NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

A historian previews the election

October 8, 2008
KEYWORDS
Jerry Handfield hasnâ??t lived in Indiana since 2001, when he moved to Washington to take a similar job overseeing that stateâ??s archives.

But Handfield still keeps tabs on Indiana. So much so that he checks the Weather Channel when tornadoes rip through the Midwest, hoping a storage site on Indianapolisâ?? east side isnâ??t hit. The former RCA record manufacturing plant near 30th Street and Shadeland Avenue, where copies of the state constitution and other critical documents are stored, is no match for a tornado, he fears.

As a student of Indiana, the historian predicts the state will tilt toward Barack Obama come election day.

Economic conditions are so bad, particularly for workers tied to Detroitâ??s auto industry, that voters will overlook their characteristically conservative patterns and go for the liberal-leaning Obama, Handfield says.

Come Nov. 5, the day after the election, â??The surprise theyâ??ll see is how many people actually voted for serious change in leadership,â?? he says.

Is Handfield a Democrat promoting Obama? No, he says.

Handfield, who serves at the pleasure of both Republicans and Democrats, has taken pains to avoid a party affiliation, and has voted for presidential candidates in each party, including the Republican currently occupying the office. He worked for Democratic candidate George McGovern because he knew him from school, but still considers Eisenhower a personal hero.

So, how do you feel? Polls show the race between Obama and John McCain is too close to call. Which direction will Hoosiers take?
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