A look at the most competitive states in the race
Virginia (13) — Long a GOP bastion, Obama carried Virginia in 2008 by turning out young and minority voters. This helps him in suburban northern Virginia but he struggles in the rural and conservative South and West. Romney is using Obama’s proposed cuts in military spending against this strong, defense contracting state. Virginia polls show a very close race.
Wisconsin (10) — Having led early on, Obama’s edge has been cut in public polling although Democrats express confidence they will hold the state their party has carried in presidential elections since 1988. Having Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, on the ticket helps, Republicans say, as does GOP intensity that helped Gov. Scott Walker beat a recall election in June. Obama and Romney are advertising heavily and visiting on the campaign’s final weekend.
LEANING REPUBLICAN (47):
North Carolina (15) — Polls have tightened in North Carolina, where Obama has kept his ads on the air despite gains by Republicans and voters’ resounding rejection of a referendum to allow same-sex marriage. Obama continues to advertise, albeit at levels less than Romney and GOP-leaning groups, while Romney has dispatched some North Carolina staff to other states and Obama was not campaigning there on the final weekend.
Arizona (11) — 2008 GOP nominee John McCain’s single-digit victory in his home state, and Hispanic and young voter boom, give Obama hope that Arizona is trending as other states in the Southwest. But it’s seen little action from Democrats so far.
Indiana (11) — Obama broke a 44-year GOP trend by winning Indiana in 2008, albeit by a single percentage point. Unemployment is high and the tea party is a new factor, both working against Obama. He’s not actively campaigning in the state.
Missouri (10) — Obama’s campaign discussed the option of campaigning in reliably Republican Missouri after GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments on abortion and rape. Though the issue hurt Akin’s chances, Obama’s team never moved in and the state favors Romney.
SOLIDLY REPUBLICAN (159): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.