Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama trying for West Virginia's 5 electoral votes

With previously toss-up Virginia now in blue on most Electoral College maps, Democrat Barack Obama has started advertising on television stations throughout West Virginia, a heavily rural state that "rejected his primary season appeals," The Associated Press reports. "In a sign that pocketbook concerns are trumping any prejudices, a recent AP poll showed that Obama has inched up among whites with no college education while McCain has lost ground."

The Cook Report, which rated West Virginia as solid for Republican John McCain, now says West Virginia is a toss-up. "The Cook Report was likely influenced by a survey Oct. 4-8 by American Research Group Inc., which showed Obama actually leading in West Virginia 50 percent to 42 percent for McCain, with 8 percent either undecided or voting for someone else," talk-show host Hoppy Kercheval writes in the Charleston Daily Mail.

Before "the bottom fell out of the stock market, and voter anxiety over the economy trumped all other issues," Kercheval notes, "even West Virginia Democratic Party leaders privately conceded there was no way that West Virginia, with its conservative values, would vote for Obama." He notes that many voters in the state have already seen Obama ads aimed at Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. (Read more) President Bush carried the state in 2000 and 2004.

UPDATE, Oct. 18: Ben Smith of Politico reports polling and anecdotal evidence suggests some whites with racist views will vote for Obama because of the economy. "Obama has run better than past Democrats in prosperous states with little history of tension, such as Colorado and Iowa, and worse in working-class states in the Appalachian belt," Smith writes. "His campaign has been structured around this dynamic and may actually have overestimated the number of white Democrats in the region unwilling to vote for him because of his race. . . . Obama has also ignored Southern states with a history of deep racial division, from Arkansas to Missisissippi, in favor of those that have seen an influx of new voters from the north — Virginia, North Carolina and Florida." UPDATE, Oct. 20: Obama may visit West Virginia, AP reports.

1 comment:

mvymvy said...

The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn't have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote -- that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes-- 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.