September 25, 2004


Upper Midwest Crucial to Kerry's Hopes (MIKE GLOVER, 9/25/04, Associated Press)

In 2000, political pundits summed up the race in three words: Florida, Florida, Florida. Here's three words to consider this fall: Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. President Bush is targeting their combined 27 electoral votes - the same total as Florida, where a bitterly contested recount settled the last election.

The trio of upper Mississippi River states narrowly backed Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and are, if anything, slightly more Republican four years later, raising the possibility that Democratic Sen. John Kerry could lose one or two of them.

"They are states we lost last time, but if we can carry one or more of them, it puts Kerry's ability to win the Electoral College in serious jeopardy," said Bush strategist Matthew Dowd.

Interviews throughout the upper Mississippi region - from a diner in Austin, Minn., to a farmer's market in Dubuque, Iowa, to a mayor's office in a Wisconsin river town - revealed a mix of emotions and an anxious mood among voters.

They are worried about the economy, though not as much as Rust Belt voters to the East, and the war in Iraq is a constant source of concern - even anger. But more people approve of the president's performance than disapprove, polls show, and there is significant ambivalence toward Kerry.

Presidents carry states where their approval numbers are higher than their disapprove.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2004 6:24 PM

"...significant ambivalence..."

Right. But when you go into the voting booth there is no box marked "undecided" or "maybe this guy/maybe that guy". If they still have doubts about Kerry on Nov 1, they'll either vote for Bush or not vote at all.

The latter is what I think will happen. Democrats will stay home in droves. NOBODY likes to poke sharp sticks into their eye.

Posted by: ray at September 25, 2004 11:04 PM

Typo - your comment should begin "Presidents . . .", not "President's . . . ."

Posted by: "Edward Boyd" at September 25, 2004 11:15 PM