The Bellwether Election Map

As the networks declare winners in the early states on Tuesday night, this map will project the winner in states where polls show that candidate has a more comfortable lead. For example, if Obama wins Virginia, where he has a six-point lead in the polls, this map will assume he wins states where his margin is at least two points wider than that. Meanwhile, if McCain wins Indiana—where he’s currently up by one point—this map will assume that he wins states where he’s up by at least three points.


As more results trickle in, we’ll make note of whether the states obeyed this ordered logic. It may be that polling was more accurate in some places than others, at which point some of the imputations will be wrong. If the polling is roughly on track, the first few states should be a good bellwether for who takes the cake at the end of the night.


Below is a list of each state and D.C., sorted by their final standing in the polls as calculated by . If the map doesn’t match the text, just clear the cache .

Update, 7:05 p.m.: McCain takes Kentucky, Obama takes Vermont; according to those results, we can project eights states significantly safer than Kentucky for McCain and two (including D.C.) for Obama.

Update, 8:12 p.m.: MSNBC has called most of New England for Obama and a few Republican strongholds for McCain. By our projections, Obama has 264 electoral votes from states either called for him or safer than those called for him, with 145 still too close to call. 

Update, 9:15 p.m.: Georgia and North Dakota go to McCain, which is good news for his prospects in South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona. Obama’s win in Pennsylvania suggests he will carry Iowa and New Mexico.

Update, 9:40 p.m.: Obama wins Ohio and Slate calls the election .

Update, 10:15 p.m.: Obama wins Iowa and McCain wins Utah. With 91 electoral votes still up for grabs, Obama is projected to win at least 284 electoral votes, while McCain can expect at least 163.

Update, 11:16 p.m.: Obama wins Virginia, now presumed to win Nevada and Colorado. At this rate, he’s highly likely to top 300 electoral votes.

Update, 11:55 p.m.: With only a handful of states undecided, no state has yet to fall out of order in the polling lineup below; in other words, McCain hasn’t won any states projected for Obama according to the polls, or vice versa.

State Margin
District of Columbia (3 EV) Obama +68
Hawaii (4 EV) Obama +31
Vermont (3 EV) Obama +27
New York (31 EV) Obama +26
Delaware (3 EV) Obama +25
Maryland (10 EV) Obama +25
Illinois (21 EV) Obama +23
Connecticut (7 EV) Obama +21
California (55 EV) Obama +19
Rhode Island (4 EV) Obama +19
Maine (4 EV) Obama +17
Oregon (7 EV) Obama +16
Michigan (17 EV) Obama +15
New Jersey (15 EV) Obama +15
Massachusetts (12 EV) Obama +15
Washington (11 EV) Obama +13
New Hampshire (4 EV) Obama +12
Minnesota (10 EV) Obama +12
Wisconsin (10 EV) Obama +12
Iowa (7 EV) Obama +12
New Mexico (5 EV) Obama +9
Colorado (9 EV) Obama +8
Nevada (5 EV) Obama +7
Pennsylvania (21 EV) Obama +7
Virginia (13 EV) Obama +6
Ohio (20 EV) Obama +3
Florida (27 EV) Obama +2
Missouri (11 EV) Obama +1
North Dakota (3 EV) Obama +1
North Carolina (15 EV) 0
Indiana (11 EV) McCain +1
Montana (3 EV) McCain +2
Georgia (15 EV) McCain +3
Arizona (10 EV) McCain +5
South Carolina (8 EV) McCain +8
South Dakota (3 EV) McCain +8
Arkansas (6 EV) McCain +10
Mississippi (6 EV) McCain +10
Louisiana (9 EV) McCain +10
Tennessee (11 EV) McCain +12
West Virginia (5 EV) McCain +12
Kentucky (8 EV) McCain +13
Texas (34 EV) McCain +13
Alaska (3 EV) McCain +16
Kansas (6 EV) McCain +17
Nebraska (5 EV) McCain +19
Alabama (9 EV) McCain +23
Idaho (4 EV) McCain +23
Utah (5 EV) McCain +24
Oklahoma (7 EV) McCain +25
Wyoming (3 EV) McCain +31