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: New Mexico and its 5 electoral votes.
Bush won 50-49, a difference of 5988 votes. Turnout was around 55 percent.
What to watch for/Bottom line:
Like Virginia, New Mexico'92s final result depends on Hispanic turnout. Bush won the state in 2004 by the slimmest of margins '96 only 6,000 votes '96 and that'92s with less than 60 percent of the state voting. If crowds are any indication '96 and they usually are not '96 Obama might have the requisite enthusiasm he needs to drive folks to the polls. He'92s pulling 45 to 1 over McCain in Albuquerque for some campaign events. That'92s important since Bernalillio County only went 52-47 for John Kerry. Obama needs big margins in Taos, Santa Fe and San Miguel counties, which all went big for Kerry in 2004. Wouldn'92t hurt for Obama to make a play for well-populated San Juan county in the northwest corner of the state.
UPDATE: Now we'92ve condensed all that info into a handy take-along JPEG (click for full-size):