North Carolina Is Leaning Towards McCain

By: Liz Sidoti - AP
By: Liz Sidoti - AP

An analysis of the state-by-state race to 270 electoral votes between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

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SOLID Obama

States: California (55), Connecticut (7), District of Columbia (3), Delaware (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), Maine (4), Massachusetts (12), Maryland (10), New Jersey (15), New York (31), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington state (11)

Electoral votes: 190

Analysis: Democratic bastions on both coasts, and Obama's home state of Illinois, are all but guaranteed to side with him. Washington state is worth watching and Oregon could slip to the "lean Obama" category. Obama is comfortably ahead in both, but polls tend to tighten in the final months. Maine is the same; McCain may compete for one of the state's electoral votes, which are distributed by congressional district.

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LEAN Obama

States: Iowa (7), Minnesota (10), Pennsylvania (21)

Electoral votes: 38

Analysis: Obama has a slight edge in these perennial battlegrounds states, though they could become toss-ups in the coming weeks. Both Republicans and Democrats cite polling that show Obama in the lead in Minnesota, but the GOP holds its national convention there and that could change the dynamic. A recent public survey put Obama ahead in Iowa, which George W. Bush barely won in 2004, but also shows McCain has started to close the gap. Pennsylvania is trending toward Obama - and the running mate choice of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, a Scranton native with working-class appeal, will help - but McCain is playing hard for it and could erase the Democratic lead.

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TOTAL Obama

17 states, the District of Columbia and 228 votes.

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SOLID McCain

States: Alabama (9), Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (9), Mississippi (6), Nebraska (5), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (8), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (34), Utah (5), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3).

Electoral votes: 139

Analysis: McCain should easily win his Arizona home state, though Obama is watching for an opening there. Arkansas, South Dakota, Texas are others Democrats say they may go after, but there's no public polling to prove that's anything more than just talk. Obama could try to win an electoral vote in Nebraska, where votes are divvied up by congressional district and where advertising intended for Iowans is seen in the east.

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LEAN McCain

States: Alaska (3), Georgia (15), Indiana (11), Missouri(11), Montana (3), North Carolina (15), North Dakota (3),

Electoral votes: 61

Analysis: McCain has narrow-to-moderate advantages in these states. Obama has put all but Missouri into play by advertising in them as McCain all but ignores them. Those six have long Republican-voting histories that Republicans are confident will prevail. Missouri is a bellwether that may end up moving to the too-close-to-call category. Republicans and Democrats say McCain has a slim lead.

TOTAL McCain

24 states and 200 votes.

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TOSSUPS:

States: Colorado (9), Florida (27), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10)

Electoral votes: 110

Analysis: Nine states are too close to call, though it's possible the candidates will open up leads in some. Virginia is the only one that wasn't hotly contested in the last election. Democrats are emboldened in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico by an influx of left-leaning Hispanic residents. Big-prize Ohio and Florida probably won't be decided until the end. New Hampshire has been tipping Democratic, but McCain is keeping it close, given his bond there after independents helped him win GOP primaries twice. Private polling shows the race recently having tightened in Democratic-held Wisconsin and Michigan.

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