Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Battleground States

The focus of the Obama campaign is swinging toward choosing which states to target in November.

Although grassroots operations, including offices, will continue in all states, certain battleground states must be selected where the candidate will spend most of his time, where the most resources and the "A-team" staff personnel will be allocated.

These battleground states are those known as "swing states," where the vote is considered on the borderline between the two candidates.

I've analyzed the potential battleground states based mainly on polls, number of electoral votes per state, demographics, and the general enthusiasm and organization of the campaign in those states that I've witnessed. This analysis though is tentative because polls are still quite early.

The base of voters that participate in the primaries is different than that of the general election. Many more people should turn out for the latter. Many of these folk probably have not tuned in much yet, and polls will only reflect their name recognition of the candidates. As they begin to more closely examine the candidates, their choices can change quickly and often.

I'm dividing the battleground states into three categories: 1) States to Win Over, 2) States to Defend, 3) Other Battleground States.

The States to Win Over are those where Obama must go on the offensive to win. States to Defend are those where Barack looks strong, and must basically defend his position. The other states are more difficult and/or do not carry sufficient electoral votes. I would probably have the candidate spend from 50 to 80 percent of the time in the first category states with similar resource allocation, and divide the rest of the time and resources between the next two categories. Other states would only be visited for the occasional fundraiser and to keep the troops happy.

The states are listed in order of priority with the number of electoral votes for each state in parenthesis.

States to Win Over
  1. Ohio (20)
  2. Michigan (17)
  3. Wisconsin (10)
  4. Missouri (11)

States to Defend
  1. Pennsylvania (21)
  2. Colorado (9)
  3. Iowa (7)
  4. New Jersey (15)
  5. Oregon (7)

Other Battleground States
  1. Virginia (13)
  2. New Mexico (5)
  3. Nevada (5)
  4. Florida (27)
  5. New Hampshire (4)
  6. North Carolina (15)
  7. Georgia (15)

Now again, my opinion on these states could change depending as the situation is quite fluid.

Of course, there are a number of other states where Barack stands a chance of pulling upsets like Louisiana, Kansas, etc., and grassroots efforts there should be supported. Maybe these states will come into play later on during the campaign.

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