Is the election economy versus race? Is McCain counting on prejudice? Obama on the bad economy?

Will the economy dictate the election result
a week from today? Will race still play a key role?

     The
election is one week from today, and a new Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll
says Obama’s lead is narrowing.  Despite this, the poll shows he’s
at least five points ahead of his Republican rival, while other polls
show a wider margin.
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     Both
candidates are hammering on the economic crisis and focusing on pocketbook
issues.  Both are campaigning hard in key battleground states,
like Pennsylvania and Ohio.  As I said in a recent podcast, economic
issues usually trump all other issues, and this political season it
seems to be the same thing.  The dire economy
is a boon to Obama’s election chances.

     Is
underdog McCain relying on racial prejudice to help him next Tuesday? 
When you see where he’s campaigning, one interpretation is that he’s
playing the race card, hoping that prejudice against African Americans
will play out in the privacy of the ballot booth.

     It’s
curious that the media has focused on the race versus economy issue
recently.  Don’t get me wrong: the media has reported on
these issues before.  But in the last few days the reporting has
escalated, with up-close-and-personal quotes of people who are—and
are not—voting according to race.  And, we’ve had reports of
a foiled “effort” by racists to assassinate Obama.  (I say
effort because “plot” would suggest more organization and forethought
than appears to be true in this case.)

What
do you make of it all?

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