VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.
presidential election in the United States is November fourth. So we hear a lot
of people using expressions about the election.
opinion studies have asked Americans whom they will vote for. Experts say some
states are likely to support John McCain, the Republican Party candidate. Others
are likely to support Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's candidate.
say there are a few states where the support for the two candidates is almost
equal. These are called swing states, because they could go either way. They
are also called battleground states. Experts believe the presidential
election will be decided by the votes in those few states.
expressions used in horse racing are also used in election campaigns. The running
mate is the presidential candidate's choice for vice president. The front-runner
is the leading candidate. If both candidates have equal support, they are
said to be running neck and neck. And candidates enter the home
stretch when the race is near the end.
candidates are now on the campaign trail, traveling around the country. They
have favorite subjects that they talk about to different crowds. This is called
a stump speech. Writer William Safire says the expression is two hundred
years old. He says candidates many years ago spoke while standing on the stump
of a tree in front of a crowd. Another expression, on the stump, is to
make these speeches to different groups.
candidates carry out what is called a grassroots campaign. This involves
voters at the local community level. The candidate talks to people and accepts
financial donations for the campaign. This may involve getting the support of the
political party's rank and file members. This expression is also used in
the military and in trade unions. It means the members who form the major part
of a group, but not its leaders or officers.
people hope that presidential campaigns are fair. But some campaigns include mudslinging.
No, the candidates do not throw dirt at each other. But they may try to destroy
their opponent's good name by saying bad things or through misleading
advertisements. Spreading lies about someone is called a smear campaign.
American presidential elections have ended in a landslide victory. One
candidate wins a huge majority of electoral votes. Other recent elections have
been extremely close. We will know the results of this election in a few weeks.
This VOA Special English program was
written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Barbara Klein. You can find more WORDS AND
THEIR STORIES at voaspecialenglish.com.