The Final Lap

McCain edges up in the polls, while Obama focuses in on states Bush won in 2004

from the candidates this election eve and states like Montana that weren’t in play a couple of weeks ago are now considered up for grabs, according to MSNBC.

State polls show McCain leading slightly by one in Missouri, three in North Carolina and two in Ohio, reports the MSNBC and Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. The Arizona Senator has also made gains among political independents and middle-income voters, according to a poll published Sunday (Nov. 2) by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Even though McCain is narrowing the gap, electoral projection maps published at fivethirtyeight.com show that if McCain wins Florida and Ohio and Obama only wins the states that Sen. John Kerry or former Vice President Al Gore won, than McCain’s chances of winning are still slim without Colorado. Bush won Colorado in 2004, but Obama has a five point lead in Colorado, according the Mason-Dixon Poll.

Early Voting Makes a Difference

Early Voting is playing an important part in showing the impact of the African American vote during the election. McCain’s campaign believes that the polls favor Obama because they place too much weight on a high voter turnout from African Americans, young voters and first time voters.

In Southern states like North Carolina and Georgia, early voting has created a surge of Black voters. Obama will be visiting several southern states today including Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Black voters in North Carolina made up 26.1 percent, of the early voters, according to the Charlotte Observer. In Georgia where a record breaking two million people voted early, 35% of those early voters were black, reports Reuters. Also one in five early voters in Florida were black, reports Politico.

Although these states have been considered a Republican stronghold, polls now show them as toss-up states with McCain leading within the margin of error, reports the Real Clear Politics website. The fact that Blacks tend to overwhelmingly favor Obama, might account for the tightening of polls in these states.

But Blacks aren’t the only ones who are demonstrating support for Obama. A New York Times/CBS News poll reported that Obama drew 44% of the white vote, which is more support from whites than the 39% that other Democratic nominees averaged in the past.

Experts like Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate at American University and Michael McDonald of George Mason University are predicting that voter turnout will be higher this year than the 2004 turnout and it may be the highest turnout since 1960, reported the Associated Press on Friday.

With that many registered voters, neither McCain nor Obama are taking the states for granted. “Don’t believe for a second this election is over,” said Obama. “Don’t think for a minute that power concedes. We have to work like our future depends on it in the next twenty-four hours, because it does.”

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