I’d put money that the map they’re looking at in the White House isn’t any different from this one.
Why does it look like this? Not from the polls, believe it or not. Longtime readers know I don’t put much stock in those this far out, and don’t much discuss them before the summer of the election year. I barely look at them.
Instead, fives rules of thumb, according to Stephen Green:
1. President Obama will not win any states he didn’t win in 2008.
2. North Carolina and Indiana are gone for the Democrats. Indiana was a fluke — due to proximity to Illinois, lack of enthusiasm for McCain, and the economic panic. North Carolina was won by a scant 14,000 votes against a demoralized GOP. Both states will go red this time around.
3. Virginia is traditionally GOP-friendly, but has been trending purple. Also, there’s been a huge influx of money and power and more money into the Northern VA ‘burbs around DC. That helps the state’s economy (at the expense of the rest of the nation), and makes Virginia a tough state for the GOP to pick off of Obama’s 2008 column.
4. Obama put together an amazing ground game in the Mountain West last time around, and intends to rally Latino voters to do it again. The region should be all-red, given the state of the economy and Obama’s negatives — but a billion dollars can buy a lot of ground game.
5. There’s a wave of disgust and despair in the industrial Great Lakes and Midwest. I believe this wave hurts both parties, making the region the battleground for 2012.
Who wins? Hell if I know. But I’m certain I’ve picked the right battleground states.