United States 2008 Presidential Election Battleground States
The United States 2008 Presidential Election Battleground States are a few of the hot spots for candidates. locations where every vote may count. The candidates all fight over these states harshly.
Pundits and political experts have identified certain battleground states where close votes might prove crucial to the outcome of the election. These states could include, but may not be limited to:
:Electoral College votes in parentheses
* Colorado: (9) The Centennial State is holding its second Democratic National Convention in Denver after 100 years. The election of Ken Salazar, a Hispanic-American to the U.S. Senate; Bill Ritter to the Governorship in 2006 and a U.S. House seat pick-up in 2006 made it a prized apple for the Democrats, prompting DNC Chairman Howard Dean to claim that the West holds the key to victory in 2008, which effectively made Denver the location of the Convention. A strong Hispanic-American concentration and the attention brought to bear on such issues as immigration reform, labor union support and minimum wage have made this a possible Democratic state. Republicans, however, still claim this state because of their support of gun rights and their stance on social conservative issues. John McCain is from neighboring Arizona, and pundits have marked Colorado as the initial favorite for the Republicans. ]] * Florida: (27) The key player in 2000, whose votes went - narrowly and controversially - to George W. Bush, making him the effective winner. Florida is situated in the South, which has become a Republican stronghold. Experts agree that the winner of Florida will have a significant advantage towards advancing to the White House. Florida has trended toward the Republican Party since 2000. For Democrats, the vote of the elderly is seen as a potential boon, due to the party's traditional stance on Medicare and Social Security (two key components of winning the elderly vote), while Republicans have an advantage with their stance on tax cuts and values issues. The Hispanic and African American populations in Florida could also give the Democrats an edge in a close race. As for Republicans, the business attention of tax cuts and Cuban-American attention has made it a strong contender. Also, Florida's recently-elected governor, Republican Charlie Crist, has enjoyed high approval ratings and was an early endorser of presumptive nominee John McCain, leading some to speculate McCain may pick Crist as his running mate. ]] * Indiana: (11) The state has not voted for a Democratic Presidential Nominee since Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but a poll shows a generic Democrat leading a generic Republican in the Presidential election 37%-32%. Another poll by the Indianapolis Star showed the War in Iraq and the sluggish economy to be the biggest issues among Hoosiers. Also, the poll found that a Democratic ticket featuring Indiana Senator Evan Bayh would boost the possibility of Indiana switching alliances. Current polls show Indiana as a pure toss-up. In 2006, Democrats won three house seats here. Another factor that may drag down the Republican ticket might be Governor Mitch Daniels, who has had relatively low poll numbers recently. Also in 2006, Democrats gained control of the Indiana House. * Iowa: (7) Iowa is a true toss up state; it went for Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004. In 2006, Democrats retained control of the Governor's Mansion with the addition of two U.S. House seats and the election of Chet Culver as governor, another potential running mate for the Democratic nominee. Also, for the first time in four decades, Democrats gained complete control of the state legislature, further enhancing the progress of the Democrats. Still, agriculture policies and conservative values make it a magnet for the Republicans. ]] * Michigan: (17) The Great Lakes State has been a fairly safe bet for the Democrats in recent decades, giving its substantial electoral votes to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. However, with each election, the margin of victory has narrowed, opening a window for the Republicans. Populism and a historically strong labor movement have dominated the state and given Democrats an advantage, but Republicans have gained ground in advancing tax cuts and other social issues appealing to "Reagan Democrats". A population exodus from Democratic Detroit has made the conservative Republican west more influential. Still, Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm was soundly re-elected in 2006, while presiding over a one-state recession. * Minnesota: (10) Minnesota has been a traditionally Democratic state in recent decades, but in the past two presidential elections, the elections have been competitive between the GOP and Democratic candidates. The 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate election is also stated to be competitive, with Republican Norm Coleman running for re-election and peace activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and commentator Al Franken actively seeking the Democratic nomination. The Republicans are holding their National Convention in Saint Paul hoping to sway the election toward Republicans this time. The last Republican presidential candidate to win in Minnesota was President Richard Nixon in 1972; since then, it has generally been solid ground for the Democrats. But in 2000 and 2004, the margin of victory was small, encouraging multiple visits by candidates in both parties. In 2006, however, the Democratic Farmer Labor Party picked up a house seat and gained 19 legislative seats and six state senate seats. ]] * Missouri: (11) The Show Me State has been long been dubbed the bellwether for the nation because historically it has correlated very closely with the national Zeitgeist - with the single exception of 1956, Missouri has supported the winner of every Presidential election since 1904. The home state of President Harry Truman leans slightly Republican, and granted its 11 electoral votes to Bush in both 