I have been 100% consumed with UP business today (probably a good thing) and will spend some time getting up to speed with latest news and data later tonight and send some final thoughts before taking off to New Hampshire to (definitely) take some election day photos and (hopefully) live blog as well.
In the meantime, here are some thoughtful reflections from my friend and fellow business and social entrepreneur Bill Hinchey on his weekend visit to Pittsburgh:
As a little background, I grew up in McKeesport, PA during the 70’s and 80’s. My very blue collar neighborhood is dotted with red-brick ranch homes all built after WWII and populated by hard working families who teach their kids to study hard, eat their vegetables, and cheer for the Steelers. It is a heavily Democratic area that view Republicans as the rich elite that have no interest in helping out the middle class. Today, not much has changed. The average four bedroom home sells for $125,000 (Steeler banner not included), both parents work, and the local cub scout troop has over 90 kids – three times the size of my day.
I spent the weekend in my hometown with my two young sons showing them how their dad celebrated Halloween “back in the day”. I also took note of the attitude many of my old buddies and folks in the neighborhood. The bottom line is that in this small spec of Western Pennsylvania, I guesstimate a 70:30 vote for McCain Palin. And they will turn out. Election day is a ritual in my hometown. A chance to see the kids at the local elementary school, buy some baked goods, and catch up on town gossip. No one is happy with the last eight years of George Bush, but these folks are not ready to line up behind a new comer like Barack Obama. I sense that there was no connection between candidate Obama and this old steel town neighborhood. I can say that the Democratic party itself is as much to blame here. While Obama is a centrist, folks here view the party as way left on issues such as taxes/government spending and abortion and that is enough for these folks to embrace John McCain.
While it is accurate to say that Pennsylvania is “Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in the middle” I would amend that by saying the boarders of “Alabama” could be larger than one suspects.
One thing he points out that we should all remember is that some voters don’t need a GOTV call or driver to get them to vote.
Although it appears to me that there has been little mainstream media (either mainstream old media as in NYT or mainstream new media as in Politico and XM’s Potus 08) coverage of the “moral issues” the abortion issue is stronger than many realize. Nationwide, the anti-abortion vote is relatively small, but in some states, like West Virginia, or regions of states like Central Florida, it is huge. Politico covered this in an article yesterday entited “No Gain for Obama with Church goers.” Here’s a quote:
It was at that mid-August event at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., that Obama said it was “above my pay grade” to define when a fetus gains human rights, while McCain quickly replied, “At the moment of conception.”
For social conservative leader Richard Land, Obama’s response encapsulated why Democrats have failed to make inroads with highly religious white voters.
“It’s abortion,” Land replied when the Gallup data was read to him.
“I think pro-choice people in this culture have absolutely no idea of the depth and intensity of the moral outrage of the people who are pro-life,” Land said. “They think that conservatives use it only as a wedge issue.”