Electoral Math: Too much time on my hands edition
A head cold kept me from going door-to-door today for Kerry, so I did a little calculating.
Start with this premise: 11 states are up for grabs. All the rest will go as expected. Perhaps one or 2 of these don't deserve equal toss-up status, and perhaps some (like PA) deserve to be tossups. But I'm going on the assumption that a PA loss leaves Kerry with little chance anyway. The 11 I'm counting as tossups are: FL, OH, MN, WI, CO, IA, WV, NV, NM, NH, ME. If the others go as expected, that gives Kerry 224 electoral votes, needing 46 to win.
Believe it or not, there are 8,192 possible win-loss combinations including those 11 states (giving 4 possible EV outcomes for CO with amendment 26: 0, 4, 5, and 9; and 4 possible outcomes for Maine, where the vote is split: 0,1,3 and 4).
The good news is that 5,084 of those possible combinations (62%) result in Kerry getting those 46 votes and the Presidency, while the other 3,108 give Bush the win.
Winning Florida is a part of 3,816 of those winning scenarios. So, 75.1% of the Kerry victory combinations require a victory in Florida. A win there raises Kerry's chances to 93%. The extension of that is that in winning Florida, Kerry only gives Bush 280 ways to win out of the 3,108 winning Bush scenarios. Losing Florida is bad for Kerry (dropping his chances from 62.1 to 31%), but it's worse for Bush (dropping his chances from 37.9% to 6.8%) with this set of tossup states.
Winning Ohio is a part of 3,207 winning Kerry scenarios. A win in Ohio raises the chances to 78.3%
Winning both OH and FL assures a Kerry victory.
Losing both OH and FL leaves Kerry with only 109 possible winning scenarios out of the original 5,084(dropping his chances to 5.3%). Of those longshots, all but 6 require winning both MN and WI. All but 3 require winning both NV and WV, perhaps the least likely 2 Kerry states on the whole list.