Western states seen as imporant battleground in 2008

Many western states leaned Republican in 2004 but just by a hair. As a result, both the Obama and McCain campaigns are seeing them as important swing states for 2008. Obama has set out to tip the scales toward voting Democrat in 2008 while McCain is trying to retain the GOP advantage.

The story from AOL News:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama set his sights on the West on Tuesday, saying he will fight for states there that narrowly voted Republican in the last presidential election four years ago.

Obama, the Democratic front-runner, and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain were trading barbs as they began crisscrossing three western states that are likely to be pivotal battlegrounds in the November general election: New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. President George W. Bush also was traveling west to raise funds for McCain and the Republican Party.

Obama is just 49 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to win the Democratic nomination. Clinton is trailing and has almost no chances of getting the nomination.

On Tuesday, Obama was heading to Nevada for campaign events in the Las Vegas area, where he was expected to focus on economic issues. In April, Nevada posted the worst foreclosure rate in the U.S., with one in every 146 households receiving a foreclosure-related notice, nearly four times the national rate.

McCain was scheduled to speak in Denver on Tuesday before heading the following day for a town hall meeting in Reno, Nevada. Obama was heading to Colorado later in the week.

Bush on Tuesday was setting out on a three-day western trip that will include one closed fundraiser with McCain in Phoenix and two in Utah. McCain and Bush are to appear together only briefly in public for a photo at the Phoenix airport.

The event marks the first time Bush, whose popularity has sagged to record lows, will appear with McCain since he endorsed him at the White House nearly three months ago.

Obama was signaling, even before the Democratic primary campaign formally wraps up, that he will campaign hard for those western states that the Democrats narrowly lost in the race between Bush and Democrat John Kerry in 2004.

Obama has a real shot here considering how well he’s done.

The Obama/Clinton primary map:

Notice Obama has done well in many western states.

Compare to the 2004 Bush/Kerry map:

You’ve got Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado that could be up as swing states from 2004 considering McCain’s lack of appeal to conservatives. Well, Utah is pretty much a Republican lock but the others, especially Colorado, could be chances for Obama to score.