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Road to 270: Connecticut

Today we continue our Road to 270 series with the Nutmeg State, Connecticut.

HOME OF JOE LIEBERMAN, Connecticut is the wealthiest state in the nation on a per capita basis. Christopher Shays is the lone Republican House member in New England’s delegation, and Democrats are targeting this seat in a year that isn’t seeing a close Presidential race or any statewide races. In another wave year, with Barack Obama on the ballot, this is a race to watch. The state’s seven electoral votes are safe for Barack Obama.

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

As with several other blue states, John McCain’s solace comes from statistics that don’t happen to favor Barack Obama as forcefully as they do in other states. Youth population, for example, is 3d lowest by percentage in the nation. And McCain’s fundraising is 2d highest per capita of anywhere. There are relatively more elderly voters in Connecticut, and about a third of the voters in this blue state are independents. That’s about where it stops for John McCain.

What Obama Has Going For Him

Obama’s statistical edges are numerous. Low gun ownership, low “American” ancestry, relatively higher same-sex household percentage and Starbucks:Walmart (even in this Dunkin’ Donuts state) and not many military veterans. On the religious front, very few white evangelicals, very many Catholics, and not a lot of Mormons. Only five states went for Kerry by bigger margins, it’s the 5th most liberal state on the Likert scale. Obama has very strong fundraising here, and the state is well-educated. Except for the age factor, nearly every demographic edge Obama could want in his favor, he has in Connecticut.

What To Watch For

The post-election expulsion of Joe Lieberman from the Democratic Party caucus, and whether Harry Reid has the balls to do it.