US Elections 2008
Red Blue Road Trip
Two Americans hit the road through the 18 US swing states.
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2008 06:24 GMT

As the 2008 presidential election approaches two Americans hit the road through the 18 swing states to find out what core values US citizen are considering as they chose between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Each day for 18 days producers Graham Meriwether and Chris Henderson are creating portraits of the voices and faces of a different US community to reveal the issues that lie behind their votes.

Their trip leads them through swing states such as Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Colorado, as well as the diverse communities of Las Vegas and New Orleans.

As the countdown runs, the Red Blue Road Trip hears out those people whose votes will become crucial in the outcome of the upcoming US elections.

Day 17: Reston, VA

Reston, Fairfax County, Virginia
Population: 58,439
Median Household Income: $103, 900
2004 result (county): Kerry 53% Kerry 46%

An edge city on the outskirts of Washington, DC, Reston is among the most wealthy communities in the country.

The population is remarkably diverse with almost a quarter having been born outside the United States.

Established in 1964, the planned community was designed to keep open space available throughout the city and allow people to live in the community comfortably throughout their lives.

Day 16: Waynesboro, VA

Waynesboro, Waynesboro County, Virginia
Population: 21,656
Median Household Income: $36,700
2004 result (county): Bush 64% Kerry 35%

A conservative town alongside the Appalachian Trail, Waynesboro is nestled in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Men work mostly in construction, women often in the health care industry.

Waynesboro is struggling economically but still proud of its modest yet sturdy town.

Although Virginia has voted with the Republicans since the 1950s, polls show lean towards Obama in the closing days of the election.

Day 15: Reidsville, NC

Reidsville, Rockingham County, North Carolina
Population: 14,981
Median Household Income: $36,100
2004 result (county): Bush 61% Kerry 39%

Reidsville is a small town in rural North Carolina filled with rich contrasts. There are slightly more whites than blacks and a growing Latino population. The city contains a wealthy section with palaitial homes as well as a low income section with abandoned storefronts. After several plant closures hurt the local economy, the town is trying to rebound through the the revitalization of its downtown.

Day 14: Asheville, NC

Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina
Population: 73,875
Median Household Income:  $36,389
2004 (County): Bush 50% Kerry 49%

After losing people for years, Asheville has been one of the boom towns of the new South.

It's revitalised downtown area, which allows no chain stores, has become a model for surrounding communities and attracted a growing counter-cultural population.

With blacks making up nearly 20% of the population, Asheville has been one of Obama's targets as he tries to move reliably Republican North Carolina into his column.

Day 13: Van Buren, MO

Van Buren, Carter County, Missouri
Population: 820
Median Income: $22,500
2004 County: Bush 65% Kerry 35%

Van Buren is an extremely small town in the Ozarks nestled on the Current River in southeast Missouri.

The river provides the majority of the town's economy through tourism, as the local timber industry has cut back with the decline in the housing market.

The town is deeply conservative as is the surrounding area which will be key if McCain is to win the state.

Day 12: Springfield, MO

Springfield, Greene County, Missouri
Population: 154,777
Median Income: $32,178
2004 County: Bush 62% Kerry 37%

Springfield is the third largest metropolis in Missouri, but is remarkably more conservative than the two most populous cities: St. Louis and Kansas City.

It is home to nearly twenty different colleges and universities the largest of which, Missouri State, makes up nearly 10% of the population.

Missouri has supported the winner of the presidential election in every year but one since 1904.


Day 11: Thoreau, NM

Thoreau, McKinley County, New Mexico
Population: 1,749
Median Income: $49,300
2004 Election:(county): Kerry 63% Bush 36
Thoreau is a desert town split between part of the Navajo Nation and a residential neighborhood made up of Anglos and Latinos.

Although the median income has increased significantly in the last decade, the town faces rising crime, unemployment, and poverty rates. 

New Mexico narrowly voted for Gore in the 2000 presidential election, but swung to Bush four years later.

For more information and previous episodes of the Red Blue Road trip go to: http://redblueroadtrip.blogspot.com/

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.