McCain, Obama Work the West’s Toss-Up States

October 25, 2008 at 4:55 am Leave a comment

mccain-obama31.jpgBarack Obama and John McCain venture into the next-to-last weekend of their testy presidential campaign with the same target — winning the rest of the West.

Once reliable Republican territory, much of the West has seen its
politics and demographics shift over the last decade. Three states
considered still in play to varying degrees — Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico — could be vital if the electoral math gets tight.

Obama was resuming his campaign in Nevada
on Saturday with rallies in Reno and Las Vegas before holding one at
night in Albuquerque, N.M. The Democrat put aside political events on
Thursday night and Friday to spend time with his grandmother in Hawaii,
whom he described as gravely ill.

McCain, pivoting from his three stops in Colorado
on Friday, will also be pushing hard in New Mexico on Saturday. He is
holding rallies in Albuquerque and in Mesilla, farther south.

As
the collapsing economy consumes voter attention, McCain has seized a
line of attack that Obama is poised to deepen the problem by raising
taxes. He said in Denver that Obama won’t target the rich but rather
the middle class by putting it “through the wringer.”

Obama
counters that he would lower taxes for most wage-earners and that
McCain’s tax plan favors wealthy corporations. He has tagged McCain as
being out of time and ideas.

Polls show the path to the winning tally of 270 electoral votes is tricker for McCain, a Republican weighed down by the economic crisis and an unpopular incumbent president.

Obama, wary of overconfidence among his backers, is charting multiple winning paths.

That’s where 19 electoral votes out West factor into the equation.

Nevada,
with five votes, is posing the toughest challenge for Obama; the race
is a tossup. Colorado is competitive, though Obama has a slight edge in
polls in the state that offers nine votes. Obama is more deeply favored
to win New Mexico’s five votes.

President Bush
carried all three states in 2004. Obama, the front-runner nationally
with 11 days until the election, is focusing his time on plucking away
states Bush won four years ago.

Obama could win the White House by hanging onto all the states that Sen. John Kerry won four years ago and then sweeping the three Western states getting attention this weekend.

McCain, though, has mounted comebacks before. Political momentum can change fast.

Part
of the West’s demographic change includes larger numbers of Hispanics,
a traditionally Democratic-leaning group that has posed a challenge for
McCain. The most recent Gallup poll showed Obama leading among registered Hispanic voters, 61 percent to 29 percent.

Source: AP

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