SurveyUSA carried out a General Election match-up poll in each of the 50 states in the last week of February, pitting Senator McCain against Senators Clinton and Obama. Mark Blumenthal at Pollster.com went a step further, divvying up the states into strong/lean in either direction or toss-up, based on the margin in each state relative to estimated sampling error (SurveyUSA just assigned states to either candidate even if the candidate won just one more vote.) Really cool.
A lively discussion, of course, has ensued on Pollster.com (and probably other sites.)
Ciccina (of The Lurking Canary) put out a list of scenarios of how Senator Clinton could win:
"1) Florida - 27 EVs, OR
(2) Ohio + NM for 20 + 5 EVs, OR
(3) neither Ohio nor Florida, but a combo like CO (9) + VA (13) for 22 EVs, OR
(4) some constellation of CO (9), VA (13), NM (5), AR (6), NV (5), NH (4), IA (7) or some other state that I missed.
But certainly the simplest scenario is to win the Kerry states except NH, but pick up Florida, or win the Kerry states except NH, but pickup Ohio and any one small state."
Here's my take:
All Senator McCain has to do is pick Governor Charlie Crist as his running mate, and Florida goes Red.
In the "smaller" states, Senator Obama generally runs stronger - and note that Virginia going Blue is apparently not just dependent on African-American voters. The state-wide races - Governor/Senator - have either gone Blue or will, come November. Not sure Senator Clinton will carry Colorado (the Governor is a pro-life Democrat). She could (will) probably win Arkansas, I will give her that.
But essentially, the Democrats - with Senator Clinton as the nominee w/o Obama - are left scraping for the same states they won previously and fighting for Ohio and Arkansas, except the Republicans now have a much better, more moderate-appearing candidate. So the Dems are playing D in many "safe" states.
The point is quite clear - as of last week! - that Senator Obama will take the fight to many more states, and make the Republicans spend money in previously-safe states (freakin' Texas!) That can be important IF there is no public financing constraint (very contestable). Even with, the GOP will have to play D in their "safe" states.
As for the folks who would turn away on the premise of "no experience" - I think that can be solved - in as much as they consider it an issue, which I strongly contest - with *any* other competent person, not just Senator Clinton. Examples - Governor Sibelius (could even win Kansas!), Governor Napolitano (probably still lose Arizona), Senator Biden, Governor Richardson, Governor Kaine, Mayor Bloomberg. There is no shortage of fine, competent, experienced people in the Democratic Party, or outside.
I would even go so far as to posit Senator Obama is essential to Senator Clinton's shot at the Presidency; the other way, not so much.