Barack Obama campaigns today in Quad Cities, Iowa, in a so-called "swing state" decided by under one percentage point in 2000 and 2004. It is the second leg of a multi-state tour that culminates Thursday in Denver with his accepting the Democratic nomination at the party's national convention.
Obama's trip, with stops in Wisconsin yesterday and Missouri and Montana later this week, underscores the focus of both campaigns on a number of "battleground" states -- electoral toss-ups with the potential to tip the scales in the presidential election. This year, there are many contenders for the honor, and the ensuing influx of ad dollars and candidate visits.
The Washington Post has its list , as do many others. Compiling 22 of these analyses shows that Iowa and Missouri are commonly perceived to be top-tier swing states this election cycle, with Wisconsin and Montana cited less frequently. Colorado, where Obama will speak to 70,000 Democratic faithful, made all 22 lists. In all, 24 states meet the criteria for battleground status in at least one of these lists compiled by political or polling analysts, news organizations or through online prediction markets.
Only Ohio, a state that has tipped toward the winner in each of the past 11 presidential elections, joins Colorado with a place on each of the 22 lists. Nevada (21 mentions), New Hampshire (19) and Virginia (17) round out the top five. Next in line for the battleground moniker are Michigan (16), Florida (15), New Mexico (15), Missouri (11), Iowa (11) and Pennsylvania (11)
In 2004, President Bush won eight of these 11 states, suggesting a relative disadvantage for Sen. John McCain this year in his quest for 270 Electoral College votes. Bush won Ohio by two percentage points four years ago, but he beat Sen. John F. Kerry by five or more points in four of this year's top 10 (Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Virginia).
Here is the full list, assembled from the sources listed below.
Out of 22 battleground lists:
# of % of State Mentions Measures Colorado 22 100 Ohio 22 100 Nevada 21 95 New Hampshire 19 86 Virginia 17 77 Michigan 16 73 Florida 15 68 New Mexico 15 68 Missouri 11 50 Iowa 11 50 Pennsylvania 11 50 Minnesota 8 36 Wisconsin 7 32 Oregon 6 27 North Carolina 5 23 Montana 4 18 North Dakota 4 18 New Jersey 3 14 Indiana 2 9 Washington 2 9 Alaska 1 5 Delaware 1 5 South Carolina 1 5 South Dakota 1 5
CNN, Cook Political Report, Fivethirtyeight.com, Gallup, Intrade, Karl Rove and Co., The Los Angeles Times, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, Marc Ambinder, MSNBC-First Read, National Public Radio, Pollster.com, Rasmussen Reports, RealClearPolitics, The Hotline, The New York Times, The Pindell Report, The Politico, The Rothenberg Report, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Zogby
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