The Real Math
Marc Ambinder offers an Obama/McCain Election Map:
McCain's base states + his leaners: 245 electoral votes.
Obama's base states + his leaners: 221 electoral votes.
Texas (34), West Virginia (5), Georgia (15), South Carolina (8), Kentucky (8), Tennessee (11), Alabama (9), Mississippi (6), Louisiana (9), Arkansas (6), Wyoming (3), Idaho (4), Utah (5), Arizona (10), Alaska (3), Oklahoma (7), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (3), North Carolina (15)
Tilting McCain, he sees Virginia as a possible toss-up, thanks to Mark Warner's popularity. I'd love to be wrong, but the polls I've seen have McCain with a solid lead over Obama, and I think Virginia will prove a false toss-up, as New Jersey and Hawaii proved for Bush over Gore. Ambinder also leans Florida as tilting McCain, but I think it's more solid. Same with Indiana. I do think Obama could win Missouri and Nevada, although the polls show a tough fight for Obama in the former, while McCain has the obvious neighbor's advantage in Nevada (the same factor helps Obama in Indiana, but that's a pretty solidly red state).
The toss-ups are Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, New Mexico, and Colorado. I think those are all fairly listed, although I think Obama has particularly strong chances in Wisconsin and Iowa, while he'll be particularly vulnerable in Pennsylvania and Ohio- which is the key to his electability problems. I agree that New Mexico and Colorado could go either way.
Washington, D.C. (3), Maryland (10), California (55), New York (31), Vermont (3), Massachusetts (12), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Rhode Island (4), Illinois (21), Hawaii (4), New Jersey (15), Maine (4)
Probably right, although some polls have shown Obama could be vulnerable in Masachusetts, of all places!
Tilting Obama are New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon. As Ambinder points out, New Hampshire is trending blue, but McCain's maverick schtick could work there. Michigan could give Obama problems similar to those in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Ambinder thinks the convention will give McCain a boost in Minnesota, and adding Pawlenty to the ticket would make for an added boost, but I disagree with the former and doubt the latter will happen. For McCain to win Minnesota would strike me as a pretty big upset. And even though some polls have shown McCain to be competitive in Oregon, I don't see him winning. Maybe it's faith in my home state.
But once again, I think people need to realize that this is going to be a very tough race. On the surface, it would seem that any Democrat should be able to win, this year, but McCain is a corporate media darling, and a variety of factors put a variety of states into play. From previous Clinton/McCain maps, it seems that Clinton puts fewer states in play. She is vulnerable in fewer states, but she also has upset possibilities in fewer states. Obama has a wider playing field, but that cuts both ways.
The key for Obama still comes down to the swath of states from Pennsylvania through Michigan and Ohio to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri. Some think he will turn enough western states blue to be able to overcome some losses in some of those larger states. I don't. He's not, as some would have it, unelectable; but he's also not, as some would have it, a clear favorite. I cannot say this often enough: this is going to be a long, hard, and often vicious campaign. Be prepared.