Barack Obama will not win a single southern state in the November election with perhaps the exception of Virginia (and even thats a stretch). The arguments that he can pull in southern states like Mississippi by pumping up the large African-American vote is garbage. Blacks already vote at a percentage much higher than their population percentage. That said, Barack Obama is sure to win states that haven't voted Democratic since 1996. I'm talking about Colorado and/or Nevada. Further, he will pull in New Mexico and Iowa, both states lost by Kerry in 2004. Yet, there are increasing signs that he will do well in Great Plains and interior Northwest (I include Alaska in this group). Today two polls came out from Montana and Alaska that show Obama within 5... yes, 5 points of Senator McCain. Keep in mind that the last time the state of Alaska voted for a Democrat was 1964. But, its also a state where the Republican machine is in a mess with Congressman at-large Don Young facing corruption charges as well as Senator Ted Stevenson. Both have served in office longer than I have been alive... and in Stevenson's case, longer than some Dartmouth students' parents have been alive. Yet both men are trailing in the polls. But it would be wise not get ahead of oneself. I have seen time and time again Alaska polls look good for the Democratic candidate only to see the Republican win (case and point Tony Knowles lost a Senate race against Lisa Murkowski by 3 points after leading in the polls by 5). The point i'm trying i'm make is that states in the west are in play for Obama.
There are certainly states that Kerry and Gore won that are in play for McCain. I'm talking beyond the swing states in the upper midwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota.. which actually look half decent for Obama). I'm talking about Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, New York (did I really just that), and even Massachusetts. These are all states that I have seen polling in the last month that have McCain either tied or leading the Senator from Illinois. And let me tell you if McCain ever wins the trifecta of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, it will be near-impossible for Obama ever to win (barring some form of a Virginia + some state like Montana). And the fact that we are even talking about New York... is well a major, major problem for Obama.
But in the end, I'm of the belief and have been on the record of saying that this election will come down to Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. McCain will hold serve in the south. Obama will probably hold serve in the north. He will also win Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Iowa (all states Kerry lost). The problem is he will probably lose one of the three tossups I listed. Making him win the other two.
Let the fun begin.