GARY, Ind. — Barack Obama was the first Democrat in 44 years to win Indiana in the 2008 presidential election, but the state is hardly a lock for him again.

Even Democrats see the current political environment as far more challenging. Among other things, the state's economy continues to struggle and Republicans have made steady gains in state and federal elections in the past four years.

Longtime Sen. Richard Lugar's loss to tea-party conservative Richard Mourdock in last week's GOP Senate primary may give Democrats reason to hope Indiana could become more competitive by November.

But for now, it appears to be the state most likely to be scratched off the list of states in Obama's 2008 win column.