Back to the Wall, McCain to Go On-Air in Indiana

Ben Smith reports:

Two sources say McCain's ad campaign is set to extend to Indiana, a reliably Republican state where local polling has long showed Obama unexpectedly strong, and where Obama has been running a full-scale campaign.

The GOP move is a sign of concern on a map that seems to shift almost daily.

To give a bit of historical perspective as to why this is huge, huge news, the Democrats have only carried the state of Indiana four times since 1892 -- during the routs that were 1912 (Wilson v. Taft v. T. Roosevelt), 1932 (F. Roosevelt v. Hoover), 1936 (F. Roosevelt v. Landon) and 1964 (Johnson v. Goldwater -- meaning that they have lost the state even while winning the presidency eight times in the past 115 years. Even more to the point, no Democrat in the last 30 years has received more than 41.55 percent of the vote in the state, with the average Democratic showing during that time period of 39.09 percent. In short, Indiana is generally infertile ground for Democrats on the presidential level, so news of even the Republicans considering the state to be in play is rather noteworthy.

To get a little more current, recent polling has shown Indiana to be significantly closer than it has been historically, with John McCain's lead sitting at 2.5 points according to and 2.3 points according to Real Clear Politics. A survey conducted by the widely respected Ann Selzer actually gave Barack Obama a 47 percent to 44 percent lead.

There are at least a couple important reasons why this race is close. For one, Obama's 50-state strategy is paying dividends, as the campaign's organizing and advertising has moved numbers in Indiana. Additionally, although some complained that the primaries lasted too long, that they hurt the Democrats, Indiana -- as well as North Carolina, and even Oregon -- are great examples of the intense primary aiding the Democratic efforts down the road. Had it not been the case that both the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign were actively campaigning in these states, registering and contacting voters, it's difficult to imagine Indiana being on the map today.

Finally, it's worth reiterating a point that Smith relayed: This is a sign of weakness for the McCain campaign. Republicans believed that they had Indiana in the bag. But just as was the case in Florida, the McCain campaign has had to readjust its expectations and shift its limited resources to a state the Republicans have more often than not won in presidential elections. The national race may be tight, but when it comes to the race for 270, the map doesn't look half bad for Obama with several paths -- including the state of Indiana -- for reaching an electoral college majority.

Update [2008-9-23 17:41:7 by Jonathan Singer]: Smith now says the McCain campaign is denying this report, though not necessarily that the RNC will run ads in the state. I'll update when Smith does, but the point does stand regardless of whether the GOP is advertising in the state -- Obama is running historically strongly in Indiana and has a real shot at carrying its electoral votes.

Tags: IN-Pres, Indiana, White House 2008 (all tags)



Is this snark?


by JDF 2008-09-23 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Is this snark?

Sadly, it's not.. Jerome is of the firm belief that the majority of the country should be ignored so that we'll always be in the minority or a very slim, precarious majority...

by LordMike 2008-09-23 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Is this snark?

Note that that commenter was JeroRNe (jerorne) Amrstrong, not Jerome Armstrong.

by Jonathan Singer 2008-09-23 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Is this snark?

Oh... whoops!  My bad...

It didn't sound like Jerome... even though he is a pessimist by nature, he does want the best for democrats overall....

by LordMike 2008-09-23 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall,

If McCain is going to cover the entire state, he'll have to buy time in Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville. And I know for a fact that Chicago is not cheap.

by RandyMI 2008-09-23 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to

I heard that Obama is now going to run ads in MN - does that negate this news?

by rfahey22 2008-09-23 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to

I thought he already was.

by RandyMI 2008-09-23 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to

Oh, well then nevermind.

by rfahey22 2008-09-23 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to

Yeah, but only in Iowa markets (albert Lea, Austin, Mankato) IIRC.

by lojasmo 2008-09-23 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall

Lovely. Get that Intrade price down. I want more of McCain in the 60 range or slightly higher in Indiana. Pure theft.

You've got the weird situation today of both sides going up on Intrade in Indiana. Bozo Obama bettors are somehow thinking 35 range is value. Yeah, I want 2/1 on a Democrat winning Indiana. Nothing better I can do with my money over a 6 week period. Unbelievable.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-09-23 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to Go On-Air in India

I live in IN. They are both running ads. I have seen them.

Altho it may be CH cable leakage?

by redwagon 2008-09-23 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall,

What part of Indiana are you in?

by RandyMI 2008-09-23 02:13PM | 0 recs
Chicago effect?

Not to be a downer, but could a big part of the reason Indiana is in play be due to the fact that a not-insignificant part of the Indiana population is basically Chicago suburbs?

Hey, a win is a win and that's great, but I'd hate to assume that there's this big shift occurring if it really is just an overflow of the "home state" effect going on here.

by ThinkerT 2008-09-23 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago effect?

Actually, that is very much a part of why Obama is doing well. And having that is a positive, in my opinion.

by RandyMI 2008-09-23 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago effect?

Oh, I agree it's a positive, at least for this election.  Jonathan just didn't mention it with his "important reasons" when it might be the biggest reason of all, and might mean that Indiana is likely to go back to deep red after this election.

I hope I'm wrong and that the 50-state strategy and campaigning have begun to change the state to at least something more purple-ish going forward, but I fear that this is a unique situation due to Obama's Chicago roots.

by ThinkerT 2008-09-23 02:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago effect?

I think Obama's benefiting from a couple of convergent trends.  One is that his organizers can go to Gary very easily, and there are presumably quite a few black voters to register there and in much of the rest of the state.

Which leads to reason II: the Kerry and Gore campaigns had to focus elsewhere of necessity and neglect the state.  (But as a result Obama and the Party didn't have to start with little/nothing in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.)  I think Bush got a couple of percentage points of margin out of the Democratic neglect in '04.  Obama gets the 1% per year partisan shift since plus 2-3% due to the '00/'04 neglect.'s the decline of the rural/small town populations and agrarian mindsets and values.  It's the case everywhere, that young people are splitting with their pre/anti-Modern parents and agrarian social/"moral" values.  Abortion rights and religious piety are the big divides/abysses between the two cultural modes.  The jobs are in the cities, the agriculture-based villages and small towns are depopulating.  That's why places like Indiana stayed split 60/40 for so long, while agricultural and small town jobs were stable and cultural selfperpetuation kept the demographics from much shift.  Now it's shifting, and so is the political split.

by killjoy 2008-09-23 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago effect?

Kerry and Gore split Marion County (Indianapolis) roughly 50/50 each time with Bush.  Obama is polling in the upper 50's in Marion County, which is a huge part of why he's doing so well at the state level.

by Vox Populi 2008-09-23 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain to Go On-Air in IN

Whether it is McCain or the RNC buying ads in Indiana, and whether Obama really has a chance at winning Indiana (I am going to say its doubtful), the fact is that SOMEBODY in the GOP is burning resources in Indiana just to keep McCain "safe" in that state. That means resources are not being used by McCain/GOP in another swing state where Obama has a slight lead, so that's helpful to us!

by lalawguy 2008-09-23 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Back to the Wall, McCain

Nothing really matters until after the first debate. Candidate support is soft to the max.

by Upstate Dem 2008-09-23 02:55PM | 0 recs


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