The south is reliably Republican, the west cost is reliably Democratic, the south west is pretty strong in favor of the GOP, and Democrats are highly likely to take the northeast – with the possible exception of New Hampshire. For a long time, the northern Midwest (also known as the Great Lakes Region) has been reliably Democratic, largely thanks to the heavy union presence. Now however, the region is trending rightward, and it could prove to be a goldmine for the GOP in 2008.
Of the eight states that touch the Great Lakes, two went for the GOP in 2004 (Ohio and Indiana), and one is more Northeast (and therefore, liberal) than Great Lakes (New York). The other five states all went to the Democrats (Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota), most by slim margins. Why is this important? Because, unlike the other regions where electoral votes are largely scattered, those five states have a massive, 79, electoral vote count. All are potential pickups in the general election. To give you an idea of how important this region will be, here are some quick facts:
- Winning Wisconsin and Michigan alone are enough to counterbalance a loss in Florida (I’m not saying that is likely).
- Winning Wisconsin and Pennsylvania is enough to counter the electoral votes Democrats usually win in New York.
- Winning Illinois and Pennsylvania is enough to counter a loss of Texas (which will not happen)
- Winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois is enough to counter the likely Democratic win in California.
- If the Republicans keep Ohio, Florida, and Texas, and win 2 or 3 of the Great Lakes States, that will be enough to call the election before polls close on the west cost.