To recap, we’ve gone over the states that vote a certain way. Now, we’ll discuss the states that usually vote a particular way.
States in which a particular candidate shows a modest lead in the polls (a realclearpolitics.com average of five percent points or more) may be referred to as leaning states. Some of these leaning states can be seen as relatively reliable, such as New Jersey (15), Washington (11) and Iowa (7) for the Democrats and Montana (3) and North Dakota (3) for the Republicans.
Of these states, Iowa is incredibly interesting because George W. Bush actually won the state in 2004. During the Democratic primaries, Obama built up strong support in Iowa and used the state to springboard his candidacy. Obama has built on the strong anti-war sentiment in Iowa and formed a solid majority.
Other states are less reliable, but they are certainly leaning in a particular direction. These states will be strongly fought over and will be part of the focus of the campaign. Leaning states like Wisconsin (10), Minnesota (10), and Oregon (7) favor Obama, while Georgia (15), North Carolina (15), and Missouri (11) favor McCain.
After adding the amount of solid states to leaning states, Obama continues to hold a lead with 217 electoral votes compared to McCain’s 189 electoral votes.
Next, we will discuss the first five toss-up states.