Before we begin, here'92s the set-up. I project Obama with 231 solid electoral votes: California (55), Washington (11), Oregon (7), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (17), Illinois (21), Maine (4), New Hampshire (4), Vermont (3), New York (31), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Connecticut (7), New Jersey (15), Delaware (3), Maryland (10), Hawaii (4) and Washington, D.C. (3). That leaves nine battleground states, each in varying degree of lean or toss-up: Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Virginia (13), Florida (27), North Carolina (15), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), Colorado (9) and Iowa (7). Obama must secure 39 of those electoral votes to reach the 270 needed to win the presidency.
Each of these battleground states will be judged in the light of their 2004 turnout and results. You'92ll remember that George W. Bush defeated John Kerry, 286-251, in 2004, precisely because he won eight of these nine states.
Today'92s state: Virginia and it's 13 electoral votes.
Bush won 54-45, a difference of 262,217. Turnout was near 55 percent.
*NOTE: This state has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.
What to watch for on election night:
NoVa: Northern Virginia '96 or '93fake Virginia'94 according to McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer '96 delivered only three counties for John Kerry: Alexandria City (67 percent for Kerry), Fairfax (53 percent) and Arlington (68 percent).
Obama has apparently made huge in-roads in NoVa, particularly with Hispanic voters. He must win those three Kerry counties, plus surrounding Loudoun and Prince William counties (which were close in 2004) to have a shot.
SoVa: Nancy'92s '93real Virginia'94 is supposedly still strong for McCain. Obama will have to make inroads in the Chesapeake Bay area. Bush won the three counties surrounding Norfolk and Virginia Beach (Suffolk, Chesapeake City and Virginia Beach City) with an average of 56 percent of the vote'85Richmond City must come in strong for Obama'85Watch Albemarie County, the home of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia'85Kerry won this county by only 3 percentage points, but reports have Obamamania in full force at UVA.
This is one of those states where turnout will be key for Obama. Only 55 percent of the state voted four years ago. Obama must increase that number significantly to have a chance of turning this stalwart red state blue. And it'92s the Hispanic vote in NoVa and along the Bay in SoVa that must make up the majority of that increased turnout.
UPDATE: Now we'92ve condensed all that info into a handy take-along JPEG (click for full-size):