I missed an opportunity to see Barack Obama speak this morning in nearby Sarasota, FL at Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. With the two little kids home with me, it just proved too difficult to get everything ready and make the 75 mile trek before gates opened at 9:00am. And it's too bad. Because I watched the speech on tv and it was well delivered. I would've liked to have felt the energy of that crowd even if I did not agree with it on all issues.
However, there's one thing I would agree on: Barack Obama has quite simply run a damn good campaign. I think 2008 will be one of those "watershed" years and Obama has changed presidential campaigns forever. His steady approach to controversy, dynamic communication to audiences of 1 or 100,000, energizing of formerly jaded voters, slick warming up to the media, and business savvy in fund raising and expenditures will re-define running for president forever.
This does not prove he will automatically be a great president, but having these skills doesn't exactly hurt either. However, I have come to the conclusion that these factors do prove to me that Barack Obama will be elected President of the United States of America next Tuesday.
In summary, I start with the famous 2004 Bush-Kerry red-blue map. Then I'm giving Obama the Western states of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. I say he also picks up Iowa on the momentum of his primary win there. And finally, on the strength of some powerful campaigning in the final days, I'm giving the traditional GOP states of Florida and Virginia to Barack as well. All this is more than enough to give Obama the victory as long as he can defend the blue states.
As for McCain, with his lackluster campaign and the wave of anti-GOP sentiment, I just don't see him picking up enough of the blue states he needs. I do think he holds on to many of the swing states. I'll say he keeps Ohio, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, and Missouri in the GOP column. New Hampshire seems to like McCain but with a likely Democratic Senate pickup, I can't give him that one. However, based on Obama's poor showing in the PA primary and the "bitter people" comment, I'll say Mac surprisingly wins Pennsylvania. But that many of these red states are even in play indicates what an uphill battle McCain is fighting. And I just don't think he's doing nearly as well as Obama is doing with a strong wind at his back.
Dems will make big gains in Congress, but I say the presidential popular vote is close. Probably 2% points or so for Obama. But the only numbers that matters: Obama/Biden: 297 -- McCain/Palin: 241.
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