Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama's Southern Surge

With a week to go, more than a million ballots have been cast in each of three swing states--Georgia, North Carolina and Florida--foreshadowing a record early turnout across the country.

The Solid South, which, in pre-civil rights days was a segregationist stronghold for Democrats, is showing signs of breaking out of the Republican redoubt it has been ever since.

Polls are showing Obama's lead in Virginia widening, and the Institute for Southern Studies reports that in North Carolina "a perfect storm of factors have come together for Democrats in 2008, including: a widespread sentiment for change, frustration over the tough hit on NC's economy, Obama's ability to mobilize a sizable number of core voters in NC, lack of excitement among religious conservatives for McCain--even same-day voter registration, which tends to boost youth and African-American turnout."

With all this going on below the Mason-Dixon line, next week's voting promises to shake up the electoral map in a way that goes beyond the obvious contest between new voters and old biases.

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