Something was missing from the first of John McCain’s seven campaign stops today: the crowd.
Kicking off the last day of the election in Tampa, Florida, John McCain was welcomed by a roughly 1,000 voters. Compare that to the 15,000 people that President Bush drew to a rally in Tampa on the eve of the 2004 election. “What’s up with that?” wrote Adam Smith at the St. Petersburg Times.
Even Fox News had a bit of difficulty spinning the whole thing. Carl Cameron, who is following the Senator at every stop on Monday, said the crowd size was likely “a little bit disturbing” for the McCain campaign. He added that organizers had set up the venue predicting ten times the number of attendees.
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena seats up to 14,000, but the Buzz would be surprised to see the place completely fill up. Two hours before Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to speak, there are at least a thousand in place.
And consider this:
In Ohio, Obama’s ground game outguns McCain’s
Reporting from Delaware, Ohio — John McCain has targeted this wealthy area just north of Columbus as one of 15 counties in Ohio where he needs to drive up his vote tally if he is to beat Barack Obama on Tuesday in this must-win state.
But on Friday night, only nine volunteers manned the 24 phones in the McCain campaign office. The phone bank began operating on a daily basis just two weeks ago. And since then, only five people have shown up on most weekdays to canvass local neighborhoods.
Obama’s campaign, in contrast, has flooded this GOP bastion with volunteers. Some canvassers first hit the winding streets of nearby subdivisions in March during the Democratic primary, and they have worked almost nonstop since in search of supporters.
Ohio is a battleground in the presidential race, and here’s the view on the front line: McCain’s get-out-the-vote operation has struggled to build momentum, and it appears outgunned by Obama’s.
[All emphasis mine]
McCain needs all the help he can get to turn this around in the next 24 hours, yet it seems like Republicans are just staying home.
The enthusiasm gap between Obama and McCain has been evident nearly as long as the two men have been their party’s nominees. At no time has it been more apparent how big that gap is than now.
Overall, this does not bode well for tomorrow if you’re John McCain.
UPDATE: And in Virginia:
More than 10,000 volunteers are working for Obama in Virginia, according to the campaign. They appear to be making a difference: According to the Post poll, Obama had a 75 to 22 percent advantage among likely voters who had heard from his campaign in person, on the phone or via e-mail or text message but had not been reached by Sen. John McCain’s campaign.
Grass-roots activity in Virginia for McCain appears to be less energized. A recent two-day swing through every Northern Virginia campaign office for both candidates found crowds of volunteers for Obama on the phones, being trained to canvass and passing out signs, stickers and other material. McCain’s offices were universally quiet, in some cases with just one or two field workers sitting at a counter or table and little foot traffic. This week, just days before the election, Obama’s Web site advertised more than 300 events in Northern Virginia; McCain’s advertised seven.