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Tight race turns N.C. into a hot spot

How close is North Carolina?

Close enough that the McCain campaign is dispatching Sarah Palin to Raleigh on the last Saturday afternoon of the election.

Close enough that an N.C. source tells The (Raleigh) News & Observer that Barack Obama will hold a Charlotte campaign event Monday. We're hearing a similar murmur, although the visitor might be someone else from the campaign.

The N.C. race has shown some of the least stable polling trends in the country. Obama led earlier this month by as much as seven points, but one week ago, the state seemed ready to tilt toward John McCain, with polls showing him tied or leading.

But Thursday, three new N.C. polls – Civitas of Raleigh, Rasmussen and Time/CNN – showed Obama again leading by one, two and six points.

An N.C. victory in North Carolina would provide Obama some electoral insurance against a tightening race in Virginia. Even talk of a possible Obama visit might force McCain to use valuable time and make his own to a state he cannot afford to lose.

Today's game plan

The Republicans continue their emphasis on Ohio, where McCain trails slightly in polls, and Pennsylvania, a state the campaign believes is close.

Obama, showing some electoral confidence, appears in Indiana – which is tied in two Thursday polls – and Iowa, which launched him to prominence with a caucus victory.

Poll of the day

State

Virginia

Pollster

Marist Poll

Numbers

President: Barack Obama 51, John McCain 47

Details

671 likely voters, margin of error, +/- 4 percentage points.

What it means

The race for our northern neighbor's 13 electoral votes also is tightening. Marist is one of two polls Thursday showing a four-point Obama lead (although a third poll has Obama leading by nine.) The McCain campaign has three more Virginia rallies scheduled for Saturday.

The Obama Show - online readers say …

It didn't even mention McCain; I wonder if McCain could talk to the American people for 30 minutes without saying something negative about Obama and his plans for the future???

Anonymous

There is only one way I'll vote for Obama. If they decide to restart The West Wing TV show, I'll cast my vote that Obama should play the President of the USA.

Anonymous

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