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June 9th, 2008
06:29 PM ET

Gaming the electoral map

John King
CNN Chief National Correspondent

Obama in reliably Republican North Carolina on Monday?

McCain in “blue state” Pennsylvania on Wednesday?

It’s proof the campaign is in a “feeling out” phase, with each campaign testing to see if it can redraw the traditional Electoral College map.

For Obama, that means looking to see if he can compete in places that were solid George W. Bush states in both 2000 and 2004; Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia are a few he hopes to target.

And for McCain, testing to see whether Obama’s problems with blue-collar whites will carry over into the general election means exploring his chances in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan, two big electoral prizes that are critical to any Democratic strategy for victory.

An early CNN analysis sees a competitive race at this early juncture in the battle for the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Our “solid Democratic” map includes 10 states and the District of Columbia that together have 153 electoral votes.

Four states with 37 more are “lean Democratic.” (so Obama’s early foundation is 190)

Our solid Republican map includes 16 states with 125 electoral votes. Eight states with 69 more “lean Republican.” (so McCain’s early foundation is 194)

There are a dozen states we consider “tossup” at the moment based on factors that could include recent polling, assessments from the two campaigns and other party strategists, and conversations with political leaders in those states. The dozen tossups at this juncture carry a total of 154 electoral votes.

Curious as to where your state falls? CNNPolitics.com has a map we will update between now and November as we track the campaign on a state by state basis.


Filed under: Barack Obama • John King • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Some of these comments make me laugh, while others make me shake my head. But the one about McCain making Condolezza Rice his VP flatly inflames me. She is part of the estabishment that has brought our nation to the messes we face today. I absolutely reject that stupid political ploy about McCain being Bush's third term. But if he selects Ms Rice, thats exactly what he'd be doing. That would without question prove McCain is senile.

    June 10, 2008 at 9:00 am |
  2. trasa

    Well, I don't care for McCain because he sounds like a fool and has no clue. Oh, hasn't any one noticed when he walks it looks like a penguin. Anyways, Obama is going to win this election and at this point, I don't need to hear from the babbling bafoon. I hope majority of Hillary supporters come to the right side, your always welcomed. And those supporter who go to McCain, that's fine, we don't want scraps.

    June 10, 2008 at 6:07 am |
  3. Michael, NC

    DUDE, congratulations on the hitch John, I have to say I missed you and the map.
    I took a look at the link above, and I have to say that I think there is a HIGH chance that Obama will win here in NC. He has such a strong base here in eastern NC, and I know he has won the hearts of the African American voters, so that gives him a huge edge. I look forward to more from your "magic map" soon.
    Once again, congratulations, and best of luck in the future!

    June 10, 2008 at 2:59 am |
  4. Dee

    I just came from John McCain blog. I think it's a lot of confusion over there. The "Hard Wright" is clashing with "Hillarycrats". Hillary Clinton stance on issue are far different from John McCain. McCain's blogger are complaining that the site is not conservative enough. I think Hillary supporter are just mad and need space.

    June 10, 2008 at 1:41 am |
  5. Mark

    Watch your backs McCain family for the tacky and unGodly hater's have nothing else to trash now that Mrs. Clinton is out. I have watched CNN news for weeks putting down the Clinton's and trashing their names. Hard working American will not stand for these unGodly lies. We just want the best man for the job , to save our dying County. The people tusted the dem. party two years ago to make changes, but they did nothing and were not going to buy into thier lies anymore! Our family has been dem. for years and we will vote for Mr. McCain because he has leadership skills and is a good hard working leader. As for Obama's given speeches what a joke, besides being a lair and a hater Obama's Bandwagon speches are a joke. Obama is all Talk , Talk , Talk and no do.

    June 10, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  6. jim

    somebody help me,72 years old mccain talking about change hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    June 10, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  7. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    Phillip............

    Rice said she is not interested. I don't think she would do that to Obama anyway. McCain would be "using" her.

    June 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  8. randy

    2 thoughts come to mind here.
    I think Obama needs to make visits to Europe, the troops in Iraq, Darfur, and any other place in the world, so he can get a sense of what is really going on. He has so much support outside of the US which should if he does it correctly should bolster his support at home. For those people who refuse to vote for Obama, I ask you to look at the last 8 years, look at where we are with our Allies, look at the value of the dollar. You get what you deserve, and if you haven't learned any lessons over these last 8 years, guess what you will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. But at least you know what it is going to be, is it easier to live with that, or take a chance on Change?

