Voters get crush of ads, calls
Barack Obama and John McCain uncorked massive get-out-the-vote operations in more than a dozen battleground states yesterday - millions of telephone calls, mailings, and door-knockings in a frenzied, fitting climax to a record-shattering $1 billion campaign.
On the eve of tomorrow's election, most national polls show Obama ahead of McCain, and state surveys suggest the Democrat's path to the requisite 270 electoral votes - and perhaps far beyond - is much easier to navigate than McCain's. Polls show the six closest states are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio - all won by Bush and made competitive by Obama's record-shattering fund-raising.
All that's left now for the candidates is to make sure people vote tomorrow - if they haven't already. About 27 million absentee and early votes were cast in 30 states as of Saturday night, more than ever. Democrats outnumbered Republicans in pre-Election Day voting in key states. That has Democrats - and even some Republicans - privately questioning whether McCain can overtake Obama, even if GOP loyalists turn out in droves tomorrow.
"This is off the charts in some of these states," said Michael P. McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University.
As the campaign closes, voters were being inundated with a crush of television ads and automated phone calls.
The Republican National Committee rolled out a call that includes Hillary Clinton's criticism of Obama during the Democratic primaries: "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."
McCain and the RNC dramatically ramped up their spending in the campaign's final days, and now are matching Obama ad for ad, if not exceeding him, in key battleground markets in states such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
After months of planning, the Republican Party launched the last stage of its vaunted "72-hour program," when volunteers descend on competitive states for the final stretch.
Democrats unleashed their "persuasion army" of backers scouring their own backyards to encourage people to back Obama in the campaign's waning hours.