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March 15, 2012

What Would a "Landslide" Election Look Like?

A lot of bloviating from lefties lately about an Obama "landslide". Some, when polls were more favorable, from conservatives about a Republican one. But what would one look like, exactly? Are the "mega-landslide" elections of 1964, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988 even possible at this point?

The short answer is no. In the past, states like New York, Texas, and California played the role of "big prize" purple states. So if a President or a candidate played their cards right, scoring a 400-500 electoral vote tsunami was very possible. There is only one state these days with more than 20 electoral votes that plays the cheating girlfriend, and that is that dirty skank we call Florida. Smaller states hold more sway in national elections these days, and the big states have fallen on one side of the ideological divide or the other.

Don't believe me? Well let's look at the absolute minimum states President Obama and his Republican challenger will carry:


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Map courtesy 270towin.com

Simple math shows the 400+ electoral vote bloodbaths are exceptionally hard to achieve. While scoring a bruising victory in the high 300s is easily doable (happening in 3 of the last 5 elections), the awe-inspiring bone-crushing victories of yesteryear just aren't possible anymore.

Lets be very realistic- even these maps are the absolute extreme. Nobody expects the Republican to lose Georgia or Arizona, nor for the President to lose Massachusetts. I had to really, really, really inhale a lot of ether to close in on, and still fall votes short of, 400. Try it yourself, keeping in mind the mindset of the voters in these hard-red and hard-blue states.

So when someone comments matter-of-factly with "oh so-and-so will be lucky to carry 5 states", remember what your pretend expert here at AoS is telling you. It is difficult to predict even semi-landslides months out even when there seems to be a serious rebound for an incumbant or momentum for a challenger. Take this Harris Poll released in January of 1980, which showed a 65%-31% landslide preference...for Jimmy Carter.

Unless of course election night comes and the Republican wins 48 states, in which case I will quietly edit this post and replace it with very questionable images.
After I win the Powerball and Mega Millions the week before and have to file a restraining order against Christina Hendricks for constantly throwing herself naked against my front door. That will be a very busy hypothetical.

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posted by CAC at 05:54 PM

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