    June 9, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  9. Pat

    If Obama wins think they'll change the name from White House to Black House? I'm sure he will if he can. Why such a need to identify with one ethnical community? I just don't get it! He seems to have way too many identity issues to be President of the most racially diverse nation on earth. Actions do speak louder than words. Being Mulatto, and proudly so...might have been the Change, to Unite America...Deserting half your heritage, to embed himself in one community over another does not Presidential material make (in my opinion). He's worked for black people, belonged to a black racist, (Chritian in guise only church) for 20+ years...What kind of hope, change and uniting are people of any other ethnenticity expecting???He's worked and dedicated most of his adult life to being recognised as black. If race doesn't make a difference why the hell did he go to such drastic radical measures, or affiliations to be one or the other? Isn't that Racist? Is David Duke still out there...Maybe we can put him on the ballot! I just don't understand!

    June 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  10. bill

    All the Obama smashers are missing the most important detail in an election that will determine which candidate the majority will vote for. Most Americans typically vote their pocket book. With rising fuel prices, higher prices in the grocery aisle, and failing home mortgages, American's pocket books are pretty empty. I even heard a report that credit card charges are down, not because American's are being more responsible with them, but because they have maxed them out. All that being said, the Republican pary is viewed as the party currently in power because Bush is in the White Houese (and yes, I voted for him both times). American's will not put a Republican back in the White House unless the economy miraculously does an about face. Sen. Obama will be the next President of the United States.

    June 9, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  11. SHARON

    I've been a republican for many years. Being a small business owner, in many ways being a republican has been better. But not so much any more. Sadly, I don't either party is the full answer. I wish there weren't two parties but a 3rd that taps the best of both. Republicans are for business, but not for the very small business like mine. Nothing they ever do helps me. So weighing it all and then adding in my feelings as a person, not a business owner, I have to go democrat this year. I am a female and cannot let pro-life judges control the court. That choice should be mine. I can't continue to support a war that threatens the lives of so many and has helped take us down this recessionary path we are on. I can't support a party that continues to allow oil companies the ability to buy up patents that have stopped this oil crisis before it every got this far. The list goes on and on. I don't agree 100% with everything Obama says but I agree even less with John McCain. I'm willing to try something different this time around.

    June 9, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  12. NICK

    In my humble estimation, this race should be about economics, not one liners. What are the candiates going to do to reduce spending, define economic growth packages,reduce the deficit, reduce taxes, deal with energy? Rhetoric is all we have heard. Sen. Clinton defined her tax base and how she would raise revenue, Sen. McCain we know is a fiscal conservative. Sen. Obama has yet to delcare long term economic strategy other than tax the wealthy. Who are the wealthy? Dual income families? Point being the now two candiates need to get to exactly what its is they plan to propose to Congress and the Amercian electorate, and how they propose to pay for it. Also, Ted Kennedy went to the 1980 Demecratic Convention, challenged the incumbent Carter, with a huge dficit in primary delegates and was not encouraged to drop out but thought of as a master politician. Sen. Clinton, in an almost statisical tie in primary delegates and popular vote is told to get out of the race. Why is that? Maybe the media pundits can answer that one?

    June 9, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  13. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    Steven James.............

    I agree...............McCain is so uncomfortable speaking. And, that is why he wants 20 town hall meetings with Obama. He wants to debate. He doesn't like to stand alone and speak. You would think they would of thought of this flaw long ago and tried to fix it. He looks incredibly weak when he makes a speech. I would tell Obama to make a bunch of speeches.............make McCain do another speech. Lol..................it was like watching the comedy channel...............

    June 9, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  14. Jen Turner

    Is it me or does Obama only seem to care about campaigning in states or areas that he is behind in the polls. It is funny that he continuously contends he is for the people of the United States of America, but I wonder how true that will be if he becomes President. Just like Florida and Michigan, did he really care about those voters before he realized their votes may just decide the Primary Election? I think he really should not take for granted that us Hillary supporters will vote Obama just because she has endorsed him....he needs to come to our cities and convince us that he has a plan for the economy, healthcare and the war in Iraq!

