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Franklin & Marshall professor gave analysis and predictions

By David Woglom

“Given the current situation, the Republicans will be hard pressed to win the presidential race in 2008,” answered G. Terry Madonna to a question from one of the more than 150 students and other members of the campus community who attended a presentation Thursday night in Oechsle Hall.

Madonna is one of Pennsylvania’s foremost experts on presidential politics, and has provided analysis to many newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and has been interviewed and quoted by ABC News, CNN, and CBS News.

During the program, entitled “The 2008 Election: Who Will Win the War to Control the White House and Congress?” Madonna reviewed the statistics and factors that determined the winner in past presidential elections. Both of current President George Bush’s two victories were extremely close, with his victory over Al Gore being the most contested victory in presidential history. Given that all polls indicate that the Iraq War is the number one issue among voters, he told the audience that history shows that, in today’s analysis, whoever evolves as the Democratic candidate next spring will be favored to end the Republican’s eight year reign in controlling the White House.

When asked as to which candidate each political party would choose to oppose in November 2008, Madonna indicated that the Republicans would like to face Hillary Clinton, while the Democrats would like to oppose Rudy Giuliani. The reason for each opinion is that, while Clinton and Giuliani both have strong attributes, they also have detriments to their personal and professional history that their opponent will highlight.

The media will also play a significant role in the outcome of the election. As an example, despite Clinton’s current lead, the media coverage seems to concentrate on the other candidates, and to highlight their efforts. This is not a bias, Madonna stated, but rather a desire of the media to create a closer race, which will provide more news stories to report on.

Given that there is no incumbent president running for reelection, Madonna told the audience that this will be the most publicized and heavily analyzed presidential race in the history of the United States. More so than ever, the first two primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, may reduce the number of candidates, and depending on who wins those two states, may drastically alter the balance of the primary races.

Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College, was speaking at a program sponsored by the government and law department, the Kirby Government and Law Society, and the Meyner Center for State and Local Government.

David Woglom is the associate director for public service at the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government.

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