The Northeast and the West Coast were never in doubt for Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney was always sure to win the South and rural Great Plains.
Nothing was so certain in the Midwest.
Iowa and the states along the shores of the Great Lakes from Minnesota to Ohio put Obama in the White House in 2008. Two years later, with voters in a foul mood as the Great Recession lingered, the GOP took over governor's mansions in four states and state legislatures in five.
Yet on Tuesday, Obama beat Mitt Romney by again winning every state in the region save one.
The results reaffirmed the future of the Midwest as a political battleground where voters willing to look past party will decide the outcome of elections.