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Borne in the US

Everything points to a Barack Obama victory. Most analyses of electoral college votes say that even if John McCain were to win almost all the swing states in the eastern United States – Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio – he still wouldn’t win.

world Updated: Oct 31, 2008 22:58 IST
Pramit Palchaudhuri

Everything points to a Barack Obama victory. Most analyses of electoral college votes say that even if John McCain were to win almost all the swing states in the eastern United States – Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio – he still wouldn’t win.

So does the Obama team have anything to fear? Obama’s brilliant chief strategist, David Axelrod, has said the only thing he fears is a low turnout. The Democratic Party is hoping that the huge voting turnout and record high registrations that are being recorded will give them an iron-clad margin of victory. The fear is that so much of the new registers are youth and black Americans – both groups that have a record of not turning up on the actual day of voting.

Why does this matter so much? The uncertainty factor is the undecided vote, still in the seven to eight per cent area. Some analyses of the undecideds say its social makeup is largely white working class, with a lot of elderly women and poorly educated males among their ranks. These are groups that liked Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan but are uneasy with Obama’s race, Arabic name and foreign flavour. The undecideds may not matter. A lot may stay home. If even a third of them vote for Obama – which is quite possible – then he’s safe.

But it’s turnout that is the best guarantee for the Democrats. Obama is phenomenal at getting the crowds roaring. Newly registered voters are running three to one in his favour in most places. Obama now peppers every speech with pleas to his supporters to make sure they vote. “Don’t boo, go and vote,” he told a crowd today at a university in Columbia, Missouri. Keep expecting to hear more of the same.

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