Thursday, September 14, 2006

Football & the (Next) President of the United States

A quick post before I get back to work...

I was watching the Giants - Colts game this past Sunday night, and in the crowd was the next President of the United States. How do I know? Well, the reaction to his appearance: A huge standing ovation and plenty of cheering. Who was it? Why, Rudy Guiliani, of course.

I'm not the biggest Guiliani fan: He's a social liberal, and not a mild one at that. However, he is a better option than most of the others that seem to be planning a run, and it seems clear that if he runs in 2008, he will win - and here's why: The electoral college system.

First, here are the 36 states plus Washington DC that were solid red (GOP) and blue (Dem) in both 2000 and 2004:
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Connecticut
DC
Delaware
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oklahoma
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wyoming
I am starting with the safe assumption that these states [save the ones I will discuss later], which all won by 5+% in both elections, will vote as they did in 2004 and 2000. Of 538 electoral votes, this means that the GOP begins with 191, and the Dems begin with 183. (270 are needed to clinch victory.)

Of the 14 remaining states, all but New Hampshire and Ohio have swung to the right... and they stayed right around the same as they had in the previous election. Some quick analysis:

First of all, thanks to demographic shifts – which I’d say are mostly due to births and the Roe Effect – Red states picked up 11 electorals while losing 4, while blue states picked up 1 while losing 8. That’s a 14-vote swing right there. [2000 vs. 2004] This shouldn't affect the 2008 elections, as they won't be adjusting the electoral votes by then, as far as I know.

Second: Of the only 3 states that swung in the past election, 2 swung Bush (Arizona, Iowa) and 1 swung Kerry (NH).
Of the 11 swing states in 2004, this is how Bush did as opposed to 2000: (margin of victory <5%)>* This was based off whatever numbers I was using - a couple of these may be off slightly, as the New Hampshire one at least seems off... but the numbers and the point I'm making should be correct regardless.
Of the 12 states that were swing in 2000, 3 were no longer close in 2004 – all easily red. Of the 2 that were new to the list, 1 came from each party. Of the 9 that remained on the list, New Hampshire is the only one to become more “blue”, and by a negligible amount.

Pennsylvania and Michigan are *still* swing states. Bush did better in Illinois (+1.5) and way better in NJ (+6%) than he did in 2000. He even picked up 3% more in CA and 5% in NY. This, despite being one of the most vilified incumbents in a long time during an election.

Even if we assume that the three former swing states (FL, TN, MO) that Bush won by more than 5% in 2004 don't continue to swing right, it is safe to assume that they will not swing left in this election, particularly if Guiliani runs for President. Therefore, one can add another 49 electoral votes to the Guiliani tally, giving him 240 to start.

Now, here's the interesting part: Guiliani can win just one other state and win the election. Care to guess which state? Why, New York, of course. New York's 31 electoral votes would give Guiliani a minimum of 271 electoral votes, which means he could lose every single 2004 swing state and still win the Presidency. Heck, he could even lose Tennessee and Missouri if he pulls off Connecticut and New Jersey.

Some people may ask, "How do you know Guiliani will win New York!?" - especially if he is facing Hilary Clinton. I could easily answer that Hilary isn't as well liked, especially compared to Guiliani, or note how popular Guiliani was on all sides of the spectrum when he ran NYC, but it's so much easier to point to this past Sunday night's football game and say:

I heard the cheers... I heard the cheers.

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