Charles Mahtesian has a list of 25 Counties to Watch Tonight on Politico. Among them, our own Hillsborough County, Florida:
In presidential elections, not all counties are created equal.
Generally, the counties that matter most are located in closely contested states, where they play a key role in determining the winner. Thus the most populous county in the U.S. — Los Angeles County, located in safely Democratic California — isn’t nearly as important in determining this election as the 95th largest county — Albuquerque’s Bernalillo County, the gateway to winning the swing state of New Mexico.
Of the 2,530 counties that George W. Bush carried in 2004, or the 583 that John Kerry won, just a few dozen stood out for reasons of competitiveness, population size or for what insights their voting habits revealed.
With that calculus in mind, here are 25 critical counties that could help determine the winner of this year’s race.
20) Hillsborough County, Fla.: Both campaigns have given lots of love to Tampa’s Hillsborough County — McCain was there just yesterday — which Bush carried 53 percent to 46 percent in 2004. In presidential elections, it has a slight Republican lean but Obama is outperforming Kerry here this year in what is one of Florida’s premier battlegrounds. Since 1960, no candidate has won Florida without winning Hillsborough County.
It will be interesting. I previously predicted that Obama would win the county.