Monday, September 08, 2008

NBC Moves Missouri To McCain's Column

The NBC News Political Unit has moved Missouri to John McCain's column in its ever-evolving electoral battleground map for the 2008 presidential race.

NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd made the switch on Monday's edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

"We've moved Missouri to McCain," Todd said. "That's a Governor Palin reaction, pure and simple. They were there today. She excites Evangelicals. There's a strong presence there in Missouri," he said.

"Plus, she'll do well with economic populists, women who are economic populists but culturally conservative, that's going to help there," Todd added.

"I always thought Missouri was tilting slightly Republican," said Stu Rothenberg, asked to comment on Todd's map.

After a few other shifts, NBC's new electoral projection is Obama 228, McCain 200. That leaves 110 battleground electoral votes. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency.

Todd has moved Pennsylvania to the Obama category and said the math still favors the Democratic candidate. That's because McCain is only seriously contesting two "blue states," according to Todd, those being Michigan and Wisconsin. "He's given up on Minnesota, they won't claim that they have. Pennsylvania is looking tougher and tougher," Todd said of McCain.

If Todd pushes the remaining "leaner" states to one side or the other, it's Obama 260, McCain 232. That leaves the four toughest to call toss-ups.

In the end, Todd and Rothenberg agree that election 2008 will come down to these four states: Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire. "Those are the four toss-up states. You tell me where those go and I'll tell you who's the next president," said Rothenberg.

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