As a result, the Republican campaigns, as well as the Democratic ones, are placing significant emphasis on New England. McCain is especially focusing on the region, allotting two to three days this week to campaign here even though some advisers would prefer that he take New England for granted and focus on California. [George W.] Bush, by contrast, so far has plans to campaign only in Connecticut.
"The New England voter is more independent-minded and more moderate, and the religious right is far less strong here, so that really" gives the advantage to "a candidate like John McCain," said Darrell West, a professor of political science at Brown University. "I'd be shocked if McCain didn't sweep the region. New Hampshire is the most conservative state, and McCain has already" won there by 19 points.
The Bush campaign has come up with an intriguing strategy that may raise eyebrows elsewhere. In conservative South Carolina, Bush backers said McCain was too moderate. But in the more moderate region of New England, Bush supporters plan to say McCain is too conservative.