Here's the first Atlantic Election Map of the cycle based on interviews, reportage, polling and guesswork. In this map, I've pushed as many as tossups as I can possibly justify: Virginia, and Nevada to McCain, and Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire to Obama; these five states, with their 56 electoral votes, are tossups masquerading as leaners, so for all intents and purposes, our map has eleven states and 128 electoral votes up for grabs. As polling and information warrant, watch for these states to move out of the lean column and into the tossup column.
McCain's base states + his leaners: 245 electoral votes.
Obama's base states + his leaners: 221 electoral votes.
McCain's base states -- 175 electoral votes.
Texas (34), West Virginia (5), Georgia (15), South Carolina (8), Kentucky (8), Tennessee (11), Alabama (9), Mississippi (6), Louisiana (9), Arkansas (6), Wyoming (3), Idaho (4), Utah (5), Arizona (10), Alaska (3), Oklahoma (7), Kansas (6), Nebraska (5), South Dakota (3), North Dakota (3), North Carolina (15)
Tilt McCain states -- 70 electoral votes.
Indiana (11) -- competitive House and GOV races; Obama's college force multiplier; state borders IL
Virginia (13) -- polling shows McCain with lead; McCain will over performing in Tidewater; Obama will overperform in NoVA. Probably will be tossup by the summer as Mark Warner's popularity will stoke Dem enthusiasm.
Missouri (11) -- lack of McCain enthusiasm in rural (Huckabee) areas; state borders IL; Obama overperformed among suburban whites and inner city African Americans in primary.
Montana (3) -- Schweitzer's army and state legislature trending Democratic; probably safe McCain by November.
Florida (27) -- McCain's very popular in South Florida and North Florida; whether Florida is competitive depends a lot on his appeal to Latinos and his overperforming with Jewish voters
Nevada (5) -- Unusual for Latino voters to be up for grabs, although state has more Dem energy than GOP energy (and plenty of infighting on both sides.)
Tossups: Pennsylvania (21), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (7), Ohio (20), New Mexico (5), Colorado (9) -- 72 electoral votes.
Obama's base states -- 172 electoral votes --
Washington, D.C. (3), Maryland (10), California (55), New York (31), Vermont (3), Massachusetts (12), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Rhode Island (4), Illinois (21), Hawaii (4), New Jersey (15), Maine (4)
Tilt Obama States -- 49 electoral votes
New Hampshire (4) -- everything trending Dem, including independents. If McCain's maverick image endures, NH becomes an easy tossup.
Michigan (17) -- An economically depressed Dem union state with an active GOP base and that primary problem;
Minnesota (10) -- If Pawlenty is McCain's veep the state is marginally more in play; the GOP gets the force multiplier of the convention. Else, the state would be safe Obama.
Washington (11) -- McCain campaign wants to contend here
Oregon (7) -- McCain campaign wants to contend here