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Red Indiana, Blue Indiana

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The most interesting news from the campaign battlefield yesterday was the Indianapolis Star/WTHR poll showing Barack Obama leading John McCain by 3 points, 47-44. One-fourth of Indiana voters said that they could change their minds. This is a state that has been reliably Republican in presidential elections since LBJ carried it in 1964, but it, like Minnesota, is evolving into a city-state, with huge growth in its biggest metro area. CNN/Time, however, has McCain up 51-45. The Star/WTHR poll notes that Obama’s core constituencies of blacks and young people do not have a history of turning out in Indianapolis in past elections. Moreover, McCain leads in northwest Indiana, the state’s second largest population center, which is basically suburban Chicago. All of this makes Obama’s lead very tenuous. However, Indiana is a state where the right track/wrong track is 16/79. The poll also asked voters other questions about the two candidates. McCain had an overwhelming advantage in “experience to lead,” 58-31. Obama led or tied with McCain in every other comparison, except for a one-point deficit in “most trustworthy”: Shares your values: 45-40 Create new jobs: 44-30 Change policies: 47-39 Change Washington 47-34 Unify the country 45-38 Cut taxes 39-39 More trustworthy 40-39 Vision 48-40 Leadership style 44-45 Understands people 49-38 Hope for the future 49-37 You can see the election shaping up here: McCain’s advantage lies in experience and little else, Obama’s in economic issues and change. Not good for McCain. The telephone poll surveyed 600 likely voters and had a margin of error of +/-4%.

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