Michael Barone Maps Out Key Voting Areas

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: The latest Gallup Daily Tracking Poll has Barack Obama beating John McCain by eight points. However, the contentious race in the swing states still makes it possible for Senator McCain to rebound.

Joining us now to analyze four of the most competitive battleground states is the senior writer for "U.S. News & World" reporter, our own Michael Barone.

All right, Michael, Pennsylvania, bitter Americans — bitter, racist, redneck Americans according to John Murtha and Barack Obama, clinging their guns and religion.

Let's start in Pennsylvania and the Philly suburbs, and — something we're going to be watching for on election night.

MICHAEL BARONE, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Well, Sean, I've been comparing the results, regional breaks in the — some of the polls with the `04 and `00 election results.

Video: Watch the 'H&C' interview with Michael Barone

The Philly suburbs is where Obama is doing really well in this. He's been getting — he seems to be getting 2-1 margins in the polls there. These areas that, basically, were just about even, small margin for John Kerry.

This is affluent people, their real estate values have gone down, their stock portfolio is going down. They don't want to open that.


BARONE: . brokerage account every month. That's helping Obama.

Curiously, the blue-collar area, the western Pennsylvania, metro Pittsburgh — Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland Counties — that area, historically, very Democratic, that's just about even, maybe small leads for Barack Obama.

Usually a Democrat needs that, and I think that's one of the reasons John McCain has been going to Pennsylvania.


BARONE: He thinks he may have a shot with that blue-collar vote that's there.

HANNITY: One question about that — when Barack Obama said they're bitter Americans clinging to their guns and religion, he was talking about western PA and now we have the added comments of John Murtha saying that people there were racist, redneck, et cetera.

Do you think that's going to resonate against the Democrats?

BARONE: It's possible it's going to resonate against the Democrats, but we'll have to see.


BARONE: Let's move on to Ohio, Sean, where we've got — we've got two counties, only two of the 88 counties flipped between `04 — '00 and '04 in the Bush elections.

Stark County in northeast Ohio, Canton, Ohio — that's an area with historically Republican, home of William McKinley. There have been a lot of layoffs there, it went for John Kerry.

In Clark County in southern Ohio, around Springfield, that area is an industrial area that switched toward Bush, "The Guardian," the left-wing British paper had its readers sent lots of communications to Clark County people, they apparently backfired.

But those areas also, Sean, that have open congressional seats, the long- time Republican congressman in the 16th district in Canton and the seventh district in Springfield are running. Those are going to be very fiercely contested.

I'm going to be looking at those with the early poll closings in Ohio and seeing where that goes. We've got a wide variety of Ohio polls, some I'm showing McCain ahead, others showing leads for Obama.


BARONE: Those two counties are going to be key.

POWERS: Hi, Michael. How are you? Kirsten Powers.

BARONE: Hi, Kirsten.

POWERS: Also, what about Florida? I know you've been looking at Florida, and obviously there are a lot of retirees down there. They're probably worried about the economy and their retirement account?

How's that going to play out?

BARONE: Well, retirement accounts — one area in Florida that actually has a lot of family people and has had a lot of economic growth, the I-4 corridor, from roughly Tampa, St. Petersburg over to Orlando and Daytona Beach.

That's very seriously contested territory. And the regional breakdowns of polls I've seen show John McCain with mild leads running even or better in that area. That is a good sign for him and an indication that the — he may be pulling back in the TV blitz that Obama has had in Florida, maybe receding.

But Obama has a big lead in other — another part of Florida, the Gold Coast.

POWERS: Right.

BARONE: The three counties in the south, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, a lot of Jewish voters especially in Broward and Palm Beach. They seem to be going home to the Democrats despite some initial qualms about Obama.

It's the one area of the state where Obama is clearly leading.


BARONE: He's been running about even in Florida, and yet he doesn't do well, and we've had a real estate bust in south Florida, unlike the I-4 corridor, with lots of foreclosures and speculators losing their shirts.

POWERS: We have to — we have to go on one second. So I just want to ask you really quickly about Virginia because I know everybody's looking at that, and that's somewhere where Obama thinks he can may be pick up. What do you think?

BARONE: The big difference there is northern Virginia, the suburbs of Washington, fastest growing part of the state. That's very affluent, but it's a lot of immigrants. These — a lot of people here have seen their stock portfolios and real estate values go down, but the growing immigration population in Fairfax County has been trending Democratic, so between that and the new big singles high rises in Alexandria and Arlington, which are just full of young Obama voters, leave that area to - Virginia is I think Obama's single best chance of picking up a Bush '04 state.

POWERS: Well, that's a pretty big statement. Don't you think?

BARONE: That's a — well, it's a big statement, and you know, he's — Obama has been pummeling McCain.


BARONE: . with ads, lots more ad in Virginia.

POWERS: I'm sorry.

BARONE: Than McCain.

POWERS: I'm sorry, Michael. OK.

BARONE: OK, thanks, Kirsten.

POWERS: All right, thank you so much.

HANNITY: Thanks, Michael.

POWERS: It's fascinating.


POWERS: Fascinating your take on this.

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