Monday, November 01, 2004

Updated November 1, 2004 at 12:30 am

It could be close on Tuesday night, but probably not. I am predicting a 300 to 238 electoral vote victory, and the electoral vote winner takes the popular vote, this time, too. But, you say, who is the Winner. Well read on. And, no fair going to the end of this blog entry without doing the reading.

If I am off a bit, the same guy wins, but only by 270 to 268. In that instance, you could say that Iowa (7), New Mexico (5) or New Hampshire (4) put him over the top.

By way of explanation, as everybody knows, there are 32 states that are a lock for either Bush or Kerry, and coming out of those 32, Bush has a 38 vote lead, 191 to 153.

Further, there are another 8 states that are now decided, with three (Washington-11, Oregon- 7 and New Jersey-15, totaling 33 electoral votes) now in the Kerry column, giving Kerry a relatively certain 186 electoral votes. Five of the eight are now in the W column (Colorado-9, Nevada-5, Arkansas-6, Missouri-11, and West Virginia-5, totaling 36 electoral votes), giving W a relatively certain 227 votes.

So, as we sit here tonight, there are only 10 true battleground states left. Kerry picks up, for sure, Michigan-17 (Detroit, a relatively large Muslim population and tough times make this state almost impossible for W to pick up) and Pennsylvania-21 (Never bet against Rendell, Mayor of Philly and now Governor of PA- he knows how to “find,” votes; even with the import quotas placed on steel (for a few years), even with the deerhunters, this place ain’t going for W), giving Kerry 224 electoral votes.

Bush picks up Florida-27, for sure. One, Jeb, unlike his brother W, never screws up things twice. Two, all of those hurricanes were handled relatively well by the State and the Feds. In short, notwithstanding what you hear from Rev. Jackson, Florida is relatively happy-- and short of shooting Castro, a la SNL, Kerry ain’t getting the Cuban vote, so this one is for W, without any hanging chads to scrutinize. That gives Bush 254 votes.

So, Bush ahead—254 to 224, with seven states left.

Wisconsin-10, at the end of the day is too “progressive,” and too Madison to hang with Bush. Hawaii-4, tilting at the end to Bush? Come on, how many surfers and Don Hoes are going for W? Not many. So another 4 votes for John Forbes Kerry. That brings the Kerry total to 238.

So, you would think we have ourselves a ballgame, W with a lead of 254 to 238, with five states- 46 electoral votes-- to go: Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Minnesota and Ohio.

In 2000, the Ds took Iowa-7 by a hair, New Mexico-5 by a split end and Minnesota- 10 by a few points. In 2000, Bush squeaked by in New Hampshire-4 and took Ohio-20 by a few points.

So, you are thinking JFK, John Forbes Kerry, husband of Terry Heinz, 65 – who still looks like a billion dollars-- is reporting for duty. Well, perhaps. If he picks up the three states that Gore did, New Mexico, Iowa, and Minnesota, that gives him a total of 260 votes. But, those three and this time picking up New Hampshire- still leaves a tall JFK short. So, he needs to win at least 3 of the 5, and if he wins only three, one of the three has to be Ohio and the other two can't be New Hampshire and New Mexico.

And the thing of it is, as Rockford’s sidekick used to say, W is going to win in Iowa [So much for the budding career of Governor Tom and Christy Vilsack, and Tom was almost the Veep candidate, perhaps he should have been], New Hampshire and New Mexico. And that, my gentle readers, is game, set and match. 16 more electoral votes from those three states gives W 270 votes, and as even Dan Rather knows, you only need 270.

But, to rub salt in the wound and perhaps to forestall the trial lawyers from tying up this election until 2008, W picks up Ohio. Why? Because, apologies to James Carvelle, it’s not the Economy, stupid. It’s national security stupid, same reason why W wins in Iowa, New Mexico and New Hampshire. And, in Ohio, especially rural Ohio, social conservative values trump the economy. These folks take their traditional marriage very seriously: Mary Cheney or no Mary Cheney, W is their guy, so to speak.

And, oh yes, even Minnesota, a state that is trending R, and last time around rejected their own Walter Mondale for Norm Coleman-- the new face of the Republican Party in Minnesota-- continues its move to the right, and goes with W.

So, W ends up with 300 electoral votes to 238 for Kerry. John Forbes Kerry needed to draw to an inside straight and much to his chagrin, it was W who ran the table. Why? As I said, it’s National Security, stupid. It is not the Economy. It is not Vietnam. It is not the Air National Guard. It is not health care. It is not jobs. It is not education. It is not multilateralism. It is not a late breaking story by the New York Times on explosives left behind, or not left behind.

It is planes flying into buildings. And wrong or right, a lot of folks- No, the majority of folks—think that W is a safer bet than this version of JFK. W may not be articulate. He may not be nuanced. He may not be quick on his feet. He may stutter and stammer. He may look goofy. He may sound goofy. He may not admit he is wrong when he should. But, for some reason, the American people think fewer planes are going to crash into buildings with W in the pilot’s seat and as Commander-in-Chief. Really, that’s all there is to it. 300 to 238—you heard it first, here.

You can find what others are predicting about the above, as well as my and other predictions of Keyes-Obama at Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn’s Blog Bowl II [See,].

Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at