Race Boils Down to Battlegrounds

Still, the state's large college communities, growing cities and large black population suggest there's hope for Obama this evening. Even before Tuesday, black voters' turnout in North Carolina had exceeded the 2004 total. Ballots cast by the state's black voters in 2008 prior to Tuesday amounted to 694,490; ballots cast by the state's black voters in the 2004 amounted to 665,392.

North Carolina has also seen a surge of new voters registering as Democrats this year, far outnumbering newly registered Republicans.

As of Oct. 29, Obama had spent $9.7 million on TV advertising in North Carolina, compared with $5.2 million spent by McCain and the RNC.

OHIO: 20 Electoral Votes

Today, voters have until 7:30 p.m. EST to cast their votes in the Buckeye State.

In 2004, much of the election seemed to hinge on the results in Ohio, and the latest Quinnipiac poll, released Monday, indicate it could be another tight race. In that poll, Obama leads 50-43 among likely voters. Another poll released Monday from the University of Cincinnati showed Obama leading 52-46. An NBC/Mason-Dixon poll released Sunday night revealed a different assessment of the horserace, with McCain leading 47-45.

Still, since the last presidential election, there are indications Ohio voters have grown increasingly wary of Republican leadership. In 2006, the election of Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland ended a 16-year Republican hold on the governor's mansion and Democrats won races for U.S. Senate, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.

Obama could find support in Ohio from voters in the state's hard-hit industrial belt in the northeast, as well as in the heavily Democratic Cleveland metropolis. McCain has been working to secure the Republican strongholds of southeastern and southwestern Ohio.

To help secure their votes, both candidates shelled out millions for TV ads in Ohio. Obama's camp spent $19.8 million on Ohio tv ads while McCain and the RNC spent a combined total of $19 million.

Stark County, home to Canton, and Franklin County, with more than 50,000 students at Ohio State University in Columbus, are key counties to watch.

Voters in Ohio have selected the winner in the past 11 presidential elections, and no Republican has ever won a presidential election without carrying the state.

FLORIDA: 27 Electoral Votes

Polls close at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday night in Florida, the highly contentious battleground of the 2000 presidential race.

The latest Florida polls, released Monday by Quinnipiac University, shows Obama leading 47-45 in Florida.

In an effort to secure the battleground, the McCain campaign devoted millions of dollars to the state in the past few weeks, and McCain recently stormed the Sunshine State with a series of rallies. Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has also been working Florida extensively for McCain, and the campaign is hoping to secure votes from the state's older population and a large number of veterans.

At a Monday rally in Tampa, McCain told supporters, "With this kind of enthusiasm and this kind of intensity, we will win Florida."

Meanwhile, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe has estimated that the campaign will spend $39 million on its effort there. Obama is especially trying to energize black voters whose participation in Florida elections usually lags behind.

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