Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Must Win States for Obama

We did McCain last time. (Scroll down to see the map). McCain is certainly the underdog in this campaign. I focused on 5 battleground states that he would be wise to focus on. The main difference here is that Obama has vast sums of money to spend, whereas McCain is heavily relying on the RNC to make up the slack. McCain can only really afford to spend his money in a few key areas. Obama, on the other hand, has set up shop in all 50 states. He is pouring money to run advertisements in states he has become competitive but will likely lose, such as Georgia. His strategy seems to be the same for McCain as it was for Hillary: bankrupt the opponent by forcing them to play defense in favored but competitive states.

Obama can afford to spend money to build networks and run ads in every battleground state--as he should. If I was a McCainiac, I would tell John to focus hard on the 5 states he needs desperately to win. If I was an Obama-mite, I would say, well, keep doing what you are doing.

Nonetheless, here are the states in order I think Obama should focus on.

1/2 Wisconsin and Minnesota. Several polls have put Obama with massive leads recently, such as a 17-point lead in MN. Wow. I don't even think Pawlenty can help McCain now. Several of the sites I visit don't even have these two states as "toss-ups" anymore. These two are Obama's to lose. Start with 219 Electoral Votes.

2. Pennsylvania. This is the largest Democratic swing state. It didn't go blue the past few times and probably won't change in a Democratic year. McCain is making an effort, but this state has been sailing further into the Democratic column. Obama should dispatch Hillary here (and in Ohio) to really bring this state home. 240 EVs.

3. Michigan (Battleground)! I told McCain that this is one he should fight for. Putting Romney on the ticket would help. But this is one state that clearly is in a full-fledged recession. They are hurting badly and it's just too easy to tie McCain to Bush economic failures--especially since McCain hasn't said he would do much differently in this area. MI has moved from weak to moderate Obama, and Obama would be wise to see that it stays with him. Regardless, sandwiched between Ohio and Wisconsin, I predict this area of the country will be getting a lot of attention from the Obama camp. 257 EVs.

4. Colorado. Although it has been weak Obama, it hasn't budged from supporting him. This is one of the clearest flips from 2004, and the convention will only boost his chances here. 264 EVs.

5. New Hamphire. This is McCain's only real shot at picking up a Kerry state. And it's slipping fast. Right now, it is strong Obama. Again, it's Obama's to lose. 269 EVs.

To put Obama over the top, I recommend focusing on Iowa, another swing state that has consistently been favoring him. That would give Obama the presidency without even winning Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Although I really think he should fight for those in that order. And he will.

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