You know that the battle for the White House is getting tight when the folks at The New Yorker have a handle on electoral strategy. If Florida goes to the eventual GOP presidential nominee, Ohio will likely decide the 2012 election. Something tells me that Team Obama will put forth an all-out-effort to win Ohio. Ryan Lizza has more:
What you’re left with, in order of electoral-vote value, are these eight crucial 2012 swing states: Florida (29), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), Iowa (6), and New Mexico (5).
To vastly simplify, the so-called Ohio strategy would see Obama relying on the more traditional Democratic coalition, with a large share of white working-class voters at its heart. The benefit of this strategy is that, demographically, Ohio is a microcosm of the United States, so any message pitched to its voters should resonate nationally, as well.
The Colorado model would emphasize minorities, young voters, and the highly educated, the coalition Democrats have relied upon in that state for the party’s recent string of victories there, including Senator Michael Bennet’s 2010 reelection. (For a detailed discussion of the state’s politics, see my 2008 piece on how Colorado offers a glimpse of the future for the Democratic Party.)
This western states strategy would have Obama placing a great deal of emphasis on Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. And in this scenario, Obama could still win reelection if he loses the four big swing states (Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia) but holds onto the four small ones (Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Mexico).
At some point next year, when the electoral vote battle comes into sharper focus, this choice between the West and the Midwest may be the defining strategic moment for the Obama campaign.