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WSJ: Battleground States
Posted By Barry Ritholtz On May 26, 2004 @ 12:01 am In Politics | Comments Disabled
The WSJ continues to impress with their aggressive election coverage. Here is their most recent State by State analysis. The Journal observes:
“Mr. Bush won eight of these 16 battlegrounds in his 2000 victory, but if the election were to be held tomorrow, it looks unlikely that the president would fare as well. But differences in one-quarter of the states where Mr. Kerry leads — Florida, Missouri and Nevada — fall within the polls’ margins of error, while those of half of Mr. Bush’s states — Tennessee and West Virginia — do. If one discounts battleground victories that fall within the margin of error, Mr. Kerry carries nine states and 105 electoral votes, and Mr. Bush two states and 13 electoral votes.”
As you can see from the map below (click for larger pop up), the incumbent has picked up but one “Blue State” — Iowa — from 2000. The challenger has picked 5 formerly Red States. (Note that 11 states are within the margin of error).
Battleground States Map
Click for Larger Map
Source: WSJ 
Surprisingly, neither the Journal nor Zogby International found 3rd party candidate Ralph Nader to be much of a factor. “Mr. Nader, who has yet to get on the ballot in any state, made his best showing in Minnesota, where he received 3.4% of the vote, compared with Mr. Kerry’s 51.3% and Mr. Bush’s 42%.” Indeed, but for Minnesota, Nader polls under 3% — and in many states, well under. Unless the race is as close as last time, he is now looking like less and less of a factor.
State by State analysis of how the candidates are faring relative to how each state voted in 2000:
The electoral situation has been, and remains, quite fluid. We’ve previously discussed the projected electoral college vote for 2004 , where we discover some unexpected twists. We noted the Cuban voters in Florida, a previously reliable GOP bloc, were wavering in their support  for the president. We also observed that Arab voters were abandoning Bush  in key swing states. And the table above provides empirical evidence that the projected impact of Nader  on close states in 2004 is likely to be much less than previously expected.
Of course, the usual caveats apply: The election is still many months away, and anything can and will happen. We have yet to see what sort of “Hail Marys” Karl Rove has dreampt up; I imagine there are still afew tricks left up his sleeve. I’ll post my 5 favorite potential October surprises after the weekend.
Lastly, I continue to be impressed by the depth and quality of the WSJ reporting. Between their coverage of the Iraq war and their focus on the election, they are simply the best newspaper in America today.
UPDATE: May 27, 2004 04:27 PM
Ellen Dana Nagler informs us (thanks Ellen!) that CNN just flashed a poll that shows Kerry leading in Iowa.
Of course, the statisticians out there will caution us about the dangers of mixing data sources, and they are correct in that. So until WSJ/Zogby see the same Iowa numbers, it should not impact the present poll.
We don’t get to cherry pick the data points/Intel you like from a variety of different sources, and then wrap it up as a consistent report; Only the Vice-President can do that.
WSJ Interactive Map 
Zogby Interactive (http://zogby.com), Federal Election Commission, Political Money Line, U.S. Dept. of Labor, state governments, state elections boards, WSJ.com research.
Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog
URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2004/05/wsj-battleground-states/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/images/battleground_states.html
 WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-battleground04.html
 projected electoral college vote for 2004: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/03/projected_elect.html
 wavering in their support: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/03/cuban_voters_in.html
 abandoning Bush: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/03/arabamericans_s.html
 projected impact of Nader: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/03/more_electoral_.html
 WSJ Print version: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-battleground04-print.html
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