2000 and 2004. Despite the relative strength of Republicans in this Midwestern state, it has a strong penchant for advancing populist causes such as stem cell research and universal health care. In 2006, Missouri elected its first female U.S. Senator in Democrat Claire McCaskill. Moreover, the national mood souring over the war in Iraq makes this state a strong possibility for the Democrats. * Nevada: (5) Although Nevada has historically leaned Republican, the high concentration of labor unions and Hispanic-American vote make it a potential battleground state. (Its 2006 Gubernatorial election was particularly competitive, and Republican Jim Gibbons won only by a slim margin.) The Las Vegas metropolitan area with its dramatic increase in population has become an attractive destination for Democratic campaign resources, and Republicans are buoyed by the strong disapproval ratings of Gibbons (29% approval rating as of March 2007) and Bush (34% approval rating as of March 2007). Furthermore, Nevada has, with the single exception of 1976, been won by the victor of every US Presidential election since 1912, a record which makes it a secondary bellwether state. * New Hampshire: (4) Once very reliably Republican, New Hampshire became a swing state in the 1990s. Republicans still have somewhat of an edge in statewide elections, however the Democrats took control of the state legislature and both Congressional seats in 2006. The New Hampshire Republican Party tends to be more socially liberal than the national party, and as a result their behavior in national elections is harder to determine. New Hampshire was the only state in the nation that went for Bush in 2000 and then for Kerry in 2004, although by narrow margins both times. * New Mexico: (5) New Mexico has been long eschewed as a nominal state, but that thinking has changed dramatically. With elections being heavily contested and victories being decided by two or three states, New Mexico has become one of the centers of political fighting. In 2000, Gore won by a razor-thin margin and in 2004, Bush won by a small, yet safe margin. These results have made experts conclude that New Mexico's five electoral votes, even though small in calculation, could tip the balance. New Mexico's large Hispanic and Native American populations tend to vote Democrat, and could be the key for a Democratic candidate in a close race. Its penchant for populist streaks have made it an attraction for the Democrats, and Governor Bill Richardson was a contender for the 2008 nomination, and has been widely speculated as a vice presidential candidate. ]] * Ohio: (20) "I think 2008 is very likely to be a hotly contested race in Ohio," stated Eric Rademacher, director of the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll, for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Its 20 electoral votes were critical to President Bush's reelection in 2004, and their tally was close enough to be contested. In 2006, Ohio voters elected Democrats Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown for Governor and U.S. Senator, respectively. * Oregon: (7) A Democratic-leaning state, with generally strong beliefs in civil liberties and liberal ideology on social issues. However, the eastern two-thirds of the state often votes Republican, and in 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush carried every county east of the Cascades. The state has gone to the Democrats from the 1988 election onward. ]] * Pennsylvania: (21) Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro A. Cortés stated on March 17, 2007, that "The commonwealth’s large number of electoral college votes and diverse population make Pennsylvania a key battleground state." Pennsylvania has leaned Democratic since 1992, giving its electoral votes to Bill Clinton (1992 and 1996), Gore (2000) and Kerry (2004). President Bush visited the state more than 40 times during his 2004 campaign. ]] * Virginia: (13) No Democratic presidential candidate has won Virginia since Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory in 1964, and it was the only Southern state that went Republican in 1976. Virginia is no longer as reliably Republican as it once was, as evidenced by Democrat Tim Kaine's victory in 2005 for the Governor's Mansion and Jim Webb's narrow victory in the 2006 Senate race against incumbent Republican George Allen. Additionally, Northern Virginia, the fastest-growing region in the state, tends to lean Democratic. Virginia also has a large African American population, which could benefit a Democratic candidate in a close race. On September 13, 2007, former Virginia governor and Democrat Mark Warner informally announced he will run for the Senate in 2008 for the seat of retiring Senator John Warner. This notion is supported by a September 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll in which Mark Warner leads former Republican governor Jim Gilmore 54% to 34% and Republican Congressman Thomas M. Davis 57% to 30%. * Wisconsin: (10) Among the closest states in the nation, Wisconsin very narrowly went to Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. These two results were much closer than the results in prior elections, so it could be possible Wisconsin is trending Republican in presidential elections, though John Kerry won by a slightly larger margin than Gore in 2000.
The states listed above control a total of 207 electoral votes. Out of the remaining states that are not expected to be competitive the Republican Party is expected to get (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming) which would give them 148 electoral votes. While the Democratic Party is expected to get the remaining states including, (California, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington) which would allow the Democrats to claim 183 electoral votes. Any of these could however become a Battleground State as the election progresses, and as the party's select their final presidential and vice presidential candidates, it could make previously uncompetitive states or regions very competitive.