This Week In Electoral Cartography
By: Mark W Adams

I'm taking Minnesota off the dime and putting it fully in Obama’s corner this week. RCP still puts the Gopher State as a toss-up with Obama up by 4.5%, but it’s clear with Electoral-Vote.com putting him up 47%-42% in a state that was carried by the Dems every election since Reagan's '84 landslide (not even Nixon could take it) and Pollster.com's trend estimate showing the Democrat with a 7.5% lead there -- plus FiveThirtyEight.com's list of all the Minnesota polls throughout the summer show Obama leading every time concluding that McCain only has a 17% chance of taking those 10 electoral votes as things stand right now.

Mind you, this could all change since the GOP enjoys the home field advantage with their upcoming convention in the Twin Cities, it's nonetheless long odds. So color the MN map blue for now.

Note there's no post-convention Obama bounce reflected in any of the state-by-state analysis yet. Only the national trends are indicating an uptick in the Illinois Senator's numbers that can be correlated directly to this last week's festivities since there isn't really enough individual statedata to go by. The FL, OH NC, PA and Tx polls announced Tuesday, 8/26, and CO, FL, NM, NV, PA and RI Wednesday 8/27 can only show us a baseline where the candidates started out immediately on the heels of the Biden for VP announcement, but before the full effect of Obama's remarkable acceptance speech could sink in.

There is enough in those polls to take out the crayons again, even if it's too early to tie the new blue found in Nevada directly to anything that came out of Denver. Changing Colorado from yellow to blue no doubt has something to do with the invasion of Democrats there this week which, unlike Minnesota, has been a true battleground right along. Pollster.com's trend methodology doesn't lend itself to quick movement of a state from one column to another, but 538 and E-V switched CO and NV to Obama -- barely. Swinging barely the other way are Montana and the Dakotas, but really, who cares?

More interesting is the new colors for the Carolinas which are moving in opposite directions. A troubling trend in Ohio and Pennsylvania moves Ohio back to "pick 'em" and Pennsylvania displaying weaker support for the Democrat but still in his pocket. Here's where I'm hoping an enduring bounce will erupt.

Just my informed guestimate, but the combination of Thursday night with McCain's inexplicable selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not only move undecideds to Obama, but push the PUMAs away from McCain. This is a transparent pander to disaffected Clinton supporters who are way smarter than the Rovellians understand -- it's beyond insulting. Offering a token substitution to supporters of the single best female politician of the age with a GILF known as Ameirca's Hottest Governor, who stands for everything Hillary isn't just won't cut it. Again the GOP uses smoke and mirrors, convinced you and I are just plain dumb. Palin's experience as a part-time mayor and being brand new on the job as Governor of a state wracked by Republican corruption can't hold a candle to Hillary's qualifications even before she moved into the East Wing of the White House.

To my eye, we now know McCain is simply not serious about the job he's applying for and has delivered tepid supporters with a less tribal sense of GOP party loyalty yet another excuse to sit this thing out. McCain is too fearful of losing his die-hard conservative base to ever again deserve the maverick reputation he spent a lifetime nurturing.

Is their bench really so shallow they put up a yet another politician being investigated for corruption by her own party, alleged to have used her political clout to get her ex-brother-in-law fired?

Yet for all that, I'm still keeping Alaska in the toss-up category, dammit. But look for it to turn blue next week with Ted Stevens still rolling along, having won his primary and energizing the Democrats who should be noticed in the Anchorage Press's poll due soon. Unfortunately it will be a short-lived victory once the pick of the popular Palin is put in the mix. Alaska is no longer in play.