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20-20 Hindsight: Electoral Delusions May Have Sunk McCain

Ben Smith at Politico takes us backto June 2008, when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis laid out an ambitious electoral strategy that included, among other things, a push to take such states as Connecticut.

For comparison, I dug up a presentation (PDF) by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe from the same month.

The result: The Obama campaign was spot-on in its assessment of its prospects, while the McCain people were way off the mark. Let’s take a look.

First, here’s Davis’ perceived electoral map, just four months ago:

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/davis.jpg

Looking at today’s RealClearPolitics map (below), we can see that every single toss-up state is now in Sen. Barack Obama’s column. While all the “Lean GOP” states have held, three of the “Solid GOP” states — Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana — have turned blue:

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/rcp.jpg

Meanwhile, Plouffe was announcing the Obama team’s plan to turn these red states blue:

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/plouffe.jpg

Lo and behold, every one of these is now in Obama’s column, mostly by substantial margins.

Another slide in Plouffe’s presentation indicated the states in which the Obama campaign would be advertising early and extensively:

Image has not been found. URL: /wp-content/uploads/2008/10/plouffe2.jpg

Admittedly, a few of these are still unlikely to go for Obama — Alaska, for instance, effectively came off the table when Gov. Sarah Palin joined Sen. John McCain’ticket — but for the most part, Obama’s strategy paid off.

Here’s proof:

Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana, which McCain considered in the bag, now lean Obama by 7, 2 and 2 points, respectively, according to RealClearPolitics.

Connecticut, which McCain hoped to nab, is going for Obama by 19 points.

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