Battleground states: the US State Department view

The U.S. State Department has a web page showing the battleground states. The information is almost identical to the BBC's own information pages.

In a very bi-partisan mood, ten states are listed, five that voted for each Party in 2000. As a simplified guide goes it is not useless: on election night, checking out those states could be enough to tell who's winning. Yet the parties themselves are spending considerable sums of money campaigning in states not listed on these sites.

If I had to produce a list of 10 ten states to watch I would not have picked the ones the State Department has done. For starters I do not see how Minnesota is less of a target for Republicans than Pennsylvania. As for the Democrats, I am puzzled if they do not make a fight of it in Nevada and Tennessee. History suggests that the Democrats should be able to challenge in Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky and Louisiana.

Perhaps the most amusing omission is Maine. This Democrat state has been the target of Republican campaigning, but the electoral system in that state is so complicated, that I have sneaky feeling that neither the U.S. State Department, nor the BBC, cared to include Maine and have to fit the explanation in a small text box.

UPDATE: Someone must be reading this blog! The site now lists 17 battleground states, including Minnesota and Nevada. Tennessee, along with Arkansas and Louisiana have been abandoned by the Democrats for presidential election purposes, which speaks volumes for their election prospects.

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