Some Things Stay the Same: Omaha Paper Endorses McCain

OMAHA, 6:09 p.m. CDT – The winds of change might be sweeping this city, but don’t count on the reliably conservative daily newspaper to get swept away.

The Omaha World-Herald on Sunday endorsed John McCain for president.

Perhaps acknowledging the unusually tight presidential race – most polls show it’s a dead heat in the Omaha area – the paper gave more than half its op-ed page to columnists arguing against the endorsement. Those columnists: Barack Obama himself, and Mary Pipher, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and author of the best-selling book, “Reviving Ophelia.”

Said The World-Herald editorial: “…in several key respects, the Democratic nominee’s approach is at great variance from long-standing principles that guide this newspaper’s editorial page.”

The newspaper’s editorial board argued McCain has a better record of bipartisanship, a greater respect for the sanctity of the private sector, a more pragmatic philosophy on Supreme Court justices and a greater time spent in public office.

If the latest Rasumussen polling is correct, the presidential race in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District – which overlays the core of the Omaha metropolitan area – is statistically tied.

Nebraska allots its electoral votes proportionally, so if Omaha’s congressional district goes Democratic, Obama could snag one of Nebraska’s votes. If he does, it would be the first Nebraska electoral vote given to a Democrat since 1964.

There’s considerable debate about whether newspaper endorsements move voters. The World-Herald touts its “penetration rate” – newspaper speak for the percentage of people who subscribe to a paper within its circulation area – as being the highest among major U.S. metropolitan areas. In other words, a lot of people in Omaha subscribe to The World-Herald.

Will its endorsement put McCain over the line?

More from Omaha, including stories and photos of voters, throughout the evening.

— BY BRAD DAVIS

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