a-half times as many Democrats break for Mr. McCain (15%) as Republicans defect to Mrs. Clinton (6%) and nearly twice as many Democrats support Mr. McCain (22%) as Republicans back Mr. Obama (13%). These "McCainocrat" defections could hurt badly.
My analysis of individual state polls shows that today Mr. McCain would win 241 Electoral College votes to Mr. Obama's 217, with 80 votes in toss-up states where neither candidate has more than a 3% lead. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton now leads Mr. McCain with 251 electoral votes to his 203 with 84 in toss-up states.
The battlegrounds will look familiar. It will be the industrial heartland from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, minus Indiana (Republican) and Illinois (Democrat); the western edge of the Midwest from Minnesota south to Missouri; Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada in the Rocky Mountains; Florida; and New Hampshire.
Mr. Obama will argue he puts Virginia and North Carolina into play (doubtful) [ED.: McCain wins big in Virginia and comforably in North Carolina - count on it.], and may make an attempt at winning one or two of Nebraska's electoral votes (it awards its electoral votes by congressional district). Mr. McCain will say he can put New Jersey and Delaware and part of Maine (it splits its vote like Nebraska) in play.
Rove appears to agree with me on
(1) Hillary being the stronger candidate against McCain, and
(2) Where the key battleground states will be (the majority of which play into Hillary's strengths).
If we're right, the Democrats appear to have nominated the wrong candidate. Obama could still win in November (although I think he'll lose to McCain by a comfortable margin), but Hillary would have been a likely slam dunk victory for the Dems.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Why North Carolina and Indiana Really Don't Mean That Much ...
Rich Lowry on Hillary the "Social Conservative" [UPDATED]
Obama Campaign Seeks to Close Family Gap [UPDATED]
Dems Are Beginning to Believe They Can't Beat John McCain [UPDATED]