The president expanded Democrats' electoral map in 2008, but this time around he could struggle to reclaim the states that helped him win
President Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008, but with a struggling economy, his campaign is focused on defending the gains he made.
I interviewed 10 veteran Democratic and Republican strategists to get their sense of which states will be toughest for Obama to hang onto. Based on their feedback, here's the list of the five states that supported Obama in 2008 that are most likely to vote Republican:
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1. Indiana (11 electoral votes). That the president's advisers are privately downplaying their chances of recapturing the traditional GOP stronghold--and talking up, instead, his chances in other longer-shot states like Arizona and Georgia--is a clear sign the Hoosier State is looking out of reach. Democrats took it on the chin during the midterms, losing a Senate seat and two of the state's nine House seats. The recession has hit Indiana particularly hard: Unemployment hovers near 10 percent.
2. North Carolina (15 electoral votes). Obama traveled to Durham this week to make his case for reelection--the latest sign that the White House views the Tar Heel State as squarely in play for 2012. It fits to a tee the profile of the states Obama is targeting--diverse, well-educated, with a growing proportion of its population in cities and suburbs. The Democratic convention is being held in Charlotte, which should excite the home-state base.