Electoral votes: 3
2004 result: Kerry 53%, Bush 46%
2000 result: Gore 55%, Bush 42%
Most recent Republican win (1988): Bush 56%, Dukakis 43%
African American percentage: 20.9% (national average is 12.8%)
Link to polls in Real Clear Politics
As I wrote here, this state was probably solid for Obama, even before he chose its senior senator as his running mate. Now, I presume McCain has no chance whatsoever.
I have not thoroughly researched this, but I wonder if this is the first election in which both running mates come from states so small that they only have three electoral votes. Given how close the last two presidential elections have been, who knows?, three electoral votes could make the difference.
But, of course, neither presidential nominee made his choice on that basis. Presumably, Obama based his selection largely on Biden's long-time Washington experience, and McCain chose Palin because of her potential appeal to conservatives and women.