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Presidential Candidates Hope Missouri will 'Show' Them the Win

Obama, Biden and Palin all make stops in Missouri on Thursday

Oct. 29, 2008

Story Contact:  Jeffrey Beeson, (573) 882-9144,
L. Marvin Overby, (573) 882-2130,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Show-Me state will host three of the four White House contenders on Thursday; Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and Republican Sarah Palin will make appearances in Missouri. A political expert at the University of Missouri, where Obama will hold a rally on Thursday, says that Missouri is a key battleground and important bellwether state in this year’s presidential election.
In every presidential election since 1904, with the exception of the 1956 election, Missouri has voted for the winner of the election and earned the nickname of a bellwether state. There are 11 electoral votes available in the state. Marvin Overby, professor and Frederick A. Middlebush Chair in political science, said both campaigns know that Missouri could be the deciding factor in the election. 

“There is no other state like Missouri,” Overby said. “Missouri is the southernmost northern state, northernmost southern state, easternmost western state and westernmost eastern state. It is geographically and demographically in the middle. It’s in a unique position that tends to reflect where the rest of the country is politically.”  

Overby said that unlike Illinois, there is no single central urban location in Missouri, and the state is more balanced between urban and rural. Compared with other states, Missouri ranks average in income, education and age. For these reasons, Overby said, Missouri has become a good indicator of the nation’s political attitudes and the presidential candidates will not ignore this.  

“Since the Civil War and the slavery issue, Missouri has been in the position as a bellwether state, and this year is no different,” Overby said. “Missouri is a pivotal state. If a candidate wins Missouri, they win the White House.”