Obama campaign manager David Plouffe struck a tone of confidence during a conference call on Friday, saying that the campaign was leading key metrics in early voting and would expand its ad buy into three traditionally red states.
Speaking with reporters, Plouffe said that the campaign would be going back on the air in Georgia and North Dakota -- two states with close polls that have long leaned Republican. Obama is also, somewhat shockingly, going up on the air in Arizona, John McCain's home state.
"If someone else had been the Republican nominee, I think Arizona would be a core battleground," he said. "There have been quiet a few public polls, all of them showing it pretty close. Our internal data shows this could be a close race... we are just going to give it a go in the last three days and see how close we can get it."
In addition to laying out the closing day ad strategy -- which he insisted would not draw resources away from other states -- Plouffe talked about some of the early voting numbers that he said showed a strong position for the Democratic nominee. In Florida, he said, Democrats had a 200,000 vote edge over Republicans in terms of early voting. In Nevada, "43 percent of the Democrats voting early are either new or sporadic Democrats." In North Carolina, "19 percent of Democrats who voted early are Democrats who never voted in a general election before." And in Iowa, he added, "there was only one day where more Republican votes were cast" than Democratic.
"We are out of the land of theory in these states," said Plouffe. "You are starting to see how the election is going to unfold based off of the early voting."
How well were things proceeding? One of Plouffe's chief concerns was that the campaign had exhausted a fair portion of its get out the vote apparatus and might have to expand beyond traditional measures.
"Heading into an election day where a good portion of the GOTV universe has already voted," he said. "A lot of people are going to have to drive and knock, rather than walk around and knock on doors."