Stephanopoulos: Electoral Battleground Leans Obama

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 6, 2008 7:02pm

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a clear lead in every state Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., won in 2004, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,  New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Republicans and Democrats would both say Obama is likely to win Iowa and New Mexico — states won by President George W. Bush in 2004 — bringing Obama’s total electoral votes to about 264 of the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the White House.

That leaves eight states as competitive toss-up states, including Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia.

In every one of those states, polls show Obama is either ahead or within the margin of error.

Obama just needs to take one of those states on election day to win.

Boding well for him, Obama is now leading Republican presidential candidate John McCain in Ohio 51 -45 percent among likely voters, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Ohio has 20 electoral votes up for grabs.

The poll is bad news for McCain: no Republican presidential candidate has won the White House without winning the Buckeye State.

The nation’s financial crisis and the economic downturn is boosting Obama’s chances in Ohio and nationally.

Ohio voters trust Obama over McCain 52-39 to handles the economy, and by similar margins to create jobs and handles taxes.

Obama is seen as having a better understanding of the economic problems facing Ohio voters than McCain 53 – 35 percent.

While Obama struggled to win the support of blue-collar workers that supported Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY., during the primary, he now holds a 10-percentage point lead over McCain among working-class whites in Ohio.

However it’s not a done deal yet. Undecided voters make up about 18 percent of likely voters in Ohio, a figure that hews closely to national polls.

McCain’s campaign is growing increasingly negative, launching personal attacks against Obama in an attempt to erode some of his support with the election only 29 days away.

But McCain can’t win a state by state war of attrition. He has to fundamentally change the nature of the race, put the focus on Obama, and get people asking questions about his Democratic rival.

The Arizona senator has only two debates left to change the minds of voters.

We can expect to see McCain try to go on the attack during tomorrow night’s town hall-style debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

However it’s tough to go too negative in a town hall format because the questioners can backlash if the candidates are not talking about the issues that they ask about, which are generally about issues that matter more in their lives. 

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