Election 2008: Who will be the next president?

It’s crunch time with only one day until the election, and both candidates have been spending significant time in crucial battleground states.

In the 10 days from Oct. 18-28, John McCain, Barack Obama and their running mates have been to the key swing states more than once. The top three states visited were Pennsylvania (10 visits), Florida (10) and Ohio (7). Followed by Colorado with six visits and North Carolina and Virginia with five visits. States with four visits or less were Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Indiana and Iowa.

According to RealClearPoltics.com, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Indiana and Montana are the top five states still up for grabs. Ohio, which has voted Republican in the past two presidential elections and is widely considered the most vital battleground state, is leaning toward Obama.

In the most recent Gallup Poll (Oct. 23-26), voters were asked, “Regardless of whom you support, and trying to be as objective as possible, who do you think will win the presidential election in November?” Seven in 10 Americans expect Obama to win. Since June, the percentage of those who said they think Obama will win has grown from 42 percent to 51 percent. Forty-nine percent of McCain supporters say that Obama will win as well. And as expected, 94 percent of Obama supporters think Obama will win. (For more information on the Gallup Polls, please visit www.gallup.com.)

With three of the battleground states being Ohio, Missouri and Indiana, the rural vote may just be more important this year than any other year. Along with those states and Iowa, the agriculture impact may determine who wins the election.

The economic impact among these battleground states alone is vast. For example, the market value of agriculture production for Iowa is $12.3 billion, which ranks third in the U.S. The market value for Ohio is $4.3 billion. One in 6 people in Ohio have an agriculture-related job, which includes wholesaling and retailing, farm production and marketing and processing. Ohio has 75,700 farms, averaging 186 acres in size per farm.

Over 90 percent of Iowa’s land is devoted to agriculture. It has 88,400 farms, the average farm size is 356 acres and Iowa agriculture employs 500,000 people.

Agriculture is more than just farming. It is a gigantic industry that includes a variety of businesses such as manufacturers, retailers, dealers and service providers. The four states mentioned above are vital to the nation’s agriculture industry.

Regardless of who you support and trying to be as objective as possible, who do you think will win the presidential election in November? Election day is tomorrow. Don’t forget to be an educated voter.

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