McCain, Obama race tests Missouri's bellwether status

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | 4:17 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — Never has a Democrat won the presidency without Missouri — until, perhaps, now.

Although the race remained too close to call, Republican John McCain clung to a small advantage in Missouri early Wednesday over Democrat Barack Obama, who already had locked up a national electoral victory.

With all precincts reporting results, McCain led Obama by 5,853 votes out of more than 2.9 million counted — a difference of 0.2 percentage points. Also outstanding were about 7,000 provisional ballots, which are counted only if a voters' eligibility can be verified.

At stake were two presidential voting streaks that have earned Missouri a swing-state reputation.

  • Since it joined the union in 1821, no Democrat has won the presidency without also receiving Missouri's vote, though various Republicans have accomplished the feat.
  • And since 1904, Missouri has picked the winning presidential candidate every time but once. The exception occurred when Democrat Adlai Stevenson claimed Missouri over Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 by a margin of fewer than 4,000 votes out of 1.8 million cast.

Missouri has had plenty of close elections, both before and after then.

The narrowest margin of victory occurred in 1908, when Republican William Howard Taft won by 449 votes out of 716,788 cast — a margin of 0.06 percentage points — over Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

This year, both McCain and Obama put a heavy emphasis on Missouri.

The race was closer than Republican President Bush's 53 percent Missouri victory four years ago, because Obama cut into the GOP victory margin in many rural counties while expanding the size of the Democratic advantage in some urban areas.

The swing area of Buchanan County went from red to blue, with Obama winning by a few dozen votes over McCain — a contrast to Bush's 52 percent victory there in 2004.

This year, about three-fifths of Missouri voters said that the economy was the most important issue facing the country, and about 9-in-10 labeled the economy as not good or poor, according to results from The Associated Press exit polls.

Obama appeared to attract more first-time voters than McCain.

"He's the first person that actually expresses everything where people who don't have education can understand what our country is going through, (such as) how we're at war for no reason," said new voter Tendisha Callaway, 28, of Jefferson City. "Growing up, I felt like voting was just a waste of time. I figured this time, maybe it might help, maybe it would make a difference."

McCain, a Navy veteran who was a Vietnam prisoner of war, generally fared better among Missouri's older voters.

"I have all the respect in the world for a man who has given over five years in a prison camp for this country," said Carl Olson, 62, who voted at the same precinct as Callaway. "I feel so sorry that so many young people can't recognize what that means. They would whimper and whine if the wrong TV program came on."


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Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 9:01 a.m.

MSNBC called Missouri earlier this morning at:

Obama 49%
McCain 49%

Which sends a great message than no longer is this state the hard line Republican stronghold it once was.

(Report Comment)
Mike Zweifel November 5, 2008 | 10:32 a.m.


I do not agree at all with your "hard line Republican stronghold" comment.

Up until 2002, the MO House had been Democratically controlled for years. The MO Governor and state house was in GOP hands in 2004 for the first time since the 1920s, I believe. In 2006, Sen. McCaskill, a Democrat, was elected. Mel Carnahan was elected in 2000 (R.I.P.). Our Congressional delegation is 5-4 GOP, and has been for a while.

Missouri is a split state for the most part at this time. Missouri is not and has never been a hard-line Republican stronghold. In fact, it was probably more of a Democrat state, at least on the state level, up until 2002 and 2004. Now it is fairly even, with only a slight Republican leaning.

Missouri, I think, will always be in play for the Presidency, as it has been since 1900. The state is split along city/rural lines that mimic the nation.

McCain won the state by about 6,000 votes, it looks like, according the Sec of State's office. I don't know if that triggers an automatic recount or not, but since it is not needed, it may not be done.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 10:55 a.m.

You have your opinions and I have mine and that is what makes this state go around and around sir.

Thank goodness though that Jay Nixon is now in office.

(Report Comment)
Mike Zweifel November 5, 2008 | 11:17 a.m.

Yes, opinions make this state go around and around.

Thank goodness the state legislature is in G.O.P. control. And it is now Senator-elect Kurt Schaefer.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 5, 2008 | 11:23 a.m.

Mike, it's pointless to argue with Charles. He considers his opinions to be facts and any facts that don't jibe with his to be only opinions.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 12:56 p.m.

Mike Zweifel and Kurt Schaefer made some pledges to the disabled community in this state and he should not forget them now that he was elected. I know the Disability Advocate Community of this state will be watching and exoecting him to follow through.

If you had not noticed Mike Zweifel the world does go around and around in circles just like alot of politicians do as well but the main thing with the world is that in it's revolutions it naturally gets things accomplished where with politicians you have to give the squeaky wheels the grease.

(Report Comment)
Mike Zweifel November 5, 2008 | 2:26 p.m.


I was not a candidate for any office, and therefore did not make any pledges to anyone or any group, so please edit your false statement.

That's fine if you are watching Senator-elect Schaefer. I would expect nothing less from the populace. I'm sure most BoCo and Randolph Dems will be watching him, waiting for the slightest slip-ups and 2012.

I'll be watching Governor-elect Nixon to see what he goes back on, if anything. Fair enough? Paying attention to our elected leaders is what we, as a citizenry, are suppose to do, no matter who is in office.

As the motto of the Columbia Pachyderm Club states, "Free government requires active citizens." I try to follow that as best I can, and I hope more citizens do the same.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 5, 2008 | 2:44 p.m.

Careful Mike, Chuck will tag you with the civic leader label as he has me for my Libertarian involvement, then ask why you aren't doing more than you already are.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 5, 2008 | 2:49 p.m.

PS, I bet Chuck is thinking of Clint Zweifel's candidacy...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 2:53 p.m.

Mike Zweifel yes I should have put "oh and you do know" after your name in the first part of my last posting so you did not feel included which I did not intend to.

