As we learned from 2000, you can win the popular vote but still lose the election. It really is about which states you win.
Looking at the electoral map, some things are pretty clear from this election. Barack Obama made headway in areas where the GOP had previously been strong. And he won in all the right places.
For starters: It appears Obama pulled off a Great Lakes sweep. Indiana still isn’t official, but as of 1 a.m., it’s leaning Obama. The rest of the Great Lakes states — including Ohio (former red state) went for the Democratic candidate.
Next: Obama nearly achieved a sweep of the Eastern Seaboard. South Carolina and Georgia went for John McCain, but every other East Coast state went for Obama. North Carolina, of course, isn’t official at the time of this writing. But it was leaning Obama. It was Bush country in ’04. Florida and Virginia are not in doubt, and these former GOP prizes shifted into the Democrat column.
That pretty much sealed it. McCain couldn’t really afford to lose either Ohio or Florida. But that’s what happened, and then some.
Going back to my introduction, we didn’t have to worry about a repeat of 2000. Obama carried the popular vote as well.