Yes. There is potential.
I'll quickly summarize why I think there IS potential, then give a much lengthier reason why it may not occur.
OK the first doubt that should come to mind, with anyone paying attention in the polls; is that the candidates are essentially still tied, with Obama MAYBE leading by 5-10 points (which is not insignificant).
By, we dont go by the popular vote, unfortunately, so what counts are electoral votes. So it all goes state by state.
Now if we assume the current, average polls are accurate (and I cannot emphasize enough the fact that they can be greatly OFF), but if we assume they are accurate, then Obama right now has leads in enough states to clearly pull a win (which is 270 or more electoral votes.) But that is not a landslide.
But where it gets interesting, really interesting, are the "toss up" states:
I know the writing is small on this (sorry) but basically the key says: DARK BLUE is solidly Obama, LIGHT BLUE is leaning Obama, similarly, DARK RED is solidly McCain and LIGHT RED is leaning McCain. GREEN is a toss up.
THE GOAL is to get to 270. If you add up all the BLUE, Obama has 260. If you add up all the RED McCain has 158.
THe obviously conclusion, Obama only really needs to win ONE or TWO green states to win. I mean Florida is fucking 27 electoral votes, Obama only needs 10. So, big advantage. McCain needs to win almost all of them.
So why is there potential for landslide?
There is a lot of speculation that the polls may be overstating Obama's lead; for one thing he had a huge lead going into the NH primary, then lost; for another there is a so-called racial bias that makes it look like a black candidate is higher than he actually is.
But what if the polls are understating his lead? Here is what I think may be the underlying cause for a potential landslide:
1. HE GOT GAME - The #1 reason Obama may have a landslide is he has what appears to be the best ground operation in history. Because when you poll someone, you assume they are going to vote. But not everyone votes, not everyone who says they are going to vote will vote. So it comes down to who will get their people to the polls. And people seem to be saying McCain has a really shitty ground game; but Obama's is amazing.
2. THE YOUTH - This is always overstated, but you never know. A - Most young people have cell phones as their primary contact, and pollsters call Land Lines. B - As a former pollster myself, we usually get a list of registered voters from the PREVIOUS election, meaning all new voters are not counted. We know Obama has a sizable lead among young voters; but all Democrats do, whats the difference?
1. HE GOT GAME - Obama has a weird cult of personality that is especially prevalent among young Americans. Dont ask me why, I dont really get it, but he's no John Kerry. Young people go crazy for him and they just may come out and rock it.
So look back at this map:
A remote, tiny possibility; is that Obama wins all the blue states and most if not all the Green States. 380 electoral votes. That may not be a landslide, but its a LOT.
But here is why he may not; the following is a summary of landslides (electoral and by popular vote). I think the odds are against Obama as an African-American and just as a Democrat.
The largest electoral landslide was in 1984, in which Reagan won 58% of the vote, and lost only 1 state (Minnesota) and the District of Columbia.
Could Obama win in a landslide when its so close? Maybe, maybe not. TO understand best, its good to look at 5 recent so-called landslides, three of them what might be called "Realignment" elections.
FDR was election in 1932; and began enacting the New Deal. It was so wildly popular that he was re-elected in a shattering landslide, losing only two states (Maine and Vermont) but garning an astonishin 60.8% of the vote.
Its important to note this landslide was a RE-ELECTION, which most are.
The next big landslide was in 1964. Johnson was elected Vice-President in 1960, but the President (Jack Kennedy) was murdered in 1963, elevating Johnson to the Presidency. The Republicans happen to elect a radical named Barry Goldwater.
As McCain says incessantly; MY FRIENDS, this was and is today the largest election landslide in American history, measured by the popular vote. Johnson pull away with over 61% of the vote.
But it changed everything. EVERYTHING. AND we are still feeling it today.
The Solid South was solidly Democrat from Reconstruction to 1964 because it was the party of White Power in the South. After his election in 1964 Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, and remarked to Billy Moyers that this may cost the Democrats the south for a "generation."
Well a man named Dick Nixon picked up on it and used whats called the Southern Strategy; meaning he ran in the south proclaiming a love of States Rights, against Affirmative Action, and other racial topics. This eeked him to victory in 1968 but vaulted him to what became the biggest ELECTORAL landslide in American history (to that date) when he won EVERY SINGLE STATE EXCEPT.... Massachusetts :-)
Oh yeah and he lost the District of Columbia too. But thats not a state...
Anyway Nixon fucked up bad and had to resign. Ford took over in 1974, ran for election in his own right in 1976 and lost to Jimmy Carter. It was a close election and not a landslide. And the South actually largely went for Carter, he being a Southern himself, positioned as a moderate Democrat.
Yes Reagan won one vote.
Well Carter had a tricky term which we wont get into, but a B list actor who's previous jobs included being a corporate spokesman for General Electric and making speeches paid by the American Medical Association claiming that Medicare will lead to Communism; and he was former governor of CA; ran for President.
BUT its funny to see how Reagan started his campaign. "STATE'S RIGHTS" had been a rallying cry to Southern States to continue slavery; and it was a rallying cry for Southern States to continue Jim Crow and Segregation laws. When the federal government attempted to pass civil rights legislation, the Southern States cried it was violating "STATE'S RIGHTS".
In 1964, the same year of Johnson's landslide, the same year of that famous Civil Rights Act that lost the South for the Democrats; was also the year of one of the most famous civil rights murders in American history. Three men, one black and two white, were in Philadelphia, Mississippi registering blacks to vote. The Ku Klux Klan got to them, beat them, shot them, and burned the bodies. (This was not, unfortunately, an isolated incident, but happen to garner national press attention.)
In 1980 Ronald Reagan came to Philadelphia, Mississippi, now famous for the lynchings, to launch his presidential campaign; making a speech centered around his desire to protect state's rights. But I digress...
Here is the 1980 electoral map:
Yes he won big, and it wasnt even a re-election.
I wont say much more on Reagan except created whats called the Reagan Coalition; which is.... Big Business, evangelicals, southern racists, white, and working class people who think "liberals" only care about minorities and are going to take all their money (the so-called Reagan Democrat.)
In 1984 Reagan managed to pull off what is still today the largest ELECTORAL landslide in American history (thought he did not beat Johnson in the popular vote, getting 58% to Johnson's 61%)
AND WE end really here because since then we have been living in the age of Reagan.
That is to say, there are Blue States (the North East, the Great Lakes States, and the West Coast) and the Red States (The Solid South and Midwest) with only a few states here and there switching, the so-called "Swing States"
TO exemplify here are the electoral maps of 1996, 2000 and 2004:
So obviously, even if Obama wins, it would be hard to change all those red states to Blue. Perhaps it will happen in his re-election, perhaps not.
But... you never know