Getting out the vote key to Obama's election hopes

Barack Obama addressing his final campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Obama team appear confident of victory but will polling intentions transfer into votes cast?

At one of the final Obama rallies, Jay-Z belts out one of his hits with a subtle change of lyric - less offensive, more political.

"99 problems but Mitt ain't one."

If President Obama wakes up tomorrow morning with 99 problems, but Mitt ain't one, it won't be down to his campaign. It will be down to his strategy - his plans to get out the vote.

That is what Democrats will be doing all day - nagging and dragging people to the ballot box. An amazing 39 million Americans have already voted.

The Democrats' national field director, Jeremy Bird, is in charge of this operation and he writes in a fascinating blog that "newly registered voters, infrequent voters, and those who voted for the first time in 2008 - let's call them 'sporadic voters' - have taken advantage of the convenience of early vote, and the overwhelming majority of them are Democrats."

Big advantage

He also suggests there is a bigger pool of Obama supporters than Romney supporters among those who are still to vote.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Bruce Springsteen has urged Democrats to get out and vote

Obama's team thinks early voting gives them a big advantage - those who have already voted are urged at rally after rally to grab five friends today, and take them to the polls.

Bird goes on to detail a massive operation in the swing states, where people will volunteer to phone people up and knock on their doors.

Remember this is not about persuasion - it is about those who've said they will back Obama but might not bother. In Ohio alone the Obama campaign will have 32,854 volunteers working three-hour shifts.

At another of the last rallies, Springsteen playing in the background, Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod and former press officer and long time Obama trusty Robert Gibbs are giving an impromptu news conference.


Axelrod joked about America's poet laureate being on stage and the sun in the sky. "What could be better?" he asks.

Later Gibbs tells me that he is confident but it is all down to the ground game in the last day.

But it is not their words I notice, but their body language. They are relaxed, joking. This seems to me more than bravado.

Many pollsters say that Obama is ahead in a lot of polls, if only slightly, and that so many surveys are unlikely to be wrong, even if the margin is tiny. I am not so sure. What you tell a pollster is not the same as casting a vote.

It is quite a day. I feel nervous. I can only imagine what the candidates feel.

The BBC will be providing full online live results of the US presidential election on 6 November. More details here