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Battleground: The changing South

In its front-page centerpiece, the Boston Globe looks at the changing South. The racial divides that have buttressed Republican power in the South for decades appear to be crumbling in this year's elections, loosening the GOP's firm grip on the region, political analysts and independent pollsters say. "The South is still culturally conservative, and the deep South in particular is still challenging territory for Democrats, political specialists say. But demographic changes - including a migration of voters from other regions, as well as an increase in education and racial tolerance among some younger residents - have given Barack Obama and other Democrats an opening this year and are likely to change the electoral map in future elections, they said."

A new round of numbers from Allstate/National Journal released yesterday show Obama up in five states that went for Bush in 2000. In Colorado, he leads 48-44%; in Florida, it's 45-44%; in North Carolina, it's 47-43%; in Ohio, it's 48-41%; and in Virginia, it's 48-44%.

ARIZONA: McCain's last day of campaigning will end in Prescott, AZ. "He plans to attend the party's annual Victory Rally at approximately 9 p.m. Monday on the historic courthouse plaza. The rally starts at 6 p.m. and typically attracts Republican elected officials from around the state. McCain's campaign officials and Republican National Committee officials could not confirm for The Daily Courier Thursday that McCain would attend the event." 

As polls show McCain with a small lead in his home state, MoveOn has announced it's going up with a TV ad in Arizona. 

COLORADO: Another voter-identification alert. "And according to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, as of Monday 35,620 first-time voters whose identity had not been verified requested mail ballots. Those voters should have been instructed to photocopy their driver's license or other identification and include it when they mailed back their ballots. If they fail to, the ballots will be treated as though they are provisional. That means county clerks will attempt after the election to verify the identity of the voter. If they can't, the ballots will be disqualified."  

FLORIDA: Could early voting put Obama over the top in Florida? "Despite the two-to-three-hour waits, the Florida numbers keep growing. As of the close of polls on Tuesday, more than 1.4 million Floridians had voted early, a figure that elections officials say could double by Sunday evening. In Miami-Dade County, where Birgin voted, 162,456 people had cast ballots through Tuesday, over 40% more than during the same period in 2004. In Palm Beach County, site of the disastrous butterfly ballot controversy of 2000, 56,685 people voted early in the first week, more than in the entire two-week period of 2004."

GEORGIA: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the presidential race in Georgia a potential "nail biter," even though neither campaign is on the air in the state and no major candidate or surrogate events are planned. An Atlanta-based consultant suggests, "If the Obama campaign goes on the air with television advertising in this city, in this state, beginning this week to Election Day, Barack Obama will win Georgia." 

Is this a case where Obama just has too many opportunities and not enough time? Imagine how many folks he get to attend an Atlanta rally this weekend?

MINNESOTA: A new poll out of Minnesota shows a whopping 19-point lead for Obama there.

NEVADA: The latest RalstonFlash: "Democrats' lead in Clark is 51-32. Thursday's totals: 18,500 Democrats and 12,500 Republicans voted. More than 38,000 voted -- keeps getting bigger every day -- 388,000 total. Last day usually the largest turnout, so total is likely to get as high as 425,000 voters or so, maybe even higher. More than half of registered Democrats already have cast ballots -- 51 percent. Nearly 48 percent of Republicans have voted. In Washoe County, Democrats extended their lead, too, by about 200 votes overnight. In the urban areas, the Democratic lead over the GOP is now about 80,000 votes."

The Las Vegas Sun looks at the realities of each candidate's parallel Spanish-language campaign. "During these long months of presidential campaigning, the millions of Hispanic voters who read, watch and listen to media in Spanish have been gathering impressions that often differ in content and tone from those being communicated to the rest of the country in English."

NORTH CAROLINA: Just stunning -- the early vote turnout has surpassed 2 million voters in North Carolina. That's getting close 65% of the entire turnout in 2004.

OHIO: "With the presidential race in its final days, Republican John McCain campaigned across Ohio, struggling to gain ground against Democrat Barack Obama in a state that the Republican must win to have a chance of capturing the White House."

VIRGINIA: The Washington Post looks at how Mark Warner could help Obama in rural Virginia. But the paper also notes how some Republicans believe Warner is hiding from Obama in certain parts of the state. "Warner has shared a stage in Virginia with Obama seven times since securing the nomination in June. Three of those appearances were in rural Virginia."

More: "Still, Gilmore and his supporters have accused Warner of shying away from his support for the more 'liberal' Obama and say they share a fondness for raising taxes. 'Mark Warner is definitely hiding from Obama,' said Mike Wade, a Republican activist and chairman of the 3rd District Republican Committee in Hampton."