President’s Toughest Repeats in 2012

Remember back three years, if you will, and Indiana’s prominent role in the presidential election. First, there was the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton primary contest in early May that had the nation’s attention. Then, our early poll closing had many in November watching closely for the start of a trend (that did play out) when Obama defeated Republican opponent John McCain.

Obama actually won 365 electoral votes in 2008. It’s certainly too early to tell whether the president wins re-election. Far more certain is, barring a total GOP meltdown, that the 365 total will not be approached. In fact, the National Journal Daily consulted with veteran political strategists from both sides to determine the states "toughest for Obama to hang on to."

Indiana leads the way. Here are a few excerpts from that article:

1. Indiana (11 electoral votes). That the president’s advisers are privately downplaying their chances of recapturing the traditional GOP stronghold—and talking up, instead, his chances in other longer-shot states like Arizona and Georgia—is a clear sign the Hoosier State is looking out of reach.

2. North Carolina (15 electoral votes). The Democratic convention is being held in Charlotte, which should excite the home-state base. But underneath those encouraging indicators are telltale signs that recapturing North Carolina is easier said than done. Obama won the state by a razor-thin, 14,000-vote margin in 2008, thanks to record black and youth turnout. With unemployment at 9.7 percent and the recession disproportionately affecting those groups, it’s hard to foresee that same level of enthusiasm again.

3. Florida (29 electoral votes). The Sunshine State’s 10.7 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s fourth highest. Little has improved economically since the 2010 midterms, when Democrats lost the governor and Senate contests, and saw four Democratic House seats flip to the GOP. For a president who won Florida by just a three-point margin in 2008, that’s not a recipe for success.

4. Ohio (18 electoral votes). Talk to enough Democratic strategists who have worked in the Buckeye State and you’ll inevitably hear anxiety about the president’s standing here. Obama has visited Ohio more than any other battleground state since being elected, but it hasn’t made much of a difference in his poll numbers. Obama’s message that the economy has been turning a corner has been off key with a blue-collar electorate that hasn’t been feeling much of a recovery.

Nevada (6 electoral votes) is also on the list. Honorable mention: Other states that Obama will have to work hard to hang onto include: 6) Virginia (13 electoral votes) ; 7) Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes);   8) Colorado (9 electoral votes) ; 9) New Hampshire (4 electoral votes); 10) Iowa (6 electoral votes).