(CNN) – Sure, the national polls are fun to look at - but as any political junkie will tell you, they’re only a broad-brush snapshot of voter sentiment. We don’t choose a president based on a national vote (much to Al Gore’s chagrin). It’s all about the state-by-state battle for the Electoral College. There are 50 states in the union, but at present CNN Politics lists only 8 as tossups: Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado and Nevada. Those are the states that will decide the election, and within those states, a small slice of voters will likely turn the tide.
New CNN/Opinion Research Corporation polls just out give us a snapshot of four of those states. In Michigan, polls suggest Obama has a 4 point edge with 49 percent of voter preference. In New Hampshire, he has a 6 point advantage at 51 percent, while McCain has a 4 point edge in Virginia and 5 point advantage in Missouri, with 50 percent of the vote in both states. So if the election were held today, Obama would claim 21 electoral votes, McCain 24 and put the national count at 264 – 213 in favor of Obama, with four states still up for grabs.
There are some commonalities between the states in terms of issues, but each also has its own signature concerns. And here’s where you come in. Every day for the next 8 days on American Morning, we’re going to take a state-specific look at the issues affecting voters in the battlegrounds. We’ll be joined by radio talk show hosts from each swing state – people with their fingers on the pulse of the electorate – and let them field questions of importance to our viewers.
So here’s where you come in. If you live in the battlegrounds, e-mail us about the issue that affects you most. Go to www.cnn.com/AM and follow the links to submit your question. To help us sift through them all, please put your state at the beginning in the “message” box.
So – calling all voters in the battlegrounds! This is your latest chance to be heard on CNN — part of our continuing commitment to bring you the information you need to make an informed choice on November 4.
(CNN) – Sen. John McCain continues to hold onto a slim advantage in CNN’s latest poll of polls.
In Wednesday’s Poll of polls, McCain’s margin over Obama is one point, with McCain at 46 percent, Obama at 45 percent and 9 percent unsure about their choice for president.
In Tuesday’s poll of polls, the two rivals were also separated by just one point, with McCain at 47 percent and Obama at 46 percent.
"Why is the race so close? The GOP convention energized the Republican base - but it also helped solidify Democratic opposition to the GOP ticket,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “Enthusiasm grew among Democrats and Republicans after the Republican convention. Also, the favorable ratings for Obama and McCain are almost identical - and virtually unchanged from where they were in mid-August, before either party's convention began."
Wednesday’s poll of polls is composed of the following five national general election surveys: Fox News/Opinion Dynamics (September 8-9), NBC/Wall Street Journal (September 6-8), American Research Group (September 6-8), Gallup (September 7-9), and Diageo/Hotline (September 7-9).
The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.
NORFOLK, Virginia (CNN) – The lipstick flap dominated national coverage of Barack Obama’s trip to Virginia, a state trending blue but so far out of reach for Democratic presidential hopefuls. It is no secret the Obama campaign is working this state hard and hoping for an upset this fall.
Obama visited Norfolk Tuesday, an area dominated by the military, to talk education reform. Monday he made his second visit since the primary season ended to southwestern Virginia, a rural slice of the state that went heavily for President Bush in 2004 and where Obama needs to improve his margins to win the state.
Watch: Michelle Obama works to court working women
“Senator Obama is a friend of coal, a friend of this region,” said Congressman Rick Boucher, a southwest Democrat whose district includes the town of Lebanon where Obama spoke.
The discussion of coal is key in reaching out to this group of voters, many of whom work or did work in the industry. From the talk of coal to the Willie Nelson tunes used to warm up the crowd, it is obvious camp Obama is trying to make up for Democrats’ past mistakes when it comes to relating to more conservative voters in more traditional regions. Obama’s comment to a San Francisco fundraiser earlier this year about voters in these areas “clinging” to guns and religion has resurfaced recently as a Republican talking point.
“There are a lot of folks who come up to me and they say, ‘you know Barack, I like your economic plan and I’m tired of George W Bush, or I got my NRA mailing and I’m worried you’re going to take my gun away,’” Obama told the packed gym at Lebanon High School. “I just want to be absolutely clear … I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun way. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”
(CNN) - John McCain's campaign released a new ad Wednesday that portrays Democratic operatives as a vicious wolfpack hunting VP nominee Sarah Palin.
“The attacks on Governor Palin have been called ‘completely false’...’misleading,’” says the female announcer in the 30-second spot, which points to a report from Factcheck.org shooting down many attacks on the Alaska governor. “And they've just begun.”
