Asked whether they consider themselves Democrats or Republicans (or leaned one way or the other) the electorate said Democrat 44%-39% in 2000 and 47%-41% in 2004. Of course, that did not translate into electoral victory in either year. However, the number in 2007 was 50%-35%, and it may be growing. The fifteen-point spread is larger than at any time going back through 1990. So, it’s not all that surprising that the Democrats are enjoying higher voter registration everywhere from Vermont to Rhode Island to Connecticut to North Carolina to Oregon to Nevada.
The question is whether the Democrats can break the red/blue impasse and get a truly realigning election. It’s a little early but there are some indications that Obama can pull it off. Here are some red states where SurveyUSA has Obama beating McCain:
Assuming that Obama can hold Kerry’s blue states and carry those five red states, he has a 308-230 Electoral College advantage. That number grows to 317-221 if you include, for example, Colorado, where Rasmussen finds Obama (but not Hillary) outpacing McCain. Interestingly, Rasmussen currently gives the Democrats a 284-229 Electoral College advantage, with 25 points undecided. Here’s their breakdown.
Safely Democratic: California (55), Connecticut (7), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), New York (31), Rhode Island (4), and Vermont (3).
Likely Democratic: Delaware (3), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), New Jersey (15), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), and Washington (11).
Leans Democratic: Iowa (7), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), and Wisconsin (10).
Toss-Up: Colorado (9), Missouri (11), and Nevada (5).
Leans Republican: Florida (27), Virginia (13).
Likely Republican: Arkansas (6), North Carolina (15).
Safely Republican: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (10), Georgia (15), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), West Virginia (5) and Wyoming (3).
Clinton clearly has an advantage in Arkansas, but that seems to be the extent of her cross-over potential. Hillary is losing in the ‘likely Democratic’ state of Oregon and the ‘Leans Democratic’ state of Wisconsin. But Obama is ahead in those states and cuts into McCain’s base in Virginia and wins the ‘toss-up’ states of Colorado and Missouri.
When we look at the ‘safe Republican’ states, in the primaries/caucuses Obama has won or (is favored to win) all of them except Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Those are four states that will be tough to crack, but who knows? Obama should be competitive in the ‘Likely Republican’ state of North Carolina, where he is polling well ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Overall, Obama is showing much greater cross-over appeal, even though he is locked in a very tough battle for the nomination. What states do you think we can’t win, if any?