CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) - In what may be another signal that the troubled economy is forcing John McCain’s campaign to play electoral map defense, Sarah Palin has scheduled a bus tour for Sunday through West Virginia, a state that’s been leaning red throughout this presidential race.
Palin had already scheduled a bus tour of Pennsylvania on Saturday, but she will now repeat that act on Sunday by making various unannounced stops throughout West Virginia, culminating in a campaign event in southeast Ohio. It’s a swing geographically reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s effort during the Democratic primary to court white working class voters in Appalachia. Clinton won the West Virginia primary over Barack Obama by a whopping 67-26 margin.
Surveys of West Virginia voters this year have consistently favored McCain, but state polls have closed in recent weeks as the global financial crisis has dominated the headlines. A CNN/Time poll conducted in late September showed McCain with a slight 50-46 lead over Obama, and an ARG poll released this week suggested Obama had rocketed to an eight-point over his Republican rival.
Last week, Palin made a pair of last-minute campaign stops in Omaha, Nebraska and Greenville, North Carolina – two regions that until recently were considered safe for McCain.
Palin on Friday seemed to acknowledge that time is running out for her campaign to shift the momentum of the race.
“Things are getting kind of, not tense, but things are getting - as things come down to the wire obviously, things are getting more important in terms of message, and in terms of opportunity we have to lay out the contrast between the two tickets,” she told donors in Cincinnati.