Monday, October 27, 2008

Swing State


Tantalising poll numbers today for our partisan news pup from some of the swing states. A new Washington Post survey gives Obama an eight-point lead over McCain in Virginia, an erstwhile Republican stronghold. The state has 13 electoral votes, which under US voting rules would give Obama 13 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs to become president if it were to turn blue on 4 November. 

Meanwhile, CNN puts Obama's lead in Ohio, a state that swung the election for Bush in 2004, at five points over McCain. With 7 per cent of the state's voters still undecided, there is all to play for however, which was why both candidates were back there this evening. As were Daddy J and Kevin Connolly, working on a Today package due to air this Friday. 

Swing states are strange beasts, especially when they carry as many electoral votes - 20 - as Ohio. And swing districts within those states are even stranger. Take Ironton, Lawrence County, on the Ohio-West Virgina border. A depressed iron town (the clue's in the name), Ironton is ignored by both Washington and the modern economy in a normal year. But come election time and suddenly its flavour of the month. Bush was so thrilled with Ironton's efforts to rally local Republicans last time round that he threw a special thank you dinner for the local party chieftains. This time, though, it is the Democrats who are busy wooing the residents. The bright lights of an Obama campaign office bring a glow to an otherwise semi-deserted Main Street. 

DJ will be hoping their piece doesn't have the same impact on Ironton's independent voters that the Guardian's infamous campaign in Clark County, Ohio, had last time round. Then, earnest Grauniad readers helped to turn the district Republican from Democrat after letters imploring residents to vote Bush out of office had the opposite effect. Thankfully their BBC package will be non-partisan. Just as well they didn't take Louis with them. He spent the weekend campaigning in his Obama onesie, although in line with BBC guidelines it's hidden from view by his (new) sweatshirt in his "swing" video below.  
video

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