The way-too-early look at who will win the Electoral College vote

At this time of year, most Kansans are more concerned with what seed the Kansas Jayhawks will get in the NCAA National Tournament. That may be easier to predict in January than who will win the race to 270 Electoral College votes.

But someone has to go first, and so I’ll give my first stab and calling the race as it stands now and how I think the swings states will swing.

First, we can declare the primaries over. Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee barring a stroke or extended hospital stay, and Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee even if he has a stroke or extended stay in a state or federal facility.

Now that the field is set, let’s get into the numbers:

Starting line

Some states are simply not on the table, and so we have to start at a base line for both candidates in the race to 270.

Biden will come to the table with the following states in the bag: California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Ne Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, The District of Columbia, Hawaii and three of the four Electoral votes in Maine.

That gives Biden 225 of the 270 needed Electoral College votes.

Trump will come to the table with Idaho, Alaska, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and one Electoral Vote form a district in Maine.

That gives Trump 236 votes of the 270 needed.

IN THE BAG AT THE START

Biden 225

Trump 236

Swing states

The winner will have to make their case to the following states: Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

If you want to hold on to this and see how it works out on election night in November, you’ll have to read it backwards, because I’m starting in the West and moving East.

Spoiler alert — What happens in Georgia will be an early indicator of the winner.

NEVADA

Democrats have outperformed the polls in Nevada for several cycles.

But right now, the Real Clear average has Trump with a 5.4 point lead in the desert. The margin of overperformance of the Democrats is not better than that margin, and it looks like Trump will claim Nevada.

AFTER NEVADA

Biden 225

Trump 242

ARIZONA

Trump won Arizona in 2016 and lost in 2020. He currently leads by 4.8 points. 

With the mess that the senate race with Kyrsten Sinema as an independent and Kari Lake as the Republican, Trump will maintain this lead.

AFTER ARIZONA

Biden 225

Trump 253

WISCONSIN

Right now, Trump and Biden are tied in a dead heat in Wisconsin. Perhaps it is Minnesota and Illinois bleeding over, but Biden will hold Wisconsin.

AFTER WISCONSIN

Biden 235

Trump 253

MICHIGAN

Trump won Michigan in 2016 but lost it in 2020. With no pandemic and auto workers taking on foreign electric competition, And Trump currently holding a 5.3 point lead, Trump takes Michigan.

AFTER MICHIGAN

Biden 235

Trump 268

PENNSYLVANIA

Trump currently has a 0.3 point lead in Pennsylvania, and this state may flip later, but for now, it stays with Biden.

AFTER PENNSYLVANIA

Biden 254

Trump 268

GEORGIA

It all comes down to the Peach state. Georgia has split, choosing Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2022. Georgia has a Republican governor who was re-elected and two Democratic senators, so this southern state has become the kingmaker when it comes to who moves in to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Currently, Trump has a 6.6 point lead according to the Real Clear average of polls. That type of lead in a state that has split down the middle is becoming somewhat insurmountable and almost no longer a toss up and leaning Republican.

This year, give Georgia to Trump.

AFTER GEORGIA

Biden 254

Trump 284

And the winner is …

Needing 270 to become president, Donald Trump wins.

Editor | watt@kaninfo.com

Earl Watt is the owner and publisher of the Leader & Times in Liberal, Kansas. Watt started his career in journalism in 1991 at the Southwest Daily Times. During his career, the newspaper has won a total of 17 Sweepstakes awards from the Kansas Press Association for editorial content and 18 Sweepstakes awards for advertising. Watt has been recognized with more than 70 first place awards for writing in categories from sports and column to best front pages, best sports pages and best opinion pages. Watt is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and is the descendant of several patriots who fought for America's freedom and independence.

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