NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd estimated on “Meet the Press” that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is just one state away from solidifying the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the White House.
Colorado, Virginia or Florida would put it away for Obama if the election were held today, Todd said.
The latest NBC News estimate gives Obama 264 votes and McCain about 175.
“Right now, Obama, one state away,” Todd said. “Even if it’s Nevada [making the total] 269, it sends it to the House, where Democrats have an advantage. Any other state , one state. As it stands today, John McCain would have to run the table. Now, good news for him: They’re all states that voted Republican four years ago.
“However, he’s behind right now a little bit in Ohio. There’s a dispute of who’s ahead or who’s behind in Florida but it feel as if Obama’s a little bit ahead in Florida. Obama’s a little bit ahead in Colorado. And it’s a dead even race in Virginia. Dead even in Nevada. And even Missouri, which we almost put in tossup this week, is getting very close, where McCain just has a very narrow lead.”
Todd said a landslide could be 364 electoral votes – “the high-water mark.” In 1980, Ronald Reagan got 489. In 1988, George H.W. Bush got 426.
The McCain folks now have to hold everything … to keep this thing competitive.”
Todd’s mastery of math and his incessant appearances on NBC and MSNBC have made him the unofficial scorekeeper of Campaign ’08.
Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who was the architect of McCain’s 2000 campaign said: “It’s McCain’s barn that’s on fire. … Thirty days out, I think McCain can win. But the fact is, [if the] election were held today, he’d lose. And I think he’s on a losing path.
“I think the McCain campaign has to look in the mirror now and decide, do we need to change up the strategy? They’ve been running the grinding campaign on Obama. There’s a lot of good things to attack Obama about – people have a lot of doubts about Obama. But they’ve got to fix McCain. McCain has to connect with voters on the economy. He’s got to get ticket-splitters. Get out of base Republican issues and get people who are worried about the economy and health care over. Or in this anti-Republican environment, this trend line is very, very bad.”
Democratic consultant Paul Begala, who helped mastermind Bill Clinton’s 1992 win, said he had talked to the Obama high command. “They’re flooding the zone,” Begala said. “They’re going into places where Democrats used to never dare go. Indiana! I cannot believe we’re sitting here 30 days before an election, talking about Indiana, a potential tossup state. Or North Carolina and Virginia.
“Barack Obama would be the first non-Southerner from my party to carry a Southern state since JFK – before I was born, before Barack was born. This is an incredible map.”