In presidential elections since the Depression, Indiana has been the lone industrial state where the elephants always roam. For all the talk of independent Hoosiers, the state has gone Republican in 16 of the last 17 races for the White House, with Lyndon Johnson in 1964 the sole exception. In 2004, the networks began painting Indiana Republican red exactly two minutes after the polls closed with the breathless verdict justified by George W. Bush's eventual 60 to 39 percent rout of John Kerry.
So what was Sarah Palin doing in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville Friday afternoon motivating the GOP faithful? Why are Barack Obama and the Republican National Committee advertising heavily on Indianapolis television? How come most recent polls (there have been only a handful of statewide surveys this month) show Obama within striking distance of the lead? Why has Indiana become 2008's most unlikely battleground state?