The South used to be heavily Democratic but since the civil rights movement, it has trended Republican. Now most political analysts say the Demcrats cannot win the general without winning the South. That is not true but the Democrats will have a tough time winning without the South. It seems that since 1968, the only Democrats to win states in the South are southern Democrats. They are able to win states in the South by attracting enough whites to their side to make thier large majority among African Americans give them the state. This time, it might be different. Virginia will be probably be a competitive state and Arkansas will if Hillary is on the ballot. Now we will say what might happen if Obama gets the nomination.
Obama will probably try to win the South in a different way. He will try to generate a massive African American turnout. Another big factor here is that many evangelicals do not like McCain. Some of them might be racist so they will not vote for Obama. Many might stay home which means turnout for McCain drops below 2004 turnout for Bush in the South and it rises for Obama in the south above the 2004 turnout for Kerry in the South. We believe that the state in the South, Obama has the strongest chance of winning is Virginia. That state is experiencing a Democratic trend. Democrats hold the governership, one house in the state legislature and one Senate seat. They will likely hold the other one now that Mark Warner is running for it. Northern Viriginia is trending Democratic quickly, Tim Kaine and Jim Webb could not have won without it. Also, Virginia's population is 19% African American. They will probably turn out in large numbers and Northern Virginia will go strongly for Obama. It will be much easier to win Virginia with Jim Webb on the ticket (see VP picks for Barack Obama.)
Virginia is not the only state Obama has a strong chance of winning. Mississippi and South Carolina are states that both have large percentages of African Americans. South Carolina has 29%, Mississippi has 36%. These two states also have large numbers of evangelicals. If many of them do not vote but the African Americans do, Obama could win those two states. Georgia holds the same possibility.
Not only will the massive African American turnout help Obama, it will help Democrats in downballot races. It will help Mary Landrieu, the Democratic Senator from Louisiana. It will help Democrats retain Bud Cramer's open seat in Alabama. It will help in other downballot races as well.
Even if Obama loses New Jersey and a few other states in the Northeast, he might be able to win a few marginal states in the west, Ohio and win with a few victories in the South. If you have any thoughts on this post, feel free to comment it.