Sweet Seventeen

By Sean Reagan

While not backing off its 50-state strategy, the Obama campaign is prepping for a 17 state focus – key battlegrounds where they’ll be directing the bulk of their resources.

The seventeen states are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Obviously a lot of these are swing states – Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania. A couple – Georgia and North Carolina – are eye-openers, but as I noted earlier, forcing the Republicans to spend time and money in places they don’t want or didn’t expect to, is a net gain for Democrats.

I might’ve added a couple states – Montana and Maine most notably – but on whole it’s a sound list.

The other point to be made is that many of the states have a significant rural constituency. In terms of population, New Hampshire and North Carolina are ranked 11th and 12th respectively. Wisconsin and Missouri are 20 and 21.

Altogether, ten of the seventeen are ranked above the U.S. average of 21% rural population.

If Obama plans to win in these states, then he’s going to have to win the urban areas (at which he excels) but also pick up votes in the hinterlands. He’s already indicated that he knows this. Going forward, the fight for rural votes may be one of the most exciting stories of this election.

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7 Responses to “Sweet Seventeen”

  1. This and the preceding posts are important.  One of the big issues facing Obama is the “elitist” tag, and nowhere is that more of a problem than in rural areas and some of the states mentioned in this post.  Personally, as I mentioned in a discussion over at FieldHands, I would like him to show up in Kansas and dispute the whole concept of the book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas.”

    BTW, according to fivethirtyeight, an internal poll for a Senate candidate in NC showed McCain only up by two.  As pointed out, it is a poll to be somewhat skeptical about, but it shows that something may be able to happen there.

  2. I’m a little surprised not to see Minnesota on the list, as Tim Pawlenty has been mentioned so frequently as a potential McCain running mate. I would also like to see them focus a bit on Nebraska, where he’s polling well, and — no joke — Texas, where demographics have changed a bit and some organization could have real effects for downballot Dems.

  3. I would have hoped for a few folks to be sent to Montana and Alaska, both of which carry more electoral vote punch for their population than most states out there, and both are within reach with significant organizing, because the Republicans aren’t prepared to have to defend either.

  4. From the polling I’ve seen, GA is only in play if Barr sucks votes from McCain. ME is pretty safe, but so are OR and WA.
     
    I thought he had a shot at AK, MT, ND and 1 district in NE. And some polls suggest CT could be vulnerable to McCain.
    Between your ‘expecteds’ and mine, that’s 23 states. Add SC as a lonshot and that’s the range I thought he might stretch McCain thin in.

  5. hello_world, MN is actually a pretty safe state.  And I don’t think there is any question, considering that Obama gave his ictory speech there, that there will be some efforts there.

    BR, keep in mind that there is staff on the groung in both MT and AK.  The fact that a state is not on the list doesn’t mean it is being ignored.  These states are where the big money is going to be spent, and I think for two reasons.

    One is that they either feel they can win each and every one of these states or else cause the McCain campaign to spend more money than they want to in some.  The second is that most of these are big EV states.  There are a couple exceptions, but those are majorpsychological victory states, i.e. NH, IA and NV.

  6. I am surprised that WA is on the list.  I live in the conservative central part of the state and Obama has a lot of support here.  I can’t see WA going red.

  7. If Washington State is on that list it’s because we raise so much money for Obama, and when he comes here we pony up!

    http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/finances/map/index.html 

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