Obama camp claims 'imposing' lead in early voting
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Barack Obama's campaign said Democratic voters were piling up imposing early voting totals in battleground states, warning that John McCain must win big on election day on Tuesday to catch up.
"The die is being cast as we speak," Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters, saying the Democrat was running strong in swing states Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and others.
"So Senator McCain, on election day is going to have to not just carry the day but carry it convincingly," Plouffe said.
Plouffe also said that the campaign would expand its advertising in the frenetic final days of the campaign into Republican McCain's home state of Arizona, following polls which suggest the race had tightened there.
The campaign would also take out advertising spots over the final weekend in normally Republican states like Georgia, after being encouraged by early voting figures and North Dakota, he said.
Plouffe said that in the crucial swing-state of Florida, Democrats had built a 200,000 strong gap over McCain after early and absentee voting -- reversing the trend from 2004 when President George W. Bush beat John Kerry in the state.
"In 2008, as of last night, we had just about a 200,000 vote edge over the Republicans, which is, obviously, a big change from 2004," Plouffe said.
Republicans went into election day that year with an edge of around 40,000 votes.
In the western swing state of Nevada, 43 percent of Democrats who voted early were either new voters or sporadic voters -- a prized demographic as campaigns seek an edge in close fought states, Plouffe said.
In North Carolina, Plouffe said, 19 percent of Democrats who voted early had never voted in a general election before, bolstering Obama's hopes of bringing large numbers of new voters into the process.
"We very much like what we're seeing in early vote. And obviously, in states like Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina."
The McCain campaign scheduled its own conference call later on Friday to address the state of the race, four days before election day.
"The pundits have written us off much as they have done before, but we are closing my friends, and we are going to win Ohio," McCain said in the crucial midwestern battleground state on Friday.
"We're a few points down ... but we're coming back strong."