2008 will mark the ninth presidential election that I have voted in. Prior to this year, I had never contributed to a presidential campaign, worked on a presidential campaign, displayed a political sign in my yard, worn a button for a candidate, or put a bumper sticker on my car. This year, I have done all these things on behalf of Barack Obama. Yesterday, I went canvassing in Janesville, Wisconsin on behalf of Obama. Two weeks ago, I canvassed in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.
The McCain supporters I encountered were much friendlier this week than they were two weeks ago. In Hales Corners, the Republicans seemed angrier. One elderly lady asked "How can you vote for him?" A middle aged man said "We're not fans of that guy." This week, one guy came to the door swearing at his dogs, but smiled warmly when he saw my Obama button and said, "We're voting for McCain, but good luck with that socialism." His neighbor two doors down said he was voting Republican, but he thanked me for my "enthusiasm."
I can't help but think that the warmer attitude I encountered this week reflected a sense of resignation. Over the last two weeks, the bad economic news had not slacked, the McCain campaign has careened from issue to issue in the hopes of finding a message, and high profile Republicans have been abandoning their party's nominee with unprecedented frequency. With the McCain campaign giving up on a state that the Democrats barely carried in 2004, the Republicans I encountered in Janesville may just be demonstrating the good sportsmanship of people who know they have been beaten fair and square.
Next weekend I am heading down to Indiana to see whether the Hoosiers will vote Democratic for the first time since 1964.