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 Pollster.com 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.

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McCain Buying Ad Time in Indiana

For about two weeks, I have been saying here, in other blags and to friends that John McCain ignores Indiana at his own peril. Well, according to Capitol Watch Blog, he's finally heeded my warning (or at least someone else's warning).

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Just a note from canvassing Hammond, IN today

When we first set out, we were stopped by a man who worked at the Sherwin Williams hardware store. I had a good feeling he supported McCain and I was right (in fact, I had a bad feeling about canvassing Indiana in general). This guy said he liked the McCain/Palin ticket because he wanted a woman a heartbeat away and would've supported Obama if Hillary were VP (I thought he was saying most of this for my benefit). He also said he watched O'Reilly and Hannity, so I thought there was no way he was actually a Hillary supporter. I said I also think women are great and smart, and that's why I support equal pay for equal work. I reminded him I had come that day with my mom, a really fantastic woman (and I'm not so bad myself)! I decided it best if I stay mum on my staunch pro-choice beliefs and my sickness about Palin's record with rape victims.

Then a mailman walked by. The Sherwin Williams guy called him "Mr. Middle America". He asked him who he was voting for, and I thought we'd be surrounded by a bunch of McCainiacs. The mailman said "Obama" with a big smile on his face. Then a younger guy walked out of the hardware store. The McCainiac said "This guy knows what's what! Who are you supporting?" And the young guy said "Obama. I wanna keep my job. He's pro union." And the McCainiac looked at me and said "We might lose. I better go hide in the back." In the end, he wished us good luck, and we agreed the country could use some good luck, and we left with a friendly handshake.

It was pretty awesome. And of all the houses I went to, I was surprised the most by the older voters. All were strong Obama supporters and couldn't wait to vote! I think we may actually have a good shot in Indiana if these folks all come out November 4th. And we registered three new voters, all of whom supported Obama.

Next weekend is Kalamazoo, MI with dad. Then possibly back to Indiana after that. Let's win this!

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Indiana Is Looking Very Swingy

Barack Obama has been campaigning and organizing in Indiana, as well as investing in advertising in the state even as John McCain has decided against going on air, so perhaps it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the state is looking more and more like a swing state as we get closer to election day. Take a look at the latest numbers from the land of the Hoosiers:

ObamaMcCain
Rasmusseen Reports4749
Big Ten4347
CNN4551
Selzer4744
ARG4447
Average45.247.6

The Obama campaign still has work to do to get closer to the 48-49 percent range in which victory is more clearly visible on the horizon -- where they don't have to rely on the support of the vast majority of the undecided voters, which they are highly unlikely to get -- but for now they cannot be too unhappy with the state of the race in Indiana, which John Kerry lost by more than 20 points just four years ago. As we saw during the Indiana primary back in May, Obama has a strong organization in the state, which is certainly helped by the fact that Illinois, and Chicago in particular, are very close by, so if they can get close to the cusp of majority support in Indiana they just might be able to pull of a real shocker.

Obama Takes 3-Point Lead in Indiana!

Most polls have consitantly showed McCain with a lead in Indana, but Ann Selzer, the Gold Standard for pollsters in the Midwest, has Obama three points up in the Hoosier State, according to the Indianapolis Star.

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