Chicago may just be the best city in the country to base your presidential campaign - in terms of the Electoral College - if you count with a cadre of well-trained organizers and volunteers ready to travel a short ways to register voters, knock on doors and help get out the vote in the neighboring swing states: Add 39 contiguous Electoral Votes in play and another 27 in battleground states close enough for day trips, and the region holds a whopping electoral prize of 87 EVs. That's more than the 73 on the West Coast or the 74 in Greater NY (with PA, NJ and CT).
As a native New Yorker, doing this math has been a humbling experience!
During the caucuses and primaries, Obama's organization under-performed the polling numbers in some regions, but in the key states surrounding Illinois it over-performed: Before the Iowa caucuses on January 3, the Pollster.com average had Senator Clinton leading by 1.4 percent (Obama held a slim 1.6 percent lead in the final five polls), yet Obama conquered there with 38 percent to 29 (that included second choice votes from supporters of also-rans); the entrance poll had it Obama 35, Clinton 27, an increase in the polling lead by 6.4 points...
In each of these key primaries and caucus, the difference between the polling results and the voting results was the field organization: that which was natively grown but also the waves of volunteers and organizers from Illinois that flooded into each of those states, including many doing it in single-day or weekend trips.
I love it; political organization is like a game of Risk! "With your troops in Chicago, you can strike anywhere in the Upper Midwest. And then you can raid Colorado and Virginia."
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.