I actually have the day off today, which is one of the reasons why I haven’t been writing much, and I was actually just browsing around when I went to go look at a couple more electoral maps just to see where things were.

First up is Nate Silver’s map:

Now, Nate’s map is one of the most generous maps to Obama I’ve seen, for instance I think Indiana and Missouri are both a little too toss-up-y to be considered Obama territory, even if it’s only in a lean capacity. Likewise, I’m not too terribly trusting in the idea that North Carolina is something that should be even in the slim leaning Obama category either. I tend to agree that Virginia is leaning Obama, though.

What really stuck out to me, though, were Montana and North Dakota. In the map above, they weren’t dark red, they were kind of pinkish, indicating movement in Obama’s direction. I had heard of an ND poll that actually had Obama up, but I dismissed it largely as an outlier. Then I headed over to pollster.

Now, the last time I looked at this map, McCain was at 158. Now he’s at 155, so immediately I went looking for what changed, and there, as plain as day, North Dakota was yellow. Now there are other things of interest on this map. Florida and Pennsylvania were both in the lean Obama column for some time, despite polls giving Obama considerable leads. But now they are in the strong Obama column, putting them further out of McCain’s reach. As you know, McCain can’t afford to lose, Florida, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, and of those three states, two of them are now in the strong Obama category.

What’s worse is that it’s beginning to look as though both Ohio and Virginia are on the cusp of getting pushed out of the yellow and into the lean Obama column.

But getting back to North Dakota, and Montana, and even Georgia, what we see going on here is some serious encroachment. Think about that for a second, the traditional battlegrounds, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, those battleground states that you would expect to be up for grounds, are virtually out of play. Michigan, and Wisconsin, are on the verge of being taken out of play, as are Colorado and New Mexico. Conceivably, this would encompass the entirety of the map that John McCain wished he could play on.

Instead, as election day gets closer, the battleground is getting shifted further and further into McCain’s territory; Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, even Georgia is slowly moving in the Democrat’s direction. And with Obama continuing to win the fundraising battle as well, Obama has the opportunity to spend enough money in the old battlegrounds to keep them safe, while at the same time he can spend money in enemy territory to force McCain to pour vital resources there.

In the end, what we are seeing is what those who watched Obama’s primary campaign should have expected to see. A methodical strategy of territory control. If you’ve ever played the game Risk, you might know what I’m talking about, especially if you’ve ever played one of those people that are freakishly good at it.

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