State Predictions

#Indiana: 11 electoral votes The Hoosier State has voted Republican 16 of past 17 races and looked solidly Republican until last week. Obama’s massive voter contact campaign has paid off (he has 44 field offices compared to McCain’s 0) and has turned a long-shot state into a neck-and-neck race. As unemployment reaches a 20-year high in this blue-collar state, the economy is beginning to overtake traditional issues such as race and gun rights in importance for voters. Lean: Too close to call #Ohio: 20 electoral votes No presidential candidate has won an election without winning Ohio since 1960. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primaries here, raising questions regarding Obama’s ability to gain working-class support. However, the Ohio GOP has suffered several damaging scandals in the past four years, which have involved important public figures such as former Governor Bob Taft (accepting illegal gifts) and Congressman Bob Ney (Jack Abramoff scandal and alcoholism). Lean: Obama #Colorado 9 electoral votes Colorado has voted Republican in the last three elections but is now a competitive swing state. Its economy has been largely spared from the current financial crisis; its tourism and mining industries remain intact. As in other Western states, the game changer has been a large wave of recent Hispanic immigration, attracted to the economic opportunity and longstanding Hispanic presence in Colorado. In the past 30 years the Hispanic population has more than tripled; Hispanics now make up 20 percent of voters in Colorado. The Republicans’ hard-line stance on immigration pushes Hispanic voters toward the Democrats. The Democratic convention in Denver also boosted Democratic support. Lean: Obama #North Carolina 15 electoral votes Traditionally a Republican stronghold, North Carolina has been pulled towards the Democrats this year by an energized African-American vote and a working class feeling the effects of recession. This fast-growing state has seen more moderate out-of-staters voting in its elections. The economy is by far the most important issue for voters, who are suffering North Carolina’s highest unemployment rate in six years. Lean: Obama #Missouri 11 electoral votes George W. Bush won here in both of his elections. The 37 percent evangelist and 30 percent rural vote pose challenges for Obama, who won only five counties in Missouri (including the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City) but won the primary. The condition of the economy and the highest unemployment in 17 years are softening conservative voters who have traditionally voted on issues such as gun control and abortion. Missouri leaned toward McCain for much of the campaign, but Obama has not given up and is forcing McCain to pay more attention to the state. Lean: Too close to call #Florida: 27 electoral votes Perennial toss-up Florida, the most populous of the swing states, voted for George W. Bush in 2004 by a five percent margin over Democrat John Kerry, a larger margin than in ten other states. In this election Democrat Barack Obama has pulled Florida back atop the fence. Most of Florida has already decided; the North overwhelmingly favors McCain, while the south supports Obama. A vast number of undecided voters are gathered in the region of Central Florida dubbed the “I-4 Corridor,” a cluster of 12 counties that hug Interstate I-4 and include the cities of Tampa and Orlando, which is home to many retirees from across the country. The I-4 corridor, with its eclectic mix of different demographics, could potentially decide the election. Lean: Too close to call