A New Map in November?
(...) For months, Barack Obama has talked of expanding the presidential map, of competing seriously with John McCain in states abandoned by Democratic presidential contenders decades ago. It has been a powerful and alluring argument as some Democratic voters consider which primary candidate would be more electable in the Fall. The only trouble is, as Obama talks up his ability to put more states in play, McCain has made the same argument to Republican primary voters.
The likeliest outcome, as analysts believe and polls show, is a map in which both candidates take some surprising electoral votes, and a map so unique as to flummox historians and political scientists for a generation to come.
Twelve states in all were decided by fewer than five percentage points in 2004, and those are likely to be prime battlegrounds again. President Bush narrowly won Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio; John Kerry, meanwhile, barely took electoral votes in Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. As a measure of how static the map had become, just three states gave their electoral votes to the opposite party as had won them in 2000 (New Mexico and Iowa flipped into the Republican column, while New Hampshire went Democratic).