Mackerel Flats' Folks Leaning Toward Obama? Who Knew?

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Around 11 this morning, KPCC 89.3 FM's AirTalk show presented a call-in segment called "I Didn't Know My Neighbor Was Voting For (Fill In The Blank)!" Host Larry Mantle wanted to know whether anyone's neighbors put political signs on their front lawns that surprised the listener.

First caller Garrett of Newport Beach said he is seeing a lot more Obama for President signs in front of houses in his neighborhood (including his own) than he would have expected in the heart of conservative Orange County.

This has led to stony silence among formerly friendly neighbors, Garrett reported, and at least one protest sign posted directly across the street from his house, where a neighbor erected one with "SARAH!" in large type and "mccain" in small type.

Host Mantle said he was on Balboa Island over the weekend and encountered many more Obama signs than he expected also, making one wonder if that was the seed that planted the idea for the segment.

Of course, it was the Balboa Bay Club that uncharacteristically served as the site of a Barack Obama fundraiser back in July.

Chatting up Irvine communications consultant William Wood at a recent campaign function, the MoveOn.org and Obama volunteer mentioned how his internal list has now reached 75 Republicans who have told him they will vote Democratic for the first time in their lives. He added that the Democratic Party offices are receiving many more calls this election than four years ago during the John Kerry campaign. That is not the only difference.

"Before people would call and ask what can they do," said Wood. "Now they are telling us what they are going to do. And we say, 'Go ahead.' It is very grass-roots."

This may mean nothing on Nov. 4, but at least you know it's out there.

Of course, there is still time for much more ugliness that can sway an election. Donna Smith, a nurse who appeared in Michael Moore's Sicko, was in town to drum up support for local Democratic congressional challengers like Debbie Cook (facing Dana Rohrabacher) and Steve Young (vs. John Campbell). Smith had just arrived from Las Vegas, where she encountered a "Stop Obama" tour bus and speaker who said the Democratic presidential nominee "will steal your money like someone going into your house to steal your television."

So, yeah, that's out there, too.


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