Video: Looking towards November

msnbc.com
updated 6/6/2008 11:57:04 PM ET 2008-06-07T03:57:04

In strategizing for the November presidential election, both candidates can view the each state in one of four categories. Base states are those securely in support of the candidate. Leaning states are likely to vote in favor of the candidate but the projected margin of victory is small enough that the outcome is uncertain relative to base states. Toss up states show no clear bias. The fourth category is for states that lean toward open candidate but hold the possibility of being flipped by the opposing candidate.

With big states like California and New York in his base, Senator Obama has 153 electoral votes essentially in the bag.

John McCain has more base states, but would only get 116 electoral votes from them.

As for what's still in play, five states, Maine, New Jersey, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington lean toward Senator Obama - giving him 47 votes. Adding in toss-up states like Ohio and Florida, that brings the total up to 185 electoral votes.

More states lean toward John McCain - giving him 84 electoral votes. Which, along with the toss-up states, gives him 222 electoral votes.

But because McCain has fewer base state electoral votes, and more lean states, Senator Obama has the potential to pick up more electoral votes from McCain than vice versa.

Among the most likely McCain-leaning states that Obama could take are those bordering Illinois: Missouri and Indiana.

Another aspect of what would be an Obama landslide is the taking of southern states with large African-American populations like Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina. If the Obama campaign's "turnout" idea works and the youth vote spikes and the African-American vote spikes, this is where we'll see the evidence first.

The most likely Obama-leaning states that McCain could steal for a landslide win are New Jersey and Oregon. New Jersey always looks promising for Republicans in early polling even though the vote never seems to go their way. If Obama is struggling with Jewish voters, Northern New Jersey may be a problem for him. Oregon is a quirky state with a conservative rural area. McCain, with his pitch on climate change, could appeal to Oregon voters.

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