Gore Moves Ahead of Bush in Electoral College

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Monday September 18 12:37 PM ET

Gore Moves Ahead of Bush in Electoral College


By Alan Elsner, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Having trailed for months, Democrat Al Gore has moved ahead of Republican George W. Bush in the state-by-state race to get the 270 votes in the Electoral College needed to win the presidential election, independent surveys showed.

Most independent counts now give Vice President Gore a narrow lead over Texas Gov. Bush in the crucial state contests. But there are still enough battleground states, where the race is too close, that either man could win the Nov. 7 election.

``Gore is in the lead but it's not by any means solid. There are eight to 10 big states out there that he has to win and he's not there yet,'' said Peter Steinberger, a political scientist at Reed College in Portland, Oregon who studies the electoral geography of U.S. elections.

U.S. presidential elections consist of 51 separate ballots in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The winner of each state wins all that state's delegates to the Electoral College, which has 538 members -- one for each of the 535 members of Congress, plus three for the District of Columbia.

In the 1996 election, President Clinton beat Republican Bob Dole in the popular vote by just over eight percentage points. That translated into an Electoral College victory of 379 votes to 159. But Bush is waging a much stronger campaign than Dole did, suggesting that even if Gore does eventually win, his Electoral College margin could be far narrower.

``It's hard for me to imagine that Bush will get less than 200 electoral votes. That makes it very tight for both campaigns,'' said Steinberger.

Focus Locally, Instead Nationally

As the campaign comes closer to Election Day, campaigns focus less on national polls and more on state-by-state surveys, each trying to find a way to reach the magic number of 270.

One count by veteran ABC correspondent Hal Bruno found Gore currently leading in 17 states and the District of Columbia with 239 electoral votes. Bush was ahead in 24 states with 209 votes while nine states with 90 votes were too close to call.

Another count by USA Today found Gore with 214 solid votes, Bush with 153 and 171 votes too close to call.

``It looks like Gore has a slight edge in the Electoral College while Bush's decline seems to be continuing,'' said University of Texas political scientist Bruce Buchanan. Only a month ago, Bush had a commanding lead in Electoral College projections.

Republican political consultant Scott Reed, who was Dole's campaign manager in 1996, said he could still construct a scenario for Bush to reach 270 votes but it was becoming increasingly difficult.

``Of the states currently in play, Bush needs to win New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri. That gets him to 270 exactly,'' said Reed.

Reed's analysis is based on several assumptions: that Bush carries Georgia and Colorado, where polls show a close race, while Gore will carry Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan.

``Gore is slightly ahead in the Electoral College right now, maybe 210-190. Several other important states seem to be leaning his way but Bush could still come back,'' he said.

Weekend polls showed how shaky Bush's electoral college math is becoming. Surveys put Gore ahead by 15 percentage points in Illinois, 18 points in Pennsylvania and eight points in Michigan, while Bush was clinging to a two-point advantage in Ohio. Recent polls have also given the vice president a slim lead in Missouri.

As states move further into one candidate's column, the other campaign has to decide whether to abandon the fight and shift its resources to other battlegrounds where the race remains tight.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), September 18, 2000



This is very disappointing.

Do most Americans truly believe that it is good to overtax those who work and then give handouts to those who won't?

Has America become so dumbed down that they can't see that the eventual end of this path that we are on is more and more entitlees being supported by fewer and fewer workers?

If the Nike/Tiger Woods thread is any evidence, then it looks like the public endoctrination system is succeeding in turning out good little comrades who are oh so quick to denounce economic inequality in the world, but who have no clue whatsoever about the economic reality of a free market system.

Al Gore in the Whitehouse... I can only shudder at the thought.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), September 18, 2000.

Well, J, I don't know what country you're living in , but the country I'm in (USA) is experiencing just about the lowest unemployment rate ever. Also, J, in case you didn't know it, usually when unemployment gets too low, the .gov through fed reserve policies, etc., do things to INCREASE unemployment. More joblessness means that COMPANIES have a larger pool of people to choose from, meaning they can pay lower salaries. Right now, it's a workers market.

J, they got you right where they want you. It doesn't really matter which of the two jokers are elected, it's money that does the talking. Divide and conquer the minds of the electorate, getting people bitching about petty differences, and they (you!) won't know what's REALLY going on.

-- (more@ofthe.same), September 18, 2000.

I beginning to think that it really doesn't matter who's in the whitehouse. Just as long as the congress stays republican, then the US will do just fine... Though it would be nice to get Bush in the house.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), September 18, 2000.

It's really humorous to watch the swing states swing back and forth. Of course we don't typically hear about the state polls. We usually only hear of the national polls [which don't mean anything regarding those electoral votes.] If you're interested in watching colors change from pink to blue back to pink again, put this Orvetti Link in your "Favorites." It changes daily based on a number of different polls [some of which are listed.]

It looks like the Dems have a good chance at taking the House this year, Maria. They have a SLIM chance of taking the Senate, as well. I sure hope that doesn't happen. There needs to be balance, and one party controlling both gets too out of whack.

Somewhere around here I have a link to a site where you can guesstimate yourself on the electoral college. I'll hunt it up and post it in a minute.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 18, 2000.

Here ya go: Calculate the Electoral College

You can keep that one in your favorites as well, and as you hear of news, you can change YOUR predictions from blue to pink.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 18, 2000.

Maria, it does matter who gets to the white house. You seem to be conservative as I am also. Bush would be more likely to nominate more conservative justices to the Supreme Court while Gore would nominate more liberal justices.

-- James Lockabrie (no@spam.please), September 18, 2000.


Glad to see you back.

-- Alice in Wonder Bra (alice@wonder.bra), September 18, 2000.


Besides living in one of the swing states, I have been in a number of them in the last few weeks. Just got back from the NW , tonight.

From what I've seen, it looks [at this time] like the Demo's will take the WH, and the House. Chances are even on the Senate. If they are even, then the Demo's will control the Senate. Donnnnn't know what will happen. We will need to wait and see.

My latest experience is talking to a group of Republicans in San Juan County. They think that the Republican party is controlled by the religous conservatives. Therefore, they are working for the Democratic candidates. You would be suprised if you knew San Juan county. I see the same response elsewhere. Hey, I am not a political operative. I just know these people as friends. I was amazed to get this lecture about the evils of the Republican party from conservative Republicans.

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (Z1X4Y7@aol.com), September 18, 2000.

James, you have a valid point there. But I think that more "things get done" when the repub are in congress. It would be nice if the courts weren't filled with dems but the gov has to make the laws first.

Z, I hope you're wrong.

Anita, thanks for the link.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), September 19, 2000.

Z -- what evidence do you have that the Dems might take the House? Are you basing this on your conversation with the Republicans in San Juan only?

-- Curious (1@2.3), September 19, 2000.


There are actually people who keep track of every district in every state and report on who is most likely to win an open seat. A while back, I did my own little study on the Senate [which has many fewer open seats this election than the house.] The majority is only held by 5 seats [maybe 6 seats] in both the Senate and the House. I have the exact figures around here somewhere, but when the air- conditioning went out, someone opened the window in my home office and this information was blown all over the room.

Here's a site where you can do the calculations yourself. It's a lot of work for one person, which is why most prefer someone else do it. If you click on Congressional Candidates, you can get information on the Senate races [by state], and the House races [by district in each state], including the current candidate in the lead.

The Race for Congress 2000

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 20, 2000.

Sorry...click on Candidate Profiles.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), September 20, 2000.

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