Running Mates: The Next Big Announcement

By Samantha Hayes in Washington, DC

We passed the 100 day mark Monday.  It sounds like a milestone, doesn’t it?  After what some have called an excruciatingly long campaign, we are now a little more than three months away from Election Day. And in politics, that’s a relatively short amount of time to win support from voters. It is, however, plenty of time to lose it.  That’s why the next big announcement from the two major candidates must be particularly strategic.

As it stands now, the race for the White House is close. The CNN average of recent polls of registered voters shows only a five point separation between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama. Obama has the advantage. There is a USA Today/Gallup poll showing McCain ahead by four points, but the survey interviewed likely voters, not necessarily registered voters. The CNN average shows 15 percent of registered voters were unsure. Those folks can expect to be targeted by both campaigns vigorously in the next 99 days.

By now, many voters have formed their impressions of the Presidential candidates. That doesn’t mean their choices can’t change, but it might take something significant for that to happen.  There are a few more big events to come. The presidential debates, the party conventions, and the announcements of the candidates’ running mates. While many political observers say it’s only the nominee who matters to voters, running mates have arguably won or lost elections in the past.

Anticipation has been building on that front for a while, as news organizations watch the candidates closely for any indication that an announcement may be coming.  Considering both candidates’ negatives: McCain’s age, and Obama’s relative inexperience,  the selection of their respective vice presidential candidates could be significant as we enter the last few months of the race.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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