Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A guide to battleground states

As results start pouring in tonight, a handful of states will tell you where this election is going. It takes 270 electoral votes to win. Here's what to watch (all times Eastern Standard).

Polls close at 7 p.m.

Virginia: Sen. John McCain spent precious last-minute time in Newport News, as sure a sign as any that his campaign believes polls that show Sen. Barack Obama leading. If this Republican redoubt flips from red to blue for the first time since 1964, it's a sign that McCain is in for a long night.

Georgia: Heavy turnout among African-Americans could put this rock-solid Republican state in play. McCain leads in polls, but it's still a tossup. If McCain wins, he's meeting expectations; if Obama wins, this election could be over early.

Indiana: McCain is scarcely ahead in a state that has a perfect GOP voting record since 1964. Obama made inroads as a favorite son of neighboring Illinois and a win here would be a startling turn against the GOP.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

Ohio: Along with Florida and Pennsylvania, it's one of three traditional battleground states. Polls show Obama leading, but McCain is running hard and Ohio is not quite as predisposed to Democrats as Pennsylvania.

Polls close at 8 p.m.

Florida: Most of the state's polls close at 7 p.m., but the Panhandle time zones are an hour later. It's quite simple: The electoral math doesn't work for McCain without having Florida in his column. If Obama manages to hold on to his lead in the polls (which has been slipping) and captures the state, McCain would have to score an unlikely set of upsets to recover.

Pennsylvania: This rich prize has tilted toward Democrats in recent elections and favors Obama strongly in the polls. McCain has not given up, though, and an upset win here could signal that McCain is drawing blue-collar voters who are important in other key states like Missouri.

Missouri: McCain is leading slightly in this swing state that has voted with the winner every time since 1964. It has been a historic bellwether, but the new map that has so many traditionally Republican states in play means a victory here may be less important than it has been.

Polls close at 8:30 p.m.

North Carolina: Polls show a tie, but implications of an Obama victory here would be significant. Like Virginia, this Southern state is one McCain was expected to win.

Polls close at 9 p.m.

Colorado: Democrats held their convention in Denver to capitalize on a trend that had been showing up in recent elections. Now Obama is favored to win the state that has gone with a Democrat only one other time since 1964. If so, it could be the first sign that the GOP hold on the West is cracking.

Montana: Not many votes here, but this state shares Colorado's history of choosing Republicans (except Bill Clinton in 1992). President Bush carried this state by huge margins both times.

Arizona: McCain leads in his home state but not by much. It's considered a tossup. If Obama snatches this one, McCain would be in a bad, bad spot in terms of electoral votes and embarrassed on top of it.

Polls close at 10 p.m.

Nevada: In the last battleground state before the solidly Democratic West Coast, Obama leads by an average of 6 points. This state has mostly been Republican, but it did support Clinton both times.

A guide to battleground states 11/03/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 4:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    Associated Press

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  3. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue …

    A local business rings in Pride 2017 with some window decorations.
  4.   Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.