Chris Cillizza in the WaPo highlighted a new poll out today on party identification by state which contains not a grain of good news - for the Republican party
That's the number of states that are either solidly or leaning Democratic in a series of Gallup tracking polls conducted over the first six months of 2009. Only eight states are solidly or leaning Republicans in that same data.
The numbers, which are based on party identification of adults in national tracking polls, paint a stark portrait of the challenge facing Republicans not just in the 2010 midterm election but also in the 2012 presidential race.
The Republicans currently have an edge in just 5 states, Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. Since the last Gallup poll in 2008 measuring voter ID by state, 9 states have changed classification from one category to another. Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, South Dakota and Nebraska moved from the Republican category to the Democrat, Colorado, Nevada and Alabama moved toward the Republicans.
To put this in starker terms. Add up all the states which strongly identify as Republican and you have a total of 15 electoral votes. Do the same for the Democrats and you have a total of 350 electoral votes. Not a typo - 15 electoral votes for the Republicans and 350 for the Dems.
Declining poll numbers are transitory but voter ID tends to be more static. This poll is a stark reminder of the problems Republicans face in moving from their status as a regionally-based party into one with national appeal. Remember this when you hear the pundits breathlessly predicting a "Republican comeback." It's going to be hard to stage a comeback when you've only got a majority of voters in five states.