Bruce DuMont, host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show "Beyond the Beltway" was back in Youngstown Sunday to get a pulse of this area's voters on the eve of the historic presidential election. DuMont was at the studios of WKBN-AM 570, which airs his show every Sunday, where he discussed the election with local observers and took calls from around the country.
His guests were David Johnson, chairman of the Columbiana County Republican Party, and this writer in the first hour, and local WKBN talk show hosts Dan Rivers and Robert Mangino in the second hour. Talk show host Ron Verb interacted with the audience.
As he has done in the past, DuMont used this region to get a sense of what voters are thinking. He believes that the outcome of Tuesday's balloting, especially in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, could provide a clear picture of what will happen in Ohio.
Polls released Sunday showed the Buckeye State still a toss-up between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. The predominantly Democratic Mahoning and Trumbull counties are crucial to Obama's victory. If he hits the 60 percent threshold, he will have the momentum to carry this battleground state. Republicans are fighting hard to ensure that McCain scores in the high 40s in the Valley.
The GOP is also aware that older, white, blue-collar voters still aren't entirely sold on Obama, whose father was a black man from Africa and mother a white woman from Kansas. Even at this late date, the Democrat's race remains the big unknown factor in the election.
It will be interesting to see how well Obama does in this region compared with Hillary Clinton's overwhelming win in the March Democratic primary.