Following the Democratic and Republican national conventions, we know much more about the two men fighting it out in the US presidential race, and what they would do in office - but what does the electorate itself want?
In My Senator, My Vote the BBC's Robin Lustig travels to each of the candidates' home states to meet four ordinary Americans, and finds out what issues have determined their choices.
In Part One, we go to Illinois - the state that Barack Obama represents as Senator. Two middle class residents of Chicago explain why they are on opposite sides of the political fence, and foreign policy looms large in their considerations.
Should the United States deal with the rest of the world from a position of overwhelming strength, or would its people be better served by a more conciliatory approach? As Robin discovers, it's not only a question of international strategy, but also one of national identity.
Both programmes lift the lid on typical Americans' lives, highlighting the kind of everyday hopes and fears that will help decide who goes to the White House.
Each programme has a sting in the tail however - when Robin asks his subjects to sit down and debate their choices for president. Whose beliefs will best stand up to scrutiny? And will any voter change the other's mind? Find out in My Senator, My Vote.
First broadcast 17 September 2008
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