In Oil Switch, McCain Drilling for Swing-State Votes

Offshore exploration unpopular in Calif., but strikes chord on high gas prices elsewhere
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2008 1:30 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate John McCain R-Ariz., speaks during a campaign event.   (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
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(Newser) – Negative Californian reaction to John McCain’s offshore drilling flip-flop makes it appear the Republican has lost his strategic marbles, the Los Angeles Times notes—but McCain is gambling that efforts to lower gas prices will trump environmental concerns for voters in states like Michigan and Ohio. He’s “essentially conceding” California, said one consultant, in order to boost his standing elsewhere.

New polls show that independents—thought a key constituency for both McCain and Democrat Barack Obama—support offshore oil exploration by 56%-43%. So while one voter in Santa Barbara might deem Mac’s gas fix “a Band-aid … just pretty idiotic,” those in Cleveland, Detroit, and even Tallahassee might just believe that McCain feels their pump pains more keenly than his Dem rival.