    Jen Turner, California

    June 9, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  15. Pat

    This Hillary voter will register as an Independent, and write in Hillary Clinton. That's who I want, and believe in. That's who I will vote for. Perhaps if enough of us did this, the DNC would make necessary changes, like no Super Dummies, and no delegates. Maybe, our voices would be heard, our votes would actually count, and the Supreme Court would not be appointing our Presidents. 18million Hillary supporters, plus all those that are disillusioned by BHO's racial extremists past...Hillary can win. If the DNC takes her off the poles at the Convention I will never again vote Democratic. They've already publicly raped her...made her cry uncle and smile...That and the Left wing media have done enough. Nothing she, or anyone else can make me support BHO!

    June 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  16. Sharon from Indy

    John:
    I think it would be a great idea for Obama and McCain to visit Indiana and Wisconsin as the residents face extensive flooding and storm damage to their homes and businesses. At this moment, the residents could care less what color state they reside in. They are trying to recover and have only started to fighting with insurance companies.

    What kind of leadership do they need in the White House?

    June 9, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  17. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    I want McCain to do some more speeches. His last one made me laugh so hard I almost cried. I've never seen a real live man made of wood.

    June 9, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  18. Philip

    I believe that John McCain will select Condoleeza Rice as VP and sway the female vote and win the election.

    June 9, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  19. Steven James

    Obama will crush John McCain in the general. Just like how GW Bush won in 2004...the hype and the Confidence of his voice brought Americans together and they rallied, It can be a lame joke, Bush says...and that all it took to get a vote. I see John McCain very calm, and the lack of confidence he speaks to a crowds in many ways sounds as if he's reading a story to a kindergarten class....I don't think Americans will vote for that man. John Kerry Clearly knew his more about Government than Bush, but Americans elected a man they feel they can share a beer with. Looking across the country, the excitement Obama brings in "RED STATES" such as North Carolina, S. Dakota, and Iowa...it's powerful, and even more excitement in blue states, we as John McCain showing a Weak and Fragile personality. And it has nothing about age! Ask John Kerry was a weak personality looks like!

    June 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  20. Kent Fitzsimmons,Illinois

    If I hear McCain pander any longer to Hillary's voters from the primary I think I'm gonna throw up................are we that stupid? Would Hillary's voters vote for McCain if he says please?

    June 9, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  21. Francesca Elm

    You're amazing with that 'magic map' I was very disappointed when you we're there the last few weeks to analyze Montana and South Dakota. Anyways if there was an award for being the best at the magic map, you would win in a landslide.

    June 9, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  22. Heather

    Welcome back John, Congratulations to you and Dana. Mazel Tov on your wedding! I bet your happy to be reporting again versus the magic wall. I am one of those Jewish Democrats who plans on voting for McCain. I think this time around McCain will really get a chance to show us who he is if he takes advantage of the attention. I also think he will be able to travel to all the states he needs to shape his policies. Im hoping he will be reasonable about certain things to appeal Hillary Clinton Voters who are moderates.

    June 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm |
  23. Jolene

    John:
    Thanks for this analysis. I found it very useful. It is interesting that MI and FL are swing states, looks like they might have a big say in the general election afterall.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    June 9, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  24. Annie Kate

    Well, its a good thing I had already decided on McCain because as usual the state I live in and my home state are both solidly GOP. There have been times I really regarded that and felt like my vote didn't count since in the general election its winner take all in the electoral college.

    Sounds like its going to be a contentious fall campaign but from the map it also looks like Obama needs some things to break his way to beat McCain.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 9, 2008 at 9:12 pm |
  25. Larry

    Obama saw no difference between Hillary & McCain on numerous topics; just gonna be more of the same; who says money can't buy you the presidency?

    June 9, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  26. jim

    Obama needs to do everything to convince the Religious right , the white males and most of the females that he isn't a racists i.e. when he threw his grandmother under the bus with "typical White person"!!!! Make his position known on the border a issue he evades. Try to convince the people that his close personal friend Bill Ayers is not a terrorist. Good luck. He should try to convince Hillary supporters to vote for him.

