One interesting fact about 2012 may be that demographic shifts — the aging of the rust belt, the Latinifaction of the west and so on — will change the nature of the “swing states”; that is, North Carolina and Colorado may be more more in play for Obama than, say, Ohio is (though wildly unpopular midwestern governors may change all of that). A PPP memo speculates:
“Obama’s approval numbers in North Carolina are superior to what we’re finding for him in your quintessential swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. While North Carolina was one of the closest states in the country in 2008, it was really just the cherry on top for Obama in an electoral landslide. This time it could very well be part of the path to 270 electoral votes for the President.”
Personally, I look forward to a day when a Democrat can win the presidency without winning a single part of the country that the pundits think of as Real Murka, which rules out much of the midwest (Illinois gets a pass because of Chicago). I want to see the electoral results blamed entirely on blacks and Research Triangle weirdos, hippies and Mexicans, and so on.