In an election year, location is everything. If your state is hopelessly in the corner of one or the other major party presidential candidate, neither are going to spend any significant cash there, and you’ll be hoping for some hot congressional races to earn a piece of the political pie. The good news – almost half of the states may be in play this year. The Associated Press has handicapped the situation as the general election begins.
First, what isn’t in play according to AP: John McCain (R-AZ) is considered a safe bet in AL, AK, AZ, AR, ID, IN, KS, KY, NE, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV & WY. Barack Obama (D-IL) supposedly can count on CT, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NY, RI & VT.
AP thinks sees a number of what it calls wildcard states that were fairly solid one way of the other in 2004 but may be in play now. They include CA, DE, GA, LA, ME, MS, MT, NJ, NC & WA.
Finally, the list you’ve been waiting for, the states that are a have a virtual lock on battleground status: CO, FL, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, OH, OR, PA, VA & WI.
RBR/TVBR observation: This is a very early peek into the future, and the complexion of the campaign can change rapidly. In particular, states with hot congressional races could draw voters in such a way as to affect the presidential race. So while we might pencil this list in, we don’t think it’s ready to be etched in stone just yet.