Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Final Stretch

Today Barack Obama and John McCain unleashed massive get-out-the-vote operations in more than a dozen battleground states. They are making millions of telephone calls, sending out last minute mailings and have thousands of volunteers out in the neighborhoods going door-to-door, in a frenzied, fitting climax to a record-shattering $1 billion campaign.

Together, both campaigns will spend about $8 per presidential vote.

With just two days to go, most national polls show Barack Obama out ahead of John McCain. Individual state surveys suggest that the Democrat's path to the requisite 270 electoral votes — and perhaps far beyond — is much easier to navigate than McCain's. The polls show that the six closest states are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio. All of these states were won by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and have been considered red states. They have been made competitive by Barack Obama and his campaign's impressive organization. Senator Obama has also been helped by a record-shattering fundraising.

The Obama campaign is also running very aggressive ground games elsewhere, including Iowa, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia.

Will it be enough? That is the question.

In resonse the RNC is rolling out battleground robo-calls that include Hillary Clinton's criticism of Obama from the primary. Clinton is heard saying: "In the White House, there is no time for speeches and on-the-job training. Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002."

The McCain campaign and the Republican Party have now launched their much vaunted "72-hour program", a strategy that many political observers credit for giving Bush victories in 2000 and 2004.

The question is will it be enough? I have to say, I am worried. The Obama campaign has been disciplined and well run, but there is a lot of history they are trying to overcome. With this background the McCain campaign and the RNC have dramatically increased their spending in the campaign's final days and now are matching the Obama campaign ad for ad, in key battleground markets in states such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The thing about the American election is you don't have to win everywhere, you just have to win in key places.

The Obama campaign has been preparing for this ever since they won the nomination, and have built an impressive ground game. I just hope it's enough.

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