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Updated: 6:36 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, 2008 | Posted: 4:37 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, 2008
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ROCK HILL, S.C. —
Now, the real campaign for the White House begins.
With only two months until Election Day, local political experts predict this race will go down to the wire.
"It's a close race, and it's going to stay close," said Karen Kedrowski, who heads the political science department at Winthrop University in Rock Hill.
Because of the weak economy, an unpopular war and a president with poor approval ratings, experts said this should've been an easy victory for Democrat Barack Obama.
Kedrowski said the tight race between Obama and John McCain is a plus for the Republican who's managed to cast himself as a fighter and a rebel, often against his own party.
"I think that says great things about John McCain, that he's able to keep this a close race," she said.
Kedrowski said McCain should win handily in both Carolinas, although North Carolina was once thought to be "in play" and a possible win for Democrats.
She said polls have not tightened recently, and they show McCain with a solid lead in the Tar Heel state.
South Carolina was never a target for the Democratic Party, which has not spent a lot of money there.
However, nationally, Kedrowski said, it's independents who will elect the next president, people in so-called swing states who may not have watched a minute of the conventions but will vote.
She said both Obama and McCain must continue to reach out to those people in the middle, people who vote differently in every election.
"I think what they have to do is really connect with voters about their policy positions, and that their policy positions include things that will make a difference in people's lives," Kedrowski said.
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