I was talking politicians as a whole in my last statement not about you.

To the other "Negative Nellies" posting: Aren't you supposed to be on your employer's time doing your employer's work and not browsing and commenting on news sites like these? Surely your employer would not approve of your wasting of company time and money so you can come here to openly flame people on the internet when you really should be doing your employer's work being you are on their time. For shame if you are taking advantage of your employers.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz November 5, 2008 | 3:08 p.m.

Chuckles, I get my work done, put in more than my time (weekends and work from home), and just received a good performance review. Do you want us to start prying into your private life? Didn't think so, scurry along now.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 5, 2008 | 3:13 p.m.

Charles, I own my company, so I do as I please.

(Report Comment)
Mike Zweifel November 5, 2008 | 3:17 p.m.

Thanks, John, for the warning and clarification.

Civic leader, eh? Does that pay any? If so, I wouldn't mind the label, then. I could use a little extra income to help pay off my mortgage. I don't expect any of the federal bailout-palooza to help me with it, so any extra income is appreciated.

BTW, FWIW, I am not related to Clint Zweifel, unless it is by being very distant cousins. I've never seen him at the family reunions, and no one ever mentioned him, either.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 3:51 p.m.

John Schultz you have tried to in the past and made yourself look quite bad or worse in doing so.

Ayn Rand I've owned many small companies over the years so you are nothing new as starting your own small business is quite easy really. You can do it right out of your own home or out of your car or van for that matter so good you have your own little business how quaint. Welcome to the club.

Mike Zweifel be wary of John Schultz he likes to tell you that you are probably wrong on many things but yet he offers no solutions until you berate him so badly and openly in public that he has no choice to. John is also your glorious leader of the Libertarian party here in Boone County which being "the party leader" qualifies him as a "civic leader" of sorts but he will not own up to that fact but will continually hide or nullify the fact and dodge accountability.

Oh Mike Zweifel I belong to no political party and never have and never will.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 5, 2008 | 3:53 p.m.
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Mike Zweifel November 5, 2008 | 4:33 p.m.


Thank you for the updated entry.

It is your opinion that John is a civic leader, not a known fact. If John does not consider himself a civic leader, then fine with me. As for me, I would consider myself a part-time volunteer political activist (get that on a business card!), not a civic leader. I would consider a civic leader to be someone like Mayor Hindman, the City Council, Fred Parry, other elected officials, the Chamber Association, Hank Waters, and others who are continually out in the community.

I have met John several times, and know who he is. We may disagree on items, but we also agree on items as well. Yes, I expect John to tell me he thinks I am wrong on certain subjects, but I also expect John and myself to work together on certain items, like eminent domain reform. We may have different party labels, but there are some areas of commonality where we can work together as well.

It's your right to not belong to any political party. I don't really care if you do or not, but am glad you are an active citizen.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 7:09 p.m.

Mike Zweifel thank you very much and John and I have agreed in the past on some issues as you say and we disagree on others as well.

I was taught from a very young age in the area of the country where I grew up at that if you are in any position of a elected or nominated leadership position then you are by all commonality of the word a "civic leader" as you are in a position to make things happen.

Where I was raised we called those kinds of people "movers and shakers".

Although some civic leaders might be dead weight to their community or just partially active due to their either elected or nominated into positions the community as a whole looks to them for guidance.

Yes this is the ole mid west and in some areas they still have not accepted words like accountability,dependability and other like words being in there positions they are in there are still citizens no matter where you live that look to any person in a office or with a title as "civic leaders". If all of that makes sense to you Mike Zweifel.

Hope to chat and debate more with you in the future and being free of any political party is nice as I am not tied down by party doctrines,lines or any such barriers and am more able to look at issues from my own points of view instead of having to feel I must go by some party line's rules of thought.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 5, 2008 | 7:17 p.m.
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Ayn Rand November 5, 2008 | 9:11 p.m.

Charles, if you currently have any kind of meaningful employment, you would have cited it by now whenever I or another poster questioned your lifestyle. It's a little late to be trying to blow smoke.

As long as I'm forced to help support you, it is my business.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 6, 2008 | 4:17 a.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 6, 2008 | 4:44 a.m.

Ayn Rand read these pages and think carefully about what you are doing and why you are doing it here:

Read very closely Any Rand.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 6, 2008 | 4:59 a.m.

Uh, which dollars are, Chuck? I pay SSI taxes, and my employer matches them. Ayn is self-employed, so she pays both. Your disability benefits come directly from those funds.

Do you have other sources of income? I have known many SSDI recipients who do, and most without letting SSA know about them. That's a no-no, and could get anyone doing it into jail for a good long time.

Chuck, you brought up the "wasting employers time" issue. Some of us have answered that (I have periods between and during experiments when I have time to post - some more than others. It doesn't stop me from being productive). If we need to talk about our "work" life, perhaps it's not asking too much to talk about yours.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 6, 2008 | 5:31 a.m.
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Ayn Rand November 6, 2008 | 6:27 a.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 6, 2008 | 9:51 a.m.
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Ayn Rand November 6, 2008 | 2:44 p.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 6, 2008 | 4:20 p.m.
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Charles Dudley Jr November 7, 2008 | 4:03 a.m.

Mark Foecking this is not about me. If you want to make it about me bring it to me email inbox you know how to reach me.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 7, 2008 | 4:15 a.m.

A lot of posts in this thread have been deleted. The post you're responding to is older than Nov 6th. The "time" comment I made was in relation to one of those deleted posts, and seems taken quite out of context now.

Let's just never mind...


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 7, 2008 | 4:59 a.m.

Agree Mark and the Web Editor should delete all posts back to where the off railing began.

(Report Comment)

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