On a Friday morning conference call with reporters, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis boasted that, in partnership with the RNC, he expects to have outspent Barack Obama on television ads to the tune of $10 million in the last 10 days of the race. He described the campaign as "pretty jazzed up" during its sprint to the finish.
Davis said his internal numbers showed that Obama's 30-minute infomercial was "mostly watched by Obama supporters. ... It was an interesting use of something in excess of $5 million in campaign cash." Davis noted that Obama could have run "a week's worth of 30 second ads in all targeted states" for the amount of money spent on that one night. Noting that Obama is going up on the air today in Arizona, North Dakota and Georgia, Davis taunted: "We encourage them to please go up in other states that we intend to win, and spread out their campaign cash."
McCain's campaign manager said that the GOP had always believed that the last week of television was the most important, because they could target "late breakers." (He may just inspire Obama donors to take the Democratic nominee's latest fundraising pitch more seriously.)
Davis said that he was looking at the best ten days of internal polling since the Republican convention, and that the campaign had "shaken off effects of the financial collapse that suppressed our numbers" -- admitting that the economic crisis has damaged his candidate.
For his part, McCain political director Mike Duhaime said the campaign's ground game was crushing the Bush-Cheney's respected 2004 effort -- making 5.3 million calls and door-knocks in the past week alone, compared to 1.9 million over the same span of time in 2004.
The McCain high trust also pushed back against recent polls -- specifically, the high Democratic party identification that many respected polling firms assume. Gallup, for example, gives Democrats an 11-point lead over Republicans in party ID.
Lead McCain pollster Bill McInturff argued that those numbers are outdated, because America is now a "center right" nation. Noting Thursday's Fox poll showing Obama ahead by only three points (with a nearly equal amount of Republicans and Democrats sampled), McInturff defended the poll's party balance. He claimed that his "friend" Andy Kohut at the PEW poll is using a party identification model that would be appropriate in "1976, after Watergate" but doesn't make sense today. "I don't see how you have party ID at negative 8 [percent for Republicans]" he said. "That's not America ... anywhere in the last generation and a half."
McInturff alleged that Democrats have a difficult time rising over 50 percent, overall, in the American electorate. "We're seeing in Missouri and Pennsylvania that the Barack Obama number is dropping," he said. McCain's is generally coming up. [Obama's is] dropping because of that structural barrier in this country." He added that new voter registration makes the race "difficult to predict." But in the end, the McCain campaign thinks it's "very close, compared to how a lot of very well-respected pollsters have it."
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