José offered up observations that the Presidential race might tighten up.  I’ve been thinking that the election is likely to be closer than the polls are indicating.  One hunch of mine that explains the discrepancy is that those supporting a candidate losing momentum are less likely to participate in a poll, along the lines of CORFing (cutting off reflected failure), but in this case it’s cutting off impending doom.  I also wonder how many people who didn’t even vote will jump on the bandwagon after the election, claiming to have voted for Obama–Fauxbamamaniacs?

At any rate, I was in New York (Westchester) last week and read an article by John Heilemann in New York magazine on the next steps for Obama (with the assumption that he will win) and what the margins will be in the House and Senate.  Heilemann notes how Bill Clinton’s first 100 days were chaotic and while Bill also had a Democratic House and Senate, he suffered from a lack of legitimacy in Congress.  Obama, on the other hand, is highly strategic and has a transition plan in the works and will be working with Reid and Pelosi who are likely to need him more than the other way around.

This got me thinking about what I think the political landscape will look like in 2009.   I had my marketing students create electoral map predictions, but unfortunately I saw this compilation on PoliticalMaps after class:

My prediction isn’t all that exciting or controversial (Obama 349:McCain 189).  I see Indiana as going for Obama, due to Lake County in the NW outside of Chicago.  I see the undecideds going for McCain in NC and McCain taking Missouri.  The one’s I’ll be watching are Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, representing 56 electorals.  If Obama loses these states, he would still win, but with less of a “mandate.”   I’ll also be looking for the Ron Paul factor in Montana, but I’m dubious.
I don’t see the Democrats getting the 60 Senate seats they would love to have to be filibuster-proof.  I see a +8 pickup with Franken (MN) and Hagan (NC) squeaking by.  The House it currently at 236-199 and I think the Democrats will add 15 to 18 seats to their majority.  The interesting races (to me) are CA-4 and CO-4 , races in fairly rural districts with candidates who have clear ideological differences.