Watch: The latest McCain ad does a fact check on Obama
The announcer cites a Wall Street Journal column that 30 Democratic lawyers and researchers have been “air dropped” into Alaska “dig dirt” on Palin.
That column, by pundit John Fund, cites anonymous sources in reporting that unnamed Democrats have descended on Anchorage. The Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign have denied sending anyone to Alaska to conduct research into Palin’s past.
“As Obama drops in the polls, he'll try to destroy her,” says the announcer, as images of a wolfpack appear on screen. "Obama's politics of hope? Empty words."
The McCain campaign said the ad would be airing in “key states,” although it did not say where, or how extensive the buy would be.
(CNN) –Barack Obama was again compared to Jesus Wednesday, but this time not by Republicans claiming the Illinois senator has an inflated view of himself.
Speaking on the House floor, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen sought to defend recent attacks over Obama's stint as a community organizer by picking up a recent blogger refrain, that "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus."
The comments come days after that part of Obama's resume was belittled at the Republican convention by both former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and VP candidate Sarah Palin.
"He worked as a community organizer," Giuliani said last week as the convention crowd erupted in laughter. "Ok, maybe this is the first problem on the resume."
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities," Palin then said the night after Giuliani spoke.
(CNN) – In yet another sign of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s popularity with the conservative base of the Republican Party, Jay Love, the Republican candidate for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, has released a new ad that features the governor along with Sen. John McCain.
In the 30-second spot, entitled “Differences,” Palin and McCain are juxtaposed against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who Love refers to as a “San Francisco liberal” in the ad.
“There are real differences in this campaign,” Love says looking directly into the camera. “I’m supporting pro-lifers John McCain and Sarah Palin,” he says as an image of the GOP ticket appears on screen. “My opponent isn’t,” Love says as images of Sen. Barack Obama and Bobby Bright, Love’s Democratic opponent, appear.
“I’ll never sell out to the liberals,” Love says as the spot ends. “I’m the only one who will stand up to for our conservative values in Washington when it really counts.”
Since the announcement of her selection as McCain’s VP pick, Palin has galvanized and energized conservatives behind McCain’s candidacy. Love is the first congressional candidate to use Palin in an ad, according to a press release issued by Love’s campaign Wednesday.
Watch: Obama speaking in Virginia Wednesday.
(CNN) — Barack Obama accused the McCain campaign of "lies" and "Swift boat" politics Wednesday, after nearly a day of claims his 'lipstick on a pig' comment was a sexist attack leveled at GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin.
"Spare me the phony outrage. Spare me the phony talk about change," Obama said at the start of an education event in Virginia. "We have real problems in this country right now. The American people are looking to us for answers, not distractions, not diversions, not manipulations. They want real answers to the real problems we are facing.
Watch: 'Spare me,' Obama says
"I don't care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics," he also said. "Enough is enough."
Obama's heated response came after the McCain campaign said the Illinois senator owes Palin an apology for invoking an old adage on the campaign trail Tuesday: "That's not change," Obama said, saying John McCain’s policy views were similar to President Bush’s. "That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."
McCain's campaign said Obama's remarks were offensive and a slap at Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin - despite the fact that the Arizona senator himself used the phrase last year to describe a policy proposal of Hillary Clinton's.
Within minutes, the McCain campaign announced a conference call focused on the remark, which they said was a deliberate reference to Palin's line: "You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
UPDATE: Responding to Obama's comments, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said, "Barack Obama can’t campaign with schoolyard insults and then try to claim outrage at the tone of the campaign."
"His talk of new politics is as empty as his campaign trail promises, and his record of bucking his party and reaching across the aisle simply doesn’t exist," Rogers also said.
(CNN) - John McCain and Sarah Palin are holding a campaign rally in Virginia, a state Barack Obama has made a top target.
Watch the event on CNN.com/live
UPDATE: This event has ended, but stay with CNN.com/live for all the day's events on the campaign trail.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, said Tuesday he would not step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee in the face of calls from the Republican leader in the House for him to resign.
Rangel has been under fire for failing to report income from a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic. He admitted Tuesday he had not paid tax on the income, but said it was a mistake and that he would pay whatever back taxes he owes.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's reference to "lipstick on a pig" has Republicans demanding an apology and Democrats accusing Sen. John McCain of a "pathetic attempt" to play the gender card.
Watch: The campaign trail has grown nasty as the race tightens
Obama's campaign responded by saying McCain was running a "dishonorable campaign."
Obama made the remarks at a Virginia campaign stop late Tuesday afternoon.
Watch: Internet rumors target Palin
"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush - except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics - we're really going to shake things up in Washington,'" he said.