This should evoke spirited discussion on a long weekend: according to Politico, GOP strategists think McCain will win in a blowout. Details below the fold (emphasis added):
But the contours of the electoral map, combined with McCain’s unique strengths and the nature of Obama’s possible vulnerabilities, have led to a cautious and muted optimism that McCain could actually surpass Bush’s 35-electoral-vote victory in 2004. Though they expect he would finish far closer to Obama in the popular vote, the thinking is that he could win by as many 50 electoral votes. [...]
“There are a lot of scenarios that look good for McCain, and I almost would go so far to say that there are a lot more scenarios [than for Obama],” the strategist added. “I don’t think anybody over here wants to let themselves get too excited about it. It is an eternity between now and November. But McCain looks a lot stronger than our prospects as a party.” [...]
“The broader environment clearly favors the Democrat,” said Whit Ayers, another veteran GOP pollster. But Ayers argued that “a state-by-state analysis actually makes McCain a narrow favorite to win the Electoral College majority.”
“That would certainly run against the grain of history, if he pulled that off,” Ayers added. “But it’s also clearly plausible and a manageable outcome partly because of John McCain’s strength among independents and partly because of Obama’s weakness in culture, ideology and association.” [...]
Among the 10 strategists interviewed by Politico for this story, there was near-uniform belief that had any other Republican been nominated, the party’s prospects in November would be nil.
“No disrespect to the other candidates,” said GOP pollster Glen Bolger, “but if anyone else had been nominated we’d be toast.”
The case they make for a comfortable McCain win is not beyond reason. Begin with the 2004 electoral map. Add Iowa and Colorado to Obama’s side, since both are considered states Obama could pick off. Then count McCain victories in New Hampshire and Michigan, two states where McCain is competitive. In this scenario, McCain wins the Electoral College 291-246, a larger margin than Bush four years ago.
If Obama managed only to win Iowa from Republicans and McCain managed only to win Pennsylvania, McCain would still win by a much greater margin than Bush — 300-237.
Read the whole thing, and then offer your opinions to this shocking article.