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CBS: Bush's Electoral Vote Edge

The latest CBS News estimate
gives President Bush a slight edge in the number of electoral votes. In the new count, Bush has 227 votes from 27 states likely for or leaning toward him. John Kerry has 190 electoral voters from 14 states and the District of Columbia likely for or leaning toward him. Nine states with 121 electoral votes are pure tossups.

Since our last estimate, the polls have tightened in Minnesota and Michigan – states that had been leaning toward Kerry but now look very close. Kerry has tiny leads in most public polls in those states and if he does win them it would add 27 votes to his column, bringing him back to 217 votes.

Nevada remains in the battleground but now appears to be leaning toward President Bush.

With 121 electoral votes still in the tossup category there are many scenarios for either a Kerry or Bush win, including some in which either could score a decisive victory despite the closeness of the polls today. The winner-take-all system could make for a lopsided electoral vote even if the popular vote is close.

If President Bush were to win all the states now in his column, he would need 43 more electoral votes for a win; if he won both Ohio (20) and Florida (27), he would have 274, four more than he'd need. If Kerry wins all the Gore states currently up for grabs – Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (7), New Mexico (5) and Pennsylvania (21) – that would give him 70 more votes, still 10 shy of the 270 he needs. Thus, the importance for Kerry of winning either Ohio or Florida to add to the blue states.

The campaigns have whittled the battleground to 10 or 11 states in the final week. They plan to spend about $40 million in their final ad buys and have millions of workers, volunteers and lawyers ready to get out the vote.

We will continue to watch the polls as the undecideds finally decide and will update our count up until Election Day.

Editor's Note: This analysis is not a prediction but an estimate of the race as it stands now. It is based on analysis of where the campaigns are allocating resources and buying television and radio ads, on past election results, on interviews with campaigns and independent experts and on polling. In addition to CBS News polls, this analysis utilizes polls from private and public sources. These include Mason-Dixon, L.A. Times, Gallup/CNN, Ipsos Public Affairs, Quinnipiac, Marist, ABC News, Research 2000, ARG, and Zogby, as well as state polls conducted for individual newspapers in each state.
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