The stable map

The more maps change the more they stay the same.

Published August 4, 2008 2:31PM (EDT)

Andrew Malcolm over at the Los Angeles Times offers up a snazzy new mapping feature previewing the possible battlegrounds and results for the presidential contest in all 50 states. But there is not really anything new here that you can't find at RealClearPolitics or

And you know what else is not new? The map itself. Look at how similar it looks right now to the past two maps, which, by the way, were the two most stable Electoral College maps in American history. The map is very rigid, thanks in part to the fact that in 2000 28 states were decided by 10 percent or more, and of those 14 states were decided by 20-point margins or more. Then, four years later only three states (New Mexico, Iowa and New Hampshire) changed from 2000, the fewest states to change in consecutive elections since some dude named George Washington won every electoral vote twice -- and that was before there was popular voting yet.

Will the map loosen this year? Sure, but not much. As I predicted last week, if somebody gives you an over/under for the winning this November of 330 or so electoral votes, take the under.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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