A bellwether with an unpredictable streak.
MISSOURI has done more swinging than the typical state — not surprising, given that it can vote with the South, the Midwest, or the Farm Belt, depending on which of its regions dominate in any given election. From 1904 through 2004, it voted for a losing candidate only once (Stevenson over Eisenhower in 1956), but that was a major deviation from the country as a whole (Eisenhower won by 15 points). That result seemed to suggest that Missouri leaned a bit toward Democrats and a bit against incumbents. But in 2008, it seemed to go against both these preferences, going for McCain by a slender 3,903 votes. A record 2.9 million people voted that year; if that high turnout couldn't put Obama over the top, the odds seem slim for a Democratic win here in 2012.