To help out with the Electoral College calculations, CBSNews.com unveils its Ways to Win interactive map. Assign a winner to each state and build a path to 270 for either John McCain. Start out with our swing state scenario which awards "safe" states and leaves the rest up for grabs, work off of the results from 2004 or start from scratch with a blank map.
In the swing state scenario, CBS News has identified 15 states with 177 Electoral Votes up for grabs, based on states decided by 5 points or less in 2004 or where both campaigns are dedicating serious resources. This list will grow or shrink based on the outlook over the next two-plus months but setting out, it includes: Colorado (9 Electoral Votes), Florida (27), Indiana (11), Iowa (7), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10), Missouri (11), Nevada (5), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (20), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (21), Virginia (13) and Wisconsin (10).
Both candidates have clearly signaled that they have big targets in mind. McCain has made a big push in Michigan, would love to put Pennsylvania really into play despite its trend toward Democrats and Minnesota was picked as the site to the GOP convention for this very reason. Likewise, Obama isn't about to write off Florida or Ohio, the states which have decided the last two presidential elections. And he's making a play for suddenly up-for-grabs Virginia and his neighboring state of Indiana.
But it could be smaller states that may well end up playing the decisive role. You can switch around a lot of states to gain different results, but consider this: If Obama were to win Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico (all Bush states in 2004) and McCain were to take New Hampshire (a Kerry state) and everything else remained the same from four years ago, the Electoral College total would end up in a tie, 269 to 269.
That's just a sample of the different combinations. Click around and find your own path to 270 for each candidate, see profiles of the swing states and get the latest news for the major battleground with our Ways to Win map.
Around The Track