    Mc Cain doesn't have to do much. Thank you Jeremiah Wright , Bill Ayersand Obama's grandmother. He should also be upfront with the voters on the border issue. He will win by a landside

    June 9, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  27. Mary OK

    My state has been republican for so long and hard, my vote will only strenghten Senator's McCain's support in my state. I was a Senator Clinton supporter but will not vote for the socialist Obama. I don't think Obama is honest or trustworthy. Senator Obama has ruined the Democratic Party and divided our nation.

    June 9, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  28. Sara

    McCain needs to grab us Hillary loyalists.
    I'm definitely not voting for Obama based on his way to Liberal views, his Affiliations and his Inexperience.....so McCain I think you've got my vote, but please tell me more why I should vote for you....I could always change my mind and write Hillary in.

    June 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  29. joe

    Things Obama needs to do: (1) Talk more about his mother and WWII veteran grandfather. (2) Emphasize your midwestern roots.
    (3) Keep presenting the image of a virile male by jogging and playing basketball. (Lay down the golf clubs unless you get invited to play with Tiger Woods). (4) Visit temples, churches and houses of worship (with your family whenever possible).
    (5) Give us an energy plan that addresses our dependency on oil.
    (6) Hint toward some of the people you would consider as possible cabinet members and/or emphasize who your prominent advisors are such as Sam Nunn (although his name won't mean as much to the younger voters). (7) Americans are big on reality TV, so invite us to go with you on a typical (a) day in the office, (b) on the campaign trail,
    (c) a family outing or (d) dinner time with your family.

    June 9, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  30. arlene lahera

    I have heard John Mc Cain call Barack Obama a "liar" because he reportedly misstates Mc Cain's actual position on Iraq.

    Yet John Mc Cain straight faced, flat out insisted his recent Memorial Day Picnic guest list had nothing to do with his quest for a VP.
    Nobody believed him.
    I wondered why it was so objectionable for Mc Cain or his campaign to be honest and simply admit that he was considering many of those people as possible running mates.
    And since when is it considered clever or cute to flat out lie to the American Public?
    And how can news agancies fall into the trap and accept that explanation without calling him out to be truthful?

    Mc Cain prefered to play coy and lie through his teeth.
    He was good at it too.

    Hope you bring this up if Mc Cain chooses to call Obama a liar again.

    June 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  31. Jason

    June 9th, 2008 7:04 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Easy Fix For High Fuel Prices!
    Drive less.
    This is supply and demand. Simple economics. We demand more fuel than we have supply. We can't get our own oil out of the ground fast enough to proccess the gasoline used by "US". We produce about a million barrels of oil a day and we use two million. We are heading for a depression like we've never even heard of before. We will have money, we just won't have fuel or food to buy. Listen to the news. The USA dollar has no value. This is directly reflected in the rising cost of living and fuel. Fuel prices affect everything in our society. If our dollar can't buy us fuel, it can't buy us anything. If every one would pick 1 day a week to stay home and not drive and plan outings more efficiently we could easily lower the price of gasoline by a dollar or two per gallon. Gas prices will stay high as long as we are willing to pay. When we say no by staying at home a little more the gas prices will fall. Remember two things. We control our own destiny and a little time at home with the family on a Sunday afternoon never hurt anyone.

    June 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm |
  32. Joyce-Houston

    Only time will tell who will be the next President of the United States!!!

    June 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  33. James

    Hey Honey i'm on TV. Oh John stop you act like you are 60 years old.

    June 9, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  34. Cindy

    John,
    Yeah...seems to me that they are feeling out each other so to speak to see where the others weakness is and where they can get some voters from the other. I think Obama may have it a bit harder than McCain though. He is way too liberal for some people. And he needs to do way more to get the middle class to believe he cares about them.

    I hope to see you tonight subbing seeing as though Anderson is in Rwanda and probably won't do the whole show tonight. Oh and CONGRATS on your wedding!

    Cindy...Ga.

    June 9, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  35. Larry

    George Bush wasn't running against an african-american who is a legendary figure in the civil rights movement.

    June 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  36. Missy

    John, we have missed you these past weeks. Great to have you back. Will you be subbing for Anderson tonight from the studio while he is in Rwanda?

    June 9, 2008 at 6:31 pm |