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Toss-Up State of Colorado Crucial to McCain

(Denver, Colorado)

John McCain needs help in his own backyard. Except for California, Oregon and Washington State, the West has solidly voted Republican. Now that has changed. Given the job losses of the industrial Midwest, lots of union workers- most of them Democrats- have fled to the West and South looking for jobs.

Given the demographic shift, solid Republican states such as New Mexico and Colorado have voted for a Democrat every now and then. Bill Clinton won Colorado in 1992, but a strong showing by Ross Perot there probably ate into GOP support. Since then, it’s been back in Republican hands. Al Gore won New Mexico by 300 votes in 2000, only to have President Bush win it back in 2004.

Now things have changed again. Boosted by a high-profile Democratic National Convention in Denver, Barack Obama now leads in the polls. The latest Real Clear Politics composite poll has it Obama 51 percent, McCain 45 percent.

That’s still within the margin of error and McCain could turn the tide. He simply must. With Obama ahead in New Mexico and even Nevada right now, McCain needs the nine Electoral College votes held by Colorado. Even more daunting, he needs to turn the tables as well in either New Mexico or Nevada. The bottom line, McCain must win at least two of the states which border his Arizona home.

It’s just a thought, but Sarah Palin should spend more time out here. She’s a Westerner as well, and certainly has appeal to those who call this region home.

I’ll be back blogging in California Tuesday. Check in at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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Not Much Battle in This Battleground State

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(Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Wisconsin was going to be one of those knockdown, drag-out, toss-up states this year. After all, in 2004 John Kerry beat President Bush here by just 5,000 votes. It was the closest margin of any state.

By all predictions, we were in for another close one in the dairy state. Many thought it would be a “Hillary state,” too; but Barack Obama won the primary in convincing fashion back in February. The mayor of Milwaukee and the governor of Wisconsin lined up early behind Obama, and that helped him tremendously. The fact that Obama was from neighboring Chicago also helped tremendously.

John McCain should be doing better here. This is not an ultraconservative state, like some in the South or the Plains. Wisconsin has very liberal cities such as Milwaukee and Madison, but the rural farming communities have always been quite conservative. Wisconsin has always had a place in its heart for mavericks like Bob LaFollette and Bill Proxmire. Even old Joe McCarthy was a rebel. So, by all accounts, McCain as a moderate, maverick Republican, should be doing better in the polls. The latest composite poll from Real Clear politics has it Obama 52 percent, McCain 42 percent.

The economic upheaval of the past month is certainly part of the reason. You probably can’t blame Sarah Palin, though. She has has been quite popular at rallies here.

The fact that former Governor Tommy Thompson did not fare well in the Presidential race this year might have been the first clue. Thompson’s candidacy died with the neighboring Iowa caucuses. If the popular four-term ex-Governor Thompson wasn’t doing well here, then how could McCain fare any better?

I’ll be blogging later from Colorado, as I head back to California. Check in at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

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