If Barack Obama’s election strategy includes trying to flip some decidedly red states – as detailed in this New York Times story today -- he won’t get far enough to make a crucial difference, says electoral expert Stuart Rothenberg. The nut graf: “There will be changes, but don't expect the 2008 presidential map to look wildly different from those of 2000 and 2004.” But the 2008 map wouldn’t have to look wildly different to put Obama in the White House. In 2004 George Bush won four states by a percentage margin of about 2 percent or less –
Possible wild card: If Obama selects Sen. James Webb as his running mate, that could put Virginia 13 Electoral College votes in play. While Virginia has been reliably Republican in presidential elections since Nixon, shifting demographics (more suburbs, less rural) are mostly helping Democrats. They own the governership and, former Democratic governor Mark Warner is heavily favored to capture the Senate seat being given up by retiring Republican John W. Warner.