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Analyst: MN enters 2012 presidential campaign in ‘lean Dem’ category

WASHINGTON — Regardless of who runs on the Republican side, Minnesota begins the 2012 presidential campaign as a state leaning toward Democrats, a national analyst says.

In Governing Magazine’s opening state-by-state analysis of the 2012 election, 169 electoral votes are considered safe for the Republicans and 149 are safe for Democrats. A candidate must secure 270 electoral votes to win. The analysis assumes President Obama running for reelection, and a general Republican candidate (with the obvious caveat that the eventual GOP candidate may be stronger or weaker nationally or in various states).

If all states likely or leaning one way go that way, the GOP would hold a slim 219 to 215 advantage, with 10 states holding 104 electoral votes as true toss-ups. Barack Obama won all ten of those states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin and one of Maine’s four electoral votes (In Maine and Nebraska, two EVs go to the statewide winner, and one each to the winner of each congressional district).

Of Minnesota, with its 10 electoral votes, analyst Louis Jacobson writes:

Minnesota has a famously Democratic voting record in presidential races, even voting against Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1984 (when favorite son Walter Mondale was running against him). Republicans can win here — the GOP did take over both chambers of the Legislature in 2010 — but any Republican, even former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, would face an uphill battle given historical voting patterns. Exercising caution, we’ll call Minnesota lean Democratic, even though we have a feeling it will end up in the likely Democratic category by Election Day.

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