Insiders say that Mr Obama’s apparent calm through an unusually turbulent election season is because he believes that his strength among first time voters in several key states has been underestimated, both by the media and by the Republican Party.
Mr Obama has come under fire from within Democratic ranks over his message and his tactics. Critics say he has failed to connect with the blue-collar workers seen as crucial to winning the election, and too reluctant to make direct attacks on Mr McCain.
But his aides are convinced that he has a strong chance of winning no fewer than nine states won by George W.Bush in the closely contested 2000 election, including former Republican strongholds like North Carolina, Virginia and even Indiana, which have not voted Democrat for a generation.
David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, said last week that Obama had “a lot of opportunity” in states which Mr Bush won four years ago.
But in private briefings in Washington, a member of Mr Obama’s inner circle of policy advisers went much further in spelling out why the campaign’s working assumptions far exceed the expectations of independent observers.
“Public polling companies and the media have underestimated the scale of new Democratic voters registration in these states,” the campaign official told a friend. “We’re much stronger on the ground in Virginia and North Carolina than people realise. If we get out the vote this may not be close at all.”
I’ve been saying this for a while and John Zogby hinted at it last week. Nice to see the MSM (even if English) begin to pick up on it.