Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Race Tightens Further and Outer West Overview

[Note: Text was added to the original graphs and tables.]

John McCain's modest recent momentum continued over the past 24 hours as he reduced Barack Obama's lead in the national popular vote by 0.4 percentage points:

However, the electoral vote distribution remained unchanged with Obama continuing to hold a solid lead:

Although there was no change in the Electoral College vote, the national electoral map continued to show some movement towards McCain as Virginia slipped into the swing state category:

Among the swing states, McCain further consolidated his lead in Florida and crept closer to Obama in Nevada. The race continued to tighted in Colorado while, as I noted above, Virginia joined the swing state club over the past 24 hours:

In the Bellwether states, McCain inched closer to Obama in both Missouri and Ohio. However, Obama continues to lead in both states and McCain has a considerable uphill climb to capture these two crucial states:

We continue our regional series with what I call the Outer West. These states surround the Lower 48 Inner West states of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah and they include (going clockwise from north to west) Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

These mountainous and far-from-heavily populated states have an electoral history not dissimilar to that of the Inner West states. The Populist candidate James Weaver carried Nevada and Colorado in the 1892 election while the populist Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan carried the region with more than 80% of the vote (note that Arizona and New Mexico did not become states until 1912). The region voted Democratic as a bloc in the three-way 1912 race and in 1916 and the region leaned Democratic through the 1948 election. Although Outer West has leaned Republican since the 1952 election the region has become more competitive in recent elections. Bill Clinton carried four of five states here in 1992 and three states here in 1996 and although George W. Bush carried every state in the region in 2004, his margin of victory was 5 percentage points or less in three of these five states. There is every indication that the Outer West will be among the nation's most competitive in 2008:

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