U.S. presidential race seen unconventional

May 27, 2008 at 8:42 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) -- The perception of a clear partisan makeup of the electoral map of the United States could get upended in this presidential election, analysts say.

Democrats are typically well positioned in eastern and western states with Republicans holding strong in the South and Midwest, but with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., running with near celebrity appeal, Republican strategists are planning for an unconventional race, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

The goal of the general election is to win 270 of the 538 electoral votes in a winner-take-all contest.

"All things being equal, Obama is a decent bet to break 300 (electoral votes), just because it's a very good year for Democrats," said Republican strategist Daron Shaw, "But boy, if he loses Ohio and turns around and loses Pennsylvania, then he's got a math problem."

That is the focal point for Republican strategists working with their presumptive nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain. After his campaign nearly collapsed in 2007, McCain looks for any opportunity he can.

"Exit polls in West Virginia showed that two-thirds of Clinton supporters were unwilling to commit to Obama in the fall -- and that's just among Democrats!" wrote Republican strategist and U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. "With an economy perceived to be failing, these voters should be easy prey to ANY Democrat but they're not. Herein lies the key for the McCain campaign."

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