This is the ninth'a0 and last in a series of closer looks at Barack Obama'92s path to victory through the nine so-called '93battleground'94 states on Nov. 4.
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: Iowa, with 7 electoral votes.
Bush won 50-49, a difference of 10,059 votes. Turnout: Roughly 65 percent.
What to watch for/Bottom line:
Iowa is to Barack Obama what New Hampshire is to John McCain: his political place-of-birth. His win in the caucuses earlier in January not only showed the rest of the country that he could beat the Hillary Clinton machine head-to-head, but it convinced black voters that he could win in mostly white parts of the country. That propelled him to a huge victory in South Carolina weeks later. Aside from Des Moines (Polk County), Obama doesn'92t need to consolidate his votes in any one area, but throughout the state. In the caucus, Obama did well throughout the state, not just in the large cities. Another repeat effort in an actual vote, and he'92ll have the Hawkeye state in his column.
NOTE: Many believe that Iowa isn'92t a toss-up state, but a solid Obama stronghold. We are inclined to believe that as well. However, since John McCain'92s campaign has hosted multiple events there over the past few weeks '96 including a '93Meet the Press'94 sit-down last Sunday '96 they must have internal polling to indicate otherwise. In that case, we'92ll keep them in the toss-up category just in case.
Click the thumbnail below for a pictorial map of Obama's path to victory in Iowa.