By Brian McKernan
On September 16 and 17, the Trump campaign started running ads from twelve state-specific pages, such as “Trump For Florida” and “Trump for Wisconsin.” These Facebook pages provide insight into what the Trump campaign considers their must-win states for re-election.
Many of these Facebook pages are devoted to what some analysts consider to be the critical battleground states in this election, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Based on The Cook Report’s latest ratings, three of these states are currently “toss ups” (i.e., Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia) and the five other states are “leaning” Democrat (i.e., Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).
But Trump is also running ads from state-themed pages that are currently not considered critical battleground states, including Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada. The Cook Report currently rates Ohio and Iowa as “lean Republican” and Nevada as “lean Democrat.” The appearance of these state-specific pages suggests that the Trump campaign may consider these three states essential to victory.
Perhaps the most notable of the Trump campaign state-specific Facebook pages now running ads is “Trump For Nebraska.” For the presidential election, Nebraska awards two electoral votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote and one electoral vote to the winner of each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts. The Cook Report currently rates Nebraska’s popular vote and 1st and 3rd congressional districts as “solid Republican,” indicating that the Trump campaign currently has a strong grasp on five of the state’s six electoral votes. However, the Cook Report currently rates Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district as “lean Democrat.” This is somewhat surprising given that the Trump campaign won Nebraska’s second congressional district in the 2016 election. That one electoral college vote may not seem so significant, but recent forecasts indicate Nebraska’s second congressional district could play a decisive role in the election