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Obama has travelled a large distance in 2 years.

Two years ago, American pollster SurveyUSA interviewed 600 people/state and asked them who’d they vote for in a hypothetical match-up between Barack Obama and John McCain. This is what their electoral map looked like based on those interviews.

Based on the interviews, McCain would have won 510 – 28.  Today, Obama is predicted by most to win the election – perhaps decisively. There are nagging worries among some Democratic supporters that the popular vote spread might be skewed. Obama currently has an average  7.7 point lead in the national polls, and I’ve seen some Democrats on message boards fear that he still might lose – the theory being he’ll rack up massive wins in traditional “blue” Democratic states, while narrowly losing “red” or battleground states. The networks have also tried to push this – probably to keep people interested in watching their network on election night.

What works against that fear is that I’ve read somewhere that historically, no candidate that was leading in the national polls by more then 2 points has ever lost the electoral college (I’m searching for the link to that).  Even in the infamous 2000 election, Al Gore’s national popular vote lead over Bush was under 1% when he had the election stolen from him lost. Here’s a column by someone who finds that worrying a tad ridiculous, and who says  if Obama wins by several points in the national popular vote, it won’t even be close.

Anyhow, it matters not to Obama how much he wins by in the national popular vote or the electoral college – he’s looking for 270 electoral votes. His formula for winning is very simple; he needs to carry all the John Kerry states of 2004 (252)  plus New Mexico and Iowa (12) which Al Gore won in 2000, but Kerry did not.  Obama  is expected to do that in most polls. After that, if he wins either Colorado or Virginia – 2 states that show leads for him – he clinches the presidency and everything after that is gravy.

Even if he fails at those scenarios, and doesnt win any of the battlegrounds like Florida, Ohio, Virginia, etc.. but still manages to win Nevada, where again polls have shown consistent leads the electoral vote becomes 269-269.. and as the tiebreaker is decided in the House of Representatives, and as the Dems are expected to increase their advantage in the House regardless of who wins the Presidency, Obama still would likely become the next president.

That said, McCain has the harder task to get to 270 then Obama does, and it doesnt appear that Pennsylvania – a key blue state that McCain’s campaign has spent an enormous amount of time in the past 2 weeks in an effort to flip it to the Republians – has moved in McCain’s direction. The last polls for PA show a comfortable lead for Obama, who hasnt even campaigned in PA while the McCain/Palin ticket were racing around the state. He’s been playing offence in Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and so on, and I think that will show up in tonight’s vote.

Of course, I and a legion of others could be all wrong and we could all be eating crow later. But, unless McCain rolls the table and all these polls are wrong, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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