Category Archives: Indiana

Obama’s Anti-Kerry Strategy = Genius

In an interview with Politico‘s Ben Smith published this morning, Obama field director Steve Hildebrand vowed that their team would be spending a lot of time and money in Bush country this Fall. He named 14 red states, some of which were close in 2004 and some of which Kerry didn’t even consider, and he also vowed to give resources to down-ticket races in ruby red states like Bush’s Texas and Cheney‘s Wyoming.

The move is genius.

A big reason why Kerry lost is because he had tunnel vision and couldn’t see beyond a handful of competitive swing states in the Midwest, a failed strategy for several reasons: First, it oversaturates the target voters; secondly, it discourages friendly voters in unfriendly states (in this case Dems in red states) from getting involved; and thirdly and most importantly, it sends a very poor signal to the electorate in neglected states (in Kerry’s case the Heartland and South).

When a candidate puts all his chips on one hand, half of the time he’s going to end up felted.

Of course, resources are always an issue and something Kerry didn’t have in abundance. But as Smith notes in the Politico article, “Hilebrand’s plans underscore the unusual scope and ambition of Obama’s campaign, which can relatively cheaply extend its massive volunteer and technological resources into states which won’t necessarily produce electoral votes.”

And the ROI could be substantial. As Hokie fan Daivd “Mudcat” Saunders points out this week in the brilliant Weekly Standard cover piece “When Bubba Meets Obama,” when Dems pick off a Republican voter, it’s a “twofer” — one for Obama, and one less for McCain. Instead, Mudcat says, Dems often fall into the habit of “hunting squirrels they’ve already killed” (more on this story later).

Mudcat will probably be happy to know that the campaign has promised to contest 14 states that Bush carried in ’04 — “The closest four, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, [Hildebrand] said, would see ‘a ton of attention.'” The campaign also plans to fight for Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Alaska. Hildebrand also said they’d be spending a lot of time in New Hampshire, and in my personal favorite: Nebraska’s 2nd District.

I think it’s a smart move, and one that will certainly give The Electoral Map a lot to talk about in upcoming months.


Indiana Electoral Map

The results out of South Bend tell it all: Barack Obama‘s success in urban counties and with young voters cut into Hillary Clinton‘s success in blue collar, working-class areas.

St. Joseph’s County, which is where South Bend and North Dame are located, was such an interesting county to watch because it has strong traditions of both ethic, working-class Catholics, who have been favoring Clinton, and young, more liberal college students, who have been choosing Obama.  Obama ended up winning this crucial battleground with 53%, which explains in part why he was able to hold Clinton to only 51% statewide.

Elsewhere in Indian, Clinton showed dominance in the southern parts on the state, racking up huge margins along the Ohio River Valley, just like she had done in the Buckeye State.  Obama ran very strong in Indianapolis and  Lake County, which borders on Chicago.

Indiana Electoral Map (New York Times)

Indiana Electoral Map

Shades of Hoosier Red

Indiana has always been known to be Hoosier red.  But Indiana politics guru Brian Howey explains that “There appears to be two kinds of Republicans” in 2008:

“The ‘Obamacans’ as the Illinois senator likes to call them – earnest Republicans deeply disappointed in their own party’s performance on the budget, economy, social issues and the Iraq War – and the Rush Limbaugh Republicans who are planning to crossover to vote for Sen. Clinton because they perceive her to be the weakest rival to U.S. Sen. John McCain in the November election.”

Hillary’s Last Dance?

A day after we declared that all eyes were it on North Carolina, it looks like everyone is turning their gaze to Indiana, which hosts its Democratic primary on the same day as the Tarheel State.

The Hotline suggests, “Forget Pennsylvania. Welcome to Indiana, the new North Carolina.” Sandwiched between Illinois (Obama) and Ohio (Clinton), “it’s the Switzerland of Dem primaries,” they declared.

The Post‘s Anne Kornblut also spotlighted the Hoosier State today as a contest in which both candidates have an even chance. “Obama has a home-field advantage,” Kornbult wrote, “while Clinton has the backing of the popular Sen. Evan Bayh and may have an edge on the kind of economic issues that are likely to dominate the discussion.”

Kornblut gives Clinton the advantage in factory towns like Evansville in southern Indiana and in the suburbs surrounding Indianapolis. She predicts that Obama will do well in the college towns of South Bend (Notre Dame), Bloomington (Indiana U.) and West Layfayette (Purdue), as well as in the African-American communities “that spill over from Chicago” and in Indianapolis.

The Electoral Map Daily Compass: Who Would Bob Casey Vote For?

In today’s must-read, Matt Bai tackles the perplexing question of why “Obama wins in major urban areas but can’t seem to win in urbanized states, while Clinton wins in rural communities but consistently loses in rural states.”

In other electoral map news:

Who Can Unlock the Keystone?

General Landscape

  • The case for eliminating caucuses from the presidential nominating process. [Politico]
  • House Republicans have few pick-off opportunities. [CQ Politics]
  • Dan Balz‘ take on the critical white male vote. [Washington Post]

Maps and More Maps

  • Historical map of the day: Cotton growth by county during Reconstruction [National Geographic]
  • Google Maps’ interactive state-by-state electoral map. [Google Maps]

The Google Map Application [Google Maps]

Google Map Application

Indiana is a Red State, Right?

Indiana has been as red as the Hoosiers’ jerseys for 40 years, but a new Indianapolis Star poll suggests the state might be “thinking blue.”

Disillusioned with President Bush‘s handling of the war, the economy and immigration, nearly half of likely voters in Indiana appear poised to buck 40 years of tradition and vote for a Democratic presidential ticket — if it includes Sen. Evan Bayh, according to a new Indianapolis Star-WTHR (Channel 13) poll.

The poll of 600 Hoosiers — including 449 who say they will definitely vote in the November 2008 election — revealed a growing sense of pessimism, with nearly three-quarters saying the nation is headed in the wrong direction and 28 percent approving of George W. Bush‘s performance as president.


Forty-seven percent said they anticipate voting for the Democratic presidential candidate if Bayh is on the ticket, compared with 33 percent who said they anticipate voting for the GOP candidate.


The presidential race becomes closer when Bayh is taken out of the equation, with the outcome hanging in the hands of the nearly one-third of voters who said they remain undecided. About half of them said their votes would depend on who the candidates are.

 Indiana has voted for the GOP presidential candidate  in all but three elections for the last 100 years.

 George W. Bush v. John Kerry in 2004 (

2004 Indiana Presidential


Evan Bayh v. Marvin Scott in 2004 (

2004 Indiana Senate