Can John McCain Win with Only the South?

On Tuesday, I asked if John McCain's apparent gains in national polling were coming from the South, a region that is more or less off the table in the race for 270 electoral votes this fall. Indeed, both NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling and the latest Gallup numbers both showed McCain making up much of the ground in the South, with Gallup finding that the only -- only -- region in which McCain led Barack Obama was the South. Now new Research 2000 polling shows very similar results. Take a look:

CandidateNationwideNortheastSouthMidwestWest
McCain4537544344
Obama4755385048

These numbers are more problematic for McCain than you might think given the overall closeness of the national campaign. Back in 2004, George W. Bush not only carried the South by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin, he also beat John Kerry in the Midwest 51 percent to 48 percent and nearly won the West, losing just 50 percent to 49 percent. McCain carries just one region to Bush's two, and is less competitive in the West to boot. In fact, McCain's numbers look a lot more like those of the Republicans in 2006 when the party lost overwhelmingly in the race for the House. Then the party only carried the South, 53 percent to 45 percent (compared to McCain's 54 percent to 38 percent lead), pulling in 35 percent in the Northeast (compared to McCain's 37 percent today), 47 percent in the Midwest (to McCain's 43 percent today), and 43 percent in the West (to McCain's 44 percent).

So the question becomes, can McCain win the White House only carrying the South? He might be able to pull of a popular vote win doing so, though it would be a stretch, but in the electoral college winning only the South and losing the other three regions of the country would make McCain's path to 270 electoral votes challenging, to say the least. So just how does he expect to swing it?

Tags: South, White House 2008 (all tags)

Comments

26 Comments

Dividing by region is problematic

There are lots of problems with dividing the vote by region. For example, how much does California skew the numbers for the west? Also, Virginia and Florida are in the south, and those are two states Obama would very much like to win.

I think it's better to look at state polls rather than breakdowns by region.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-09-11 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Dividing by region is problematic

Gotta agree.  Big states do skew the regional totals.

It all boils down to which states Bush won in '04 that Obama can win. That's why Obama possibly leading Ohio is huge.  

by Bear83 2008-09-11 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Dividing by region is problematic

I agree although I would caution that even the state polls tell a very conflicted pictures.

The little poll watcher widget in the top right of the MyDD home page tells us McCain is winning, RCP tells us their pretty much tied, and electoral vote has Obama in the lead (because of Florida, otherwise they'd be the same as RCP).

I think it will go down to the wire like all the other elections.

by kristoph 2008-09-11 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Dividing by region is problematic

Especially considering that the Electoral College map right to the left of the post shows exactly how McCain can win. It is a very possible scenario.

by ineedalife 2008-09-11 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

Sure, and that's why he is in the lead in every projected electoral college calculation and just took the favored position to win in Intrade (where the boys and girls put their money down).

By all means, rely on Research 2000 a tool of KOS and the ONLY poll showing Obama with a lead today.

by oliver777 2008-09-11 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

Gallup shows the exact same thing, troll.

by Angry White Democrat 2008-09-11 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

Gallup daily shows 48-44 McCain. I know times are stressful but get your facts right.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/110227/Gallup -Daily-McCain-48-Obama-44.aspx

by MNPundit 2008-09-11 04:25PM | 0 recs
We were talking about the REGIONAL numbers

by Angry White Democrat 2008-09-11 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

www.electoral-vote.com

Obama leads 273 to 238 (with Florida's 27 tied)

www.realclearpolitics.com

Obama leads 273 to 265

Easy on the hyperbole.

by Skaje 2008-09-11 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

The problem with those figures is that a single poll came out of New Mexico showing McCain with a +2 lead.  Now, that's only one poll, but, in the absence of any others, that's enough to flip the RCP number to McCain 270 - Obama 268.

by JDWalley 2008-09-11 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

Inatrade also had Romney as McCain's VP.  GO Figure.

by NewOaklandDem 2008-09-11 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

When did Intrade become the law?  If it was up to Intrade, this race would have been Rudy against Hillary.  We know how that turned out.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2008-09-11 03:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

Because it first had Obama at 61 and is now leaning McCai? And since thsi is the liberal blogosphere, the bleaker it is for the Democrats, the more likely it is to be quoted.

by spirowasright 2008-09-11 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?
You've are transparent. Time to choose a new sockpuppet.
by mikeinsf 2008-09-11 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

No sock thick enough to hide teh stupid.

by lojasmo 2008-09-11 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

The popular vote may very well be close in the end, but ultimately I see Obama winning every Kerry state, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada.    And that would be good for a 298-240 electoral vote win, bigger than either of Bush's wins.

I agree, the Palin pick and the convention seem to have just reinforced McCain where he is weak: his own base.  It seems like Republicans are finally as excited about their ticket as we are about ours.  This is reflected most strongly in states that Republicans enjoy a strong advantage in, i.e. the South.

by Skaje 2008-09-11 03:32PM | 0 recs
It's really sad

and says a lot about Republicans that they would be as excited about their ticket as Democrats are about theirs.

by Bear83 2008-09-11 03:39PM | 0 recs
title

May I be a prig and suggest changing the title of this post to "Can John McCain Win with Only the South?"  

As written it suggests that he must carry the south, but as long as he does, he can win.  

-- The Pedant.

by snowback 2008-09-11 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: title

What is a prig? Such a weird word....

by MNPundit 2008-09-11 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: title

a stickler -- someone overly concerned with propriety (in my case linguisitic propriety), usually in an irritating way.  Pity my wife.

by snowback 2008-09-11 04:35PM | 0 recs
Here's how

He wins Ohio.  Maybe Michigan or Pennsylvania (if things keep sliding at this rate).  If not?  He wins NM and Colorado.  AND he holds the South (including Virginia).  Wouldn't that do it?  I mean, he also wins the West (most of it)- don't forget that.

by easyE 2008-09-11 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

up by 6 in mich, tied in florida, tied in ohio (averaging) striking distance in missouri, up in CO and within MOE in va.  if palinmania is the peak, we're good.  if it's the stepping off point, holy crap.

by Doug Tuttle 2008-09-11 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

check out today's polls at realclearpolitics.   Most of them not looking so good in most of the battleground states.  Strangely conflicting on a couple of states- but even still- SCARY.

by easyE 2008-09-11 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win Only with the South?

boo.

by lojasmo 2008-09-11 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win with Only the South?

I would be real careful about crosstabs.  The sample size of most polls these days are so small that the sample sizes of the crosstabs are meaningless.  An overall sample size of say 800 (pretty big by today's standards) means that the sample size for any of the 4 regions is 200.  It's awfully iffy to speculate on a region's preferences based on 200 voters.

State and regional polls at least have a reasonable sample size (whether anyone's samples are truly random and independent is another matter).

by oakparker1 2008-09-11 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Can John McCain Win with Only the South?

South is huge due to the population of illegal aliens counted in the census. That boosts the electoral college by two or three in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona while reducing them in states such as NY, PA and IL. If we had not counted the illegals in the 1990 census, the entire history of the US would have changed. Al Gore would have been elected President.

by Boilermaker 2008-09-12 08:24AM | 0 recs

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