Obama, McCain Aim for Middle Class

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WASHINGTON - The economy shrank in the third quarter, but at annual rate of just three-tenths of one percent. It's just more evidence that the United States is facing a recession.

Now with just five days left before the election, Barack Obama and John McCain are focusing on the economy.

Click play for comments from Regent University School of Government Dean Charles Dunn following this CBN News report.

Candidates Make Final Pitch

A major theme in last night's half-hour Obama infomercial was how a weakening economy wounds the middle class.

And Obama aimed offers of help right at that economic group.

"We…need a rescue plan for the middle class starting with what we can do right now that will have an immediate effect," Obama said.

"As President, here's what I'll do: Cut taxes for every working family making less than $200,000 a year. Give businesses a tax credit for every new employee that they hire right here in the U.S. over the next two years," he said.

There's no exact definition of the middle class -- but it's generally defined as that wide swath of working Americans making somewhere between $30,000 and into the low six figures. And they make up the vast majority of the voting population.

So as McCain argues Obama would be a big tax-and-spend President, he talks mostly about how that would hurt those middle class voters.

"Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse," McCain argued. "Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy. That's a fundamental. If I'm elected President, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. Senator Obama will."

Tight Race?

McCain's arguments may be turning the tide, as all major polls continue to show Obama ahead, but McCain closing in.

McCain volunteer Marlise Stritmatter is banking on it.

"What you have to look at is the trends and what the trends show is that…it's going to be a very close race," she said.

The latest Zogby poll shows McCain within striking distance of Obama, with Obama at 50 percent, McCain 43 percent.

And the Gallup, Rasmussen and Investors Business Daily polls all show Obama just three points ahead.

A Guessing Game

But some analysts are now questioning the art of polling itself. Especially since the size of Obama's lead has varied so widely between major polls in recent weeks.

What the public is learning is that pollsters often just guess about crucial factors.

Voter turnout is probably the most crucial, but pollsters can only estimate it.

This year, most are figuring many more young voters and black voters will turn out because of Obama. But it's just a guess.

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Paul Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

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