So, what does the battleground for the coming 2012 presidential election look like? Well, those national tracking polls you've been hearing about won't tell you. All they do tell you is what a national sample of registered (or maybe "likely") voters said on any given day. And of course the samples for those polls (and even the questions) get "gamed" by the media who sponsor them.
But the simple fact is that we don't elect a President "nationally". In effect, we hold 50 different state-by-state elections, with each state being allotted a set number of "electoral votes" based on state population. And you can pretty much bet the farm on "how" about thirty-five or forty of the states will vote in November...which leaves you with the "swing states".
The map below reflects the most likely swing states, based on polling over the past year. They are: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. Of course that list could (and will) expand or contract over the coming months, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the lay of the land.