Global Politics

Polls open in battleground state of Pennsylvania

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MUSIC, CHORUS SINGS: Overture, light the lights. This is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part We know every part by heart. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Of course Americans know every part by heart. It's their democracy, they're voting today. All over America polls are open. This is the day, Election Day, in 2008 ? 877-8MY-TAKE if you want to participate in America's Exit Poll. Exit Poll, you say? Of course. DOUGLAS: Hi, this is Douglas from New Jersey. What's interesting at 6:30 in the morning here in New Jersey I ? I'm driving to the train station. I've passed four different polling places and there's a line of cars about a half mile long outside of every one of them. Never seen it like this before. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: So what was on your mind? What did you see as you passed the polls or if you're standing in line, give us a call at 877-8MY-TAKE. Joining us is Political Director Andrea Bernstein here in the studio. You're seeing some of that around New York on your way in. ANDREA BERNSTEIN: Lines - we've had reports here of lines in places in Manhattan where you've never seen them ? Inwood. I saw lines in Lower Manhattan on my way here. In 25 years of watching the polls at 6 in the morning, I've never seen a line before the polls opened, until today. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Joining us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is Peter Crimmins, from WHYY, the Public Radio station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Peter, thanks for being with us. PETER CRIMMINS: Thanks a lot, good to be here. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: I want to remind people, my co-host Adaora Udoji is down in Atlanta, Georgia, these recently anointed toss-up states. She's on her way to a precinct. She'll be joining us later on in the hour with an America's Exit Poll report, live from a long line down in Georgia. What's the scene in Philadelphia, Peter? PETER CRIMMINS: Well, we're seeing lines here that we haven't seen before. It's ? the polls are just opening, or just about to open now, and there's over 100 people standing here in, in West Philadelphia. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: So the polls pretty much have Pennsylvania as a solid Obama win. I see Obama by seven, Obama by 6, Obama by 14, according to the Zogby Poll. How do you think polls and, and late polls have affected the campaign in Pennsylvania? PETER CRIMMINS: Well, people are excited about Obama who were expecting an Obama win here. McCain is, is putting a lot of - has been putting a lot of work in the last few days in Pennsylvania and his numbers show that, reflect that. But at least here in Philadelphia ? I'm actually standing ? at, at an Italian restaurant where ? less than a week ago the Phillies won the World Series, and that excitement of win, of a baseball win, is, is, is bleeding over into the election. A lot of people here, at least on World Series night, said now that the Phillies won, let's see Obama win. And I ? I know ? that excitement is carrying over to today. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: I'd say that the polls probably are favoring Obama over a Phillies win, that it, that the Phillies win ? [WHISTLES/HUBBUB] - was much more of a long shot, you know, earlier in the baseball season, but it's an interesting comparison and it's an interesting dynamic. Talk about the congressional seats in Pennsylvania that appear to be in play. PETER CRIMMINS: Well, the congressional seats are, are in play. There's a few here in, in the suburbs of Philadelphia that are strongly Republican, have been strongly Republican for a long time, and they are being closely watched because they, they seem to be threatened. But there are plenty of pockets in ? Pennsylvania with very strong Republican voters, and I'm sure Republicans will take those. Overall, it's really a toss-up. You know, the state is sort of divided sort of strangely into a T, the center of the state and the very top tier of the state have always [ ? ] Republican, and the lower left and the lower right of the state, mostly Philadelphia and Pittsburg, have always leaned blue. And so, that's kind of where the battleground lines are. JOHN HOCKENBERRY: You know, it's always appeared to me as though Pennsylvania must be the most difficult state to poll because if a few people don't call you back from Scranton or don't call you back from the Philly suburbs, your sample must change extraordinarily. Pennsylvania is in the showcase for one other reason. It did not have early voting, and yet the campaign was so intense in Pennsylvania. You're seeing a tsunami of turnout. Are you prepared for that? Is there going to be trouble at some of these precincts? PETER CRIMMINS: That's the concern. That is a concern. I know Governor Rendell, our Governor, Ed Rendell did go on television, on the radio yesterday, pleading with people to consider voting in the middle of the day, on off-peak hours. He said that most polling places are designed to accommodate about a 60 percent turnout, and that some places were expecting an 80 percent turnout, and ? [OVERTALK] JOHN HOCKENBERRY: And some precincts are actually anticipating a 100 ? are being told to be ready for a 100 percent turnout. Peter Crimmins, thanks so much for joining us. PETER CRIMMINS: My pleasure. JOHN HOCHENBERRY: From Philadelphia, Peter Crimmins, at WHYY in Philadelphia. [CLIP/SINGING, WITH CHORUS] Right here in River City With a capital T and that rhymes with C. And that stands for Fool. We've surely got trouble ? [END OF CLIP]

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