Watching one of the Sunday talk shows last week I was struck by the comment of the talking head who reflected back on a 2004 interview with President Bush in the closing days of the campaign. He said that after the interview the President pointed at southeastern Ohio and said that is where he would win re-election. His prediction had to do with confidence that his campaign ground game could turn out voters. On Election Day 2004 his prediction was confirmed.
So now after all the campaigning, spending and debates it comes down to turnout. Here in North Carolina Barack Obama has had the playing field to himself for most of the election. His spending and organization is dwarfing any previous presidential campaign in North Carolina. His allies in ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), Moveon.org and others have been aggressively registering and voting potential supporters.
John McCain has come late to the fight in North Carolina. He now has an active campaign, spending and appearances in North Carolina. If I had to guess, the McCain campaign has no central point like southeastern Ohio to point to and say that is where he will win. Instead he has to compete across the country due to Obama's overwhelming money (over $600 million) advantage this year. The question is will the McCain ground game carry the day? Will it turn out the voters he needs to win in North Carolina?
Looking at the early voting numbers it appears Democrats jumped off to an early lead but in the last several days Republicans have started making up ground. You can see for yourself in the Civitas analysis Early Voting Trends. On November 4th we will see who had the better ground game.