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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Today we continue our Road to 270 series with the First State, Delaware.

LITERALLY, Delaware, ladies and gentlemen, is a state whose three electoral votes are going to Barack Obama. Delaware has gone Democratic by between 8 and 15 points the last four years, so when it goes blue again this time, well, that’s not change, that’s more of the same!

Key Demographics

Note: Factors colored in red can generally be thought to help McCain. Factors in blue can generally be thought to help Obama. Factors in purple have ambiguous effects. Except where otherwise apparent, the numbers next to each variable represent the proportion out of each 100 residents in each state who fall into that category. Fundraising numbers reflect dollars raised in the 2008 campaign cycle per eligible voter in each state. Figures for seniors and youth voters are proportions of all residents aged 18+, rather than all residents of any age. The figure for education reflects the average number of years of completed schooling for all adults aged 25+. The figure for same-sex households reflects the number of same-sex partner households as a proportion of all households in the state. The liberal-conservative index is scaled from 0 (conservative) to 100 (liberal), based on a Likert score of voter self-identification in 2004 exit polls. The turnout rates reflect eligible voters only. Unemployment rates are current as of June 2008.

What McCain Has Going For Him

Literally, not figuratively, literally John McCain’s demographic bright spots in Delaware are small elements, such as the the percentage of military vets resting in the top third, the percentage of voters under 30 not being especially high, and his fundraising in the state being marginally higher than the median. I mean, John’s a friend of mine, God love him. But folks, let’s get real. Seriously, to say that John McCain is going to win Delaware when his tax policies are the same as George Bush’s, when his foreign policy is the same as George Bush’s, when his approach to judges is the same as George Bush’s, well, folks, I gotta tell ya, that is literally not going to get the job done in this state.

What Obama Has Going For Him

Delaware has nearly everything shading in Barack Obama’s direction, but Delaware sports very few extremes. The percentage of female voters (5th highest) and the percentage of self-identifying Democrats (6th highest) are literally the closest categories to one end of the spectrum or the other. Delaware has a huge percentage of black voters for a non-southern state, at over 20%, and 8th on the list. Tenth in same-sex households and eleventh in least gun-owning states, Delaware has literally two Starbucks for every Walmart. That’s not change!

What To Watch For

Joe Biden is literally running for both Vice President and Senator, and folks, as my old schoolteacher Sister Mary Catherine McMurphy used to say, he’s going to win both races. Mike Castle, the incumbent Republican lone House member, is safe for re-election, and Tom Carper is up for Senate again in 2012. Rumor has it that Joe’s son Beau, who literally introduced his dad at the Pepsi Center in Denver for the elder Biden’s nomination acceptance speech, is a strong candidate to replace his father in the Senate. Democratic Governor Ruth Ann Minner would appoint someone to the seat for two years until a special election in 2010. Beau Biden, Delaware’s attorney general, is literally in Iraq. Literally — not figuratively — we’ve run this joke into the ground.

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