Well the rather depressing news from the most recent Gallup poll on the US presidential election contest is that McCain has taken the lead with 50% to Obama´s 46%. This is the first time for months that the Republicans have been ahead though it is worth pointing out that the poll has a fairly hefty potential margin of error.
Apparently last week Obama appeared on ABC´s This Week program and accidentally referred to his "Muslim faith", he was corrected at the time but it hasn´t stopped his detractors from taking it out of context and trying to read more into it. For the record Obama has already stated he is a Christian.
McCain surprised everyone when he chose Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska as his running mate; apparently he met her only once before making this decision, so no political image manipulation going on there then. This announcement seems to be the main reason he is gaining ground on Obama.
Palin is a self described "hockey mom" and most of the news so far has been about her pregnant 17 year old daughter who was knocked up by a self-described redneck but apparently she thinks it´s all okay because they are getting married. The thing is her daughter is irrelevant, what the news hounds should be focussing on is her complete lack of qualifications for the role of Vice President, especially when you consider at 72, John McCain could well pass away in office. Palin has been Governor of Alaska for less than 2 years and it´s the third smallest state in the US in terms of population. Mind you with Bush as president competence for the role is obviously not a big concern for many Americans.
Speculation as to why she was selected focuses on the fact she is under 50, her support for the anti-abortion campaign, the fact she is extremely pro-gun ownership and of course she is also very religious. All of which makes her very popular with the extreme right wing and helps to solidify support for McCain who is considered a maverick by some sectors of the Republican party.
As the housing market crisis continues unabated in the US and unemployment continues to grow the last thing they need is another Republican president committed to making the rich richer and screw the poor. The general consensus is that Obama will still win but it´s going to be tight. This seems strange when you consider how awful the Bush presidency has been, you´d think it would be a no-brainer that the Democrats will win this time round but worryingly it appears far from certain.