Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain Gains and South Mid-Atlantic Overview

The polls are beginning to show and ever-so-slightening tighting in the US presidential race between John McCain and Barack Obama. McCain has gained 0.2 percentage points on Obama in the national popular vote based on national and state polls released over the past 24 hours and run through my trusty model:

However, there is no change in the electoral vote breakdown and no change in the current national electoral map:

Although the electoral map has not changed, there has been some movement towards McCain in Colorado where only a tick separates the state from readmission to the swing state club. As for the swing states, McCain has gained slightly in Nevada and North Carolina while Obama has gained slightly in Florida over the past 24 hours:

McCain's position has also firmed in the four Republican-leaning states where Obama seemed to recently threaten:

Our regional overview will continue today with coverage of what I call the "South Mid-Atlantic" states of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina as well as the District of Columbia. The location of these states is identified in the map below:

The maps below gives a closeup of these states:

The idea that this might be a coherent region in presidential elections is recent, namely since I started writing this post. The linguistic divide between north and south runs right through Delaware and Maryland and nearly all of Virginia and absolutely all of North Carolina is on the south side of this divide. Furthermore, while Maryland and Delaware have leaned Democratic since 1964, Virginia and North Carolina have strongly leaned Republican over the same period. In fact, between 1872 and 1960 North Carolina only voted Republican twice (in 1872 and 1928) while Virginia only voted for the GOP 5 out of 23 elections. In contrast, Delaware voted Republican 13 times and Maryland 10 times over the same period.

So why am I lumping these states under the same regional category? The reason is that the economic influence of the north is slowing spreading to the south and, as a result, Virginia and North Carolina are politically moving slowly into the orbit of the north and trending more Democratic in presidential elections. Unless John McCain makes a last minute run at Barack Obama, Virginia now appears likely to casts its electoral votes for a northern liberal Democrat for the first time in the post-1964 era. Although North Carolina appears less likely to do so, Obama has a reasonably good chance of winning this southern state as well. This is likely a trend that will last beyond Barack Obama. Maryland and Delaware are of course firmly in the orbit of the north. The federal government's District of Columbia enclave will likely give more than 90% of its votes to Obama. But then, anything less would be shocking:

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