POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Nagourney (NYT): While McCain Looked Away, Florida Shifted

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 25, 2008

Adam Nagourney writes in the NYT …

  • From a commanding lead last spring, in a state where Senator Barack Obama did not campaign in the primaries and only hired a state director in June, Mr. McCain is now locked in a neck-and-neck race for a trove of electoral votes that is vital to his hopes of victory.
  • His once-close relationship with Gov. Charlie Crist is reportedly strained. 
  • And Mr. Obama has blanketed the state with advertising and built a huge get-out-the-vote operation — on vivid display this week in the long lines for early voting. The sight dispirited Republican leaders here.
  • Mr. Obama’s campaign moved to exploit this state’s increasingly popular, and relatively new, early voting program in a way Mr. McCain did not. 
  • Obama came here for two days this week — as did Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — using high-profile appearances to hand out literature and urge supporters who turned out to vote, often right up the street from the rally. The result could be seen in long lines of people at early voting sites.
  • Mr. McCain’s advisers said they had put far less effort into the early voting program, instead sticking with what has worked for Florida Republicans for a decade: building up their margin with absentee ballots. 
  • But several Republicans said they were afraid that emphasis was missing the way voting behavior is changing here.
  • Mr. Obama has used sophisticated measures here to find and register new supporters. And Florida statistics this week, which sent a shiver of fear through Republicans, attest to his success: Democrats now have a 660,000 edge in voter registration over Republicans in the state, compared with a Democratic advantage of 280,000 voters in 2006.

LMW COMMENT: If John McCain can’t even keep track of Florida, how can he possibly manage the wide array of perplexing issues that will face the next president? What, you say, he can ask Sarah Palin to help!

Read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/25/us/politics/25florida.html?hp

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