The numbers game

Tuesday, October 28th 2008, 4:54 pm
By: News 9

By Samantha Hayes, for NEWS 9

Oct. 28, 2008

WASHINGTON -- It's red, blue, and a few shades in between. The political map of the United States of America. Each state has a color, and a value, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Call it a numbers game. The first campaign to reach 270 wins, and the White House is the prize.

But at this stage of the game, with only a week left, the path to victory has narrowed considerably, especially for John McCain. Just look at McCain's schedule. Where is he spending his time? Ohio and Pennsylvania. According to CNN's statistical average of several recent polls in Pennsylvania, he's behind Obama by 10 points. That may seem out of reach, but aides to McCain say he must win the state's 21 electoral votes if he's going to have a shot. Polls from Ohio and Florida suggest the race is tighter in those battlegrounds, which is good news for McCain who must-win those states, too. They are even more critical to McCain than past Republican nominees because traditionally red states like Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri, Colorado, and Nevada are now up for grabs.

As it stands now, CNN estimates that Barack Obama has 192 electoral votes in the bag, with 85 from states leaning his way. That's more than enough to win. Obama's campaign strategy may simply be to keep the ship steady for one more week. McCain, if you count red states and those leaning his way, has 174 and therefore needs to figure out a way to essentially sink Obama quickly. Even if he wins all the electoral votes from states categorized as "toss-ups" by CNN he's still 9 short. That means he must steal at least one blue state that can put him over the top. His campaign thinks that state is Pennsylvania. On November 4th, it will be one more pivotal state to watch.