Monday, September 8, 2008

Presidential Election -- State by State

I am beginning a series of posts on how the presidential candidates are faring in each of the states, and in the District of Columbia.

We tend to see frequent reports, such as this one, of polls predicting the popular vote totals for the candidates on a nationwide basis. While it's interesting that McCain has enjoyed a small post-convention "bounce", those data do not directly indicate the general election outcome.

The electors who constitute the electoral college are selected in each state (and D.C.) In most states, they are chosen on a "winner takes all" basis, i.e., the candidate with a plurality of the popular vote wins all of a state's electoral votes. Therefore, I will analyze the campaign on a state-by-state basis.

As far as I know, Maine and Nebraska are the only exceptions. In those states, two electoral votes go to the state-wide winner, while the others are allocated by congressional district.

I plan to do a series of posts considering each state and D.C. in alphabetical order. I will include the percentage of African Americans in each state's population, as reported by the Census Bureau. With Barack Obama being the first major-party presidential nominee with African ancestry, I am interested in whether African Americans, who have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in recent presidential elections, give an even-higher percentage of their votes to Obama than they have to white Democratic nominees. And, more importantly, will black voter turnout set new records? A much-debated question is whether that could return to the Democratic column some southern states that have become reliably Republican in the last 50 years or so.

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