With Bush Advancing, Missouri May Be a Battleground All but Conquered.
[Missouri's] 11 electoral votes are certainly a prize worth winning, and Missouri was listed as a battleground state by both parties as the campaign began. It has symbolic significance as well. In every presidential election over the last century, with the single exception of 1956, Missouri has gone with the winner, usually by a margin closely approximating the national figure.
Neither wholly Southern nor wholly Northern, fully Eastern nor fully Western, it is America writ small. Most of its demographic characteristics - its residents' age, marital status, income and educational levels - mirror the nation's.
John R. Petrocik, chairman of the political science department at the University of Missouri, a national authority on voting, said that "the election is pretty much resolved here."
"So far Bush has told a better story," Professor Petrocik said. "And John Kerry hasn't explained his vision for the country, what he would do differently.
"I still think Iraq could elect Kerry and defeat Bush. It's Kerry's magic bullet, but he hasn't really fired it yet. He did a good job in his speech in New York a week or so ago, but he didn't keep at it. He should have made the same speech again and again, five times in the next week. You don't win the presidency with a laundry list."
Missouri is a little more conservative than the country as a whole, so as the country shifted toward Mr. Bush in the days after the Republican convention, Missouri seemingly shifted a little more.
Social conservatism in rural areas, reinforced by intense patriotism that tends to favor Mr. Bush, plus social and economic conservatism in the outer suburbs of the big cities, could add up to a majority for the president.