Between now and Election Day, you will see both Barack Obama and John McCain campaigning almost exclusively in these twelve states. If you happen to live in any of these states, you should be preparing yourself for a media blitz that will surely make you dream of a quiet, remote vacation long before Election Day. Over the next several months, political pundits will refer to these dozen states as the battleground for the 2008 Presidential election.
A combination of recent polling, state voting demographics, and political history is a powerful formula that can be used to predict the likely outcome of thirty eight American states. In fact, if both candidates run a respectable and credible campaign, today’s polling results in these thirty eight states should not be much different than the actual results on Election Day.
The truth is that when reviewing the 2008 electoral map, Republican John McCain can now count on 174 safe electoral votes, while Democrat Barack Obama can feel comfortable winning 204. Therefore, it is the voting in only twelve states, representing 160 electoral votes, that will ultimately determine the outcome in this Presidential election. An outcome that requires the next President of the United States to obtain a minimum of 270 electoral votes on Election Day.
The twelve battleground states that will decide the 2008 Presidential election are; Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia. Let’s briefly look at these battleground states in the 2008 Presidential election.
Florida has voted Republican with its 27 electoral votes in each of the last two Presidential elections. Of course, we remember how close the voting was in 2000 when a few thousand votes determined the outcome for Republican President, George W. Bush. Currently, the state has a popular Republican Governor in Charlie Crist, who is also a potential candidate for Vice President on the Republican ticket. Recent public opinion polls in Florida shows that Republican John McCain has a double digit lead over Democrat Barack Obama.
Missouri almost always cast its ballot for the candidate who wins the White House. In fact, with the exception of 1956, no candidate since 1904 ever has won a Presidential election without winning the state of Missouri. Current polls indicate a dead heat in the race to capture Missouri’s 11 electoral votes in Election 2008.
No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio’s 20 electoral votes. In fact, no candidate has won the Presidency without winning Ohio since 1960. Current polls show both political candidates in a statistical dead heat in the Buckeye state.
The states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico in total account for 28 electoral votes. Democrat Barack Obama enjoys a modest lead in recent polls in Colorado and New Mexico. Both these states voted Republican in the 2004 Presidential election. John McCain maintains a modest lead in Nevada while Barack Obama holds a lead in Iowa. If this recent trend continues, Nevada will vote for the same party as it did in 2004. However, a Democratic win in Iowa would be a change from the result in the Presidential election of four years ago.
Pennsylvania voted for the Democratic candidate in each of the last two Presidential elections. However, the final margin of victory was very small. Recent polls indicate another very close election in 2008 to win the state’s 21 electoral votes.
Michigan has cast its 17 Electoral College votes for the Democrats in each of the last four Presidential elections. However the margin of Democratic victory in 2004 was very slim. Recent polls indicate another very close race between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008.
As far as the final three 2008 battleground states are concerned, Wisconsin’s 10 Electoral votes went Democratic by a very close margin in the last Presidential election. Recent polls show another very close vote is likely in 2008 as well. Both Virginia and North Carolina (total of 28 electoral votes) were found in the Republican column four years ago. John McCain holds very slim leads in both states in public opinion polls at the current time.
The party primaries are now over and the fall Presidential election campaign is about to begin. During the next several months, there will be televised debates, and the usual give and take of any Presidential campaign.
However, the truth is that in order to win on Election Day, each of the candidates have to work to deliver the right political message. It will need to be a message designed to win in America’s political battleground, the twelve swing states of Election 2008.