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Ohio, Pennsylvania May Hold Key to White House
    2008-11-04 01:55:10     Xinhua

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 2, 2008. [Photo: Xinhua/AFP]

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With Election Day only some 24 hours away, both U.S. presidential campaigns are focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania as the pivotal states, U.S. media reported Monday.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential choice Sarah Palin crisscrossed Ohio on Sunday, while Republican candidate John McCain returned to Pennsylvania, the Los Angeles Times said.

The Washington Post said both campaigns expect a close finish in Ohio, something of a paradox in a struggling state in a year in which the poor economy is driving support for Obama and other Democrats.

Ohio lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs this decade and its median income has dropped by 3 percent, yet polls show Obama with no more than a narrow lead in a state that John F. Kerry lost to George W. Bush by two points in the last presidential election.

The NBC said Obama is hoping for a win in Ohio, but not desperate for one.

The Democrat has spent more time in Ohio than any other state since winning the nomination, but it is a state he does not necessarily have to win.

A loss in electoral-rich Ohio, and even one in Pennsylvania, could be offset by wins in places like North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana.

The Wall Street Journal quoted McCain campaign manager Rick Davis as saying that Pennsylvania, won by Kerry in 2004, will be the most important state to watch Tuesday.

FIGHT TO THE FINISH

Meanwhile, the Obama and McCain campaigns are intensifying their fight to the end, including massive get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operations in more than a dozen battleground states, millions of telephone calls, mailings and door-knockings.

The Wall Street Journal said the national and state Democratic parties are spending far more heavily than Republicans on field operations, after years of ceding the advantage in ground-level organizing to the Republican voter-turnout machine.

Finance records show Democrats have hired five to 10 times more paid field staff in swing states than the Republicans.

The Los Angeles Times said McCain has targeted a wealthy area just north of Columbus as one of 15 counties in Ohio where he needs to drive up his vote tally if he is to beat Obama on Tuesday in this must-win state.

But on Friday night, only nine volunteers manned the 24 phones in the McCain campaign office.

In contrast, the Obama campaign has flooded the area with volunteers.

NO SIGN OF McCAIN SURGE

One day before the election, all national polls continue to show Obama leading McCain in the race for the White House, even if the size of Obama's lead continues to vary in the different surveys.

Media analyses of the polling data, however, strongly suggest Obama is poised for a decisive victory in the election.

McClatchy Newspapers reported that the moods in the two camps were markedly different as the campaign entered its final day, with McCain and his team "defiant" while Obama and his surrogates "exuded confidence."

The Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll for November 2 showed Obama leading McCain 51 to 46 percent.

The Gallup daily presidential tracking poll of 2,800 registered voters taken Oct. 31-Nov. 2 shows Obama leading McCain 53 to 42 percent.

A Pew Research poll of 2587 likely voters taken Oct. 30-Nov. 2 shows Obama leading 52 to 46 percent, while a CNN/Opinion Research poll of 714 likely voters from Oct. 30-Nov. 1 shows Obama up seven points, 53 to 46 percent.

Meanwhile, the C-Span/Zogby daily presidential tracking poll of 1,205 likely voters taken Oct. 31-Nov. 2 shows Obama leading McCain 51 to 44 percent.

McCain has decided he will get to Tuesday by having a good time, the New York Times reported.

His aides said he is relieved that the race is almost over and for the most part out of his hands.

The Republican is also obsessed with polls that show the race tightening in some battleground states and allow him hope that he might still have a shot.

Meanwhile, the newspaper said Obama's sober expression "seems at odds with the confident gleam in the eyes of his advisers."


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