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America votes

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Hello again...

In the freezing cold of a New Hampshire winter in January, I stood, and along with absolutely everyone else predicted that Barack Obama was going to win the primary there, and take a significant step towards winning his party's nomination.

US Democratic presidential candidate, Illinois Senator, Barack Obama
Barack Obama's election to lose?

All the polls said it would be so, and so did pundits far, far wiser than me.

And Hillary Clinton promptly went and won.

Spool forward 10 months to now, and it's late October and the fall in Washington DC, and this marathon race reaches its denouement next Tuesday.

And all the polls and indicators, again, suggest Barack Obama is going to win the biggest prize of all, the Presidential election.

So having been burnt once, some notes of caution.

The polls could be wrong - the undecided could fall in behind McCain - a latent racism could be out there which will cost Obama dear.

Republican presidential candidate, Arizona Senator, John McCain
John McCain says he has the momentum to win

Some mighty cock-up will happen. Who knows what?


But. But. But... you just sense that everything, everything is pointing in Obama's direction.

In my travels over the past week from Nevada to Missouri to Washington to North Carolina, you just sense that Obama has all the momentum.

His campaign seems energised and is driving forwards.

The on-the-ground organisation, previously the forte of the Republicans, is simply formidable - the voting intentions of new voters look strongly pro-democrat.

And meantime, reports are seeping out that there is squabbling in the McCain camp over strategy, and over Sarah Palin.

Virginia - state of play

Virginia is a state that is typical of the story of this election so far - the last time it voted for a Democrat for President was in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson defeated US Sen Barry Goldwater.

Republican U S vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov, Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin - maker or breaker?

It should, in theory, be McCain country - after all, the state is what you might call a military state.

Fifteen per cent of the electorate have served their country in uniform, and Norfolk, its largest port, is home to the biggest navy base in the world.

So why is the state now "leaning Obama", as the pollsters have it?

Gillian Hargreaves has been investigating.

She's been hearing from former Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan. Oh, and watching some pig races - but I'm afraid I'm not going to reveal the outcome of Oinkbama versus Pig McCain.

You'll have to watch for that.

And over here...?

Peter Hain and Michael Howard
The Obama and McCain camp supporters...

What does it mean for Britain?

The former leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard, will tell us why he's rooting for a McCain victory.

And in the blue corner (remember this is America, the political colours are different there) is Peter Hain, the former Welsh Secretary on why Obama is the man for the job.

That's all on the Politics Show, this Sunday at 12 noon.

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