Published Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 | 1:05 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 | 10:15 a.m.
Interesting piece in The New Republic from data-guru Nate Silver titled, "How the West Was Lost," about McCain's troubles in his own backyard.
Why is McCain performing so poorly in his own backyard? In part, he is fighting a Sisyphean battle against the demographic changes in the region. The Census Bureau measures how many people migrate into each state each year. In 2006, half of the top ten fastest-growing states were in the West, ranging from Nevada (3.5 percent) to Colorado (1.9 percent). These new residents generally fall into one of two categories: college-educated white folks from the coasts looking for cheaper housing, better schools, or a higher quality of life--or, Latinos. Both groups are quite friendly to Democrats.
Silver says westerners are more isolationist, less into McCain’s military interventionism.
Also, he’s on the wrong side of pet issues (see Mountain, Yucca.)
Lastly, McCain's campaign is simply being outhustled. In Colorado, for instance, the McCain campaign has opened 12 field offices to Obama's 47; in New Mexico the ratio is 15 to 38. Because so many voters in the West are emigrants from elsewhere in the country (just 12 percent of Nevada voters in 2004 were native to the state), identifying and tagging one's voters is at a premium; relying on voter lists from four years ago won't do. This is bad news for McCain, who has placed less emphasis on turnout than perhaps any campaign in recent memory.