The Democrats lost each of the past two presidential elections to Republican George W. Bush by the difference of the electoral votes of one big state. This prompted the campaign team for Democratic nominee Barack Obama to build a game plan that would put into play more states that typically vote Republican. Though the “bounce” in polls enjoyed by Republican candidate John McCain following his nominating convention early this month briefly called this strategy into doubt, Obama’s recent resurgence to a lead in most national polls — and gains in many state polls — has revived his party’s hopes of winning in states lost by Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
CQ Politics, in fact, has changed its electoral vote ratings for three states — all longstanding Republican presidential strongholds — where Obama appears increasingly competitive. Virginia, which has 13 electoral votes, has been reclassified as No Clear Favorite, CQ Politics’ category for the most competitive races, after previously being rated Leans Republican. CQ Politics also changed the ratings of both Indiana, with 11 electoral votes, and North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, to Leans Republican, a category for highly competitive races that sweeps in states where McCain has a slight edge, from the less competitive Republican Favored category….