WSJ: Battleground States


The WSJ continues to impress with their aggressive election coverage. Here is their most recent State by State analysis. The Journal observes:

“Mr. Bush won eight of these 16 battlegrounds in his 2000 victory, but if the election were to be held tomorrow, it looks unlikely that the president would fare as well. But differences in one-quarter of the states where Mr. Kerry leads — Florida, Missouri and Nevada — fall within the polls’ margins of error, while those of half of Mr. Bush’s states — Tennessee and West Virginia — do. If one discounts battleground victories that fall within the margin of error, Mr. Kerry carries nine states and 105 electoral votes, and Mr. Bush two states and 13 electoral votes.”

As you can see from the map below (click for larger pop up), the incumbent has picked up but one “Blue State” — Iowa — from 2000. The challenger has picked 5 formerly Red States. (Note that 11 states are within the margin of error).

Battleground States Map
Click for Larger Map
Source: WSJ

Surprisingly, neither the Journal nor Zogby International found 3rd party candidate Ralph Nader to be much of a factor. “Mr. Nader, who has yet to get on the ballot in any state, made his best showing in Minnesota, where he received 3.4% of the vote, compared with Mr. Kerry’s 51.3% and Mr. Bush’s 42%.” Indeed, but for Minnesota, Nader polls under 3% — and in many states, well under. Unless the race is as close as last time, he is now looking like less and less of a factor.

State by State analysis of how the candidates are faring relative to how each state voted in 2000:

Poll Results

STATE 2000
MAY 24
% Pts.
of Error
ARKANSAS BUSH BUSH 4.8 +/- 4.5% 49.3% 44.5% 1.2
FLORIDA BUSH KERRY 1.4 +/- 3.4% 47.6% 49% 1
IOWA GORE BUSH 5.2 +/- 4.0% 50.1% 44.9% 0.8
MICHIGAN GORE KERRY 8.3 +/- 4.0% 41.2% 49.5% 2.4
MINNESOTA GORE KERRY 9.3 +/- 3.2% 42% 51.3% 3.4
MISSOURI BUSH KERRY 3.3 +/- 4.3% 43.9% 47.2% 2.1
NEVADA BUSH KERRY 3.8 +/- 4.3% 43.5% 47.3% 2.8
NEW-HAMPSHIRE BUSH KERRY 9.6 +/- 4.3% 39.9% 49.5% 2.2
NEW-MEXICO GORE KERRY 5.1 +/- 4.6% 43.3% 48.4% 2.9
OHIO BUSH KERRY 4.6 +/- 4.1% 44.8% 49.4% 0.9
OREGON GORE KERRY 5.4 +/- 3.2% 44.3% 49.7% 2.9
PENNSYLVANIA GORE KERRY 8.2 +/- 3.8% 42.6% 50.8% 1.8
TENNESSEE BUSH BUSH 2.5 +/- 3.0% 49.3% 46.8% 0.6
WASHINGTON GORE KERRY 8.1 +/- 4.3% 44.4% 52.5% 1.3
WEST-VIRGINIA BUSH BUSH 2.4 +/- 4.4% 48.3% 45.9% 2
WISCONSIN GORE KERRY 8.2 +/- 3.4% 43.7% 51.9% 1.4

The electoral situation has been, and remains, quite fluid. We’ve previously discussed the projected electoral college vote for 2004, where we discover some unexpected twists. We noted the Cuban voters in Florida, a previously reliable GOP bloc, were wavering in their support for the president. We also observed that Arab voters were abandoning Bush in key swing states. And the table above provides empirical evidence that the projected impact of Nader on close states in 2004 is likely to be much less than previously expected.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: The election is still many months away, and anything can and will happen. We have yet to see what sort of “Hail Marys” Karl Rove has dreampt up; I imagine there are still afew tricks left up his sleeve. I’ll post my 5 favorite potential October surprises after the weekend.

Lastly, I continue to be impressed by the depth and quality of the WSJ reporting. Between their coverage of the Iraq war and their focus on the election, they are simply the best newspaper in America today.

UPDATE: May 27, 2004 04:27 PM
Ellen Dana Nagler informs us (thanks Ellen!) that CNN just flashed a poll that shows Kerry leading in Iowa.

Of course, the statisticians out there will caution us about the dangers of mixing data sources, and they are correct in that. So until WSJ/Zogby see the same Iowa numbers, it should not impact the present poll.

We don’t get to cherry pick the data points/Intel you like from a variety of different sources, and then wrap it up as a consistent report; Only the Vice-President can do that.

WSJ Interactive Map

WSJ Print version

Zogby Interactive (, Federal Election Commission, Political Money Line, U.S. Dept. of Labor, state governments, state elections boards, research.

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Marc Brazeau commented on May 26

    Naders impact will be further blunted by the fact that he’s having trouble getting on the ballot in some states.

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