La cúpula del Partido Popular Democrático contrató como estratega político al consultor Marc Farinella, reconociendo que hay un gran camino por recorrer antes de cantar victoria en la elecciones generales de 2012, según fuentes de EL VOCERO.
La contratación no es una sorpresa, pero surge en momentos en que se cuestiona la fortaleza de la candidatura de Alejandro García Padilla, y si en efecto, es la persona idónea para llevar al PPD a un triunfo, luego de la devastadora derrota de 2008, que a juicio de José Alfredo Hernández Mayoral, se debió al discurso soberanista que vendió en su momento el ex gobernador Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.
Marc Farinella. Suministrada.
Precisamente, Farinella ofreció un taller sobre estrategias y mensajes de campaña dirigido a los alcaldes y legisladores el pasado fin de semana en la Convención de la Pava.
El estratega político se desempeñó como asesor del gobernador de Missouri, y fue responsable por lograr la reelección de Mel Carnahan en el 2000, a pesar de que murió días antes de las elecciones en un accidente aéreo. En aquel entonces, el incumbente se medía contra el ex secretario de Justicia, John Ashcroft, quien literalmente “perdió la elección contra un muerto”.
De igual forma, Farinella, fue el responsable de montar el andamiaje político de Barack Obama en Carolina del Norte, un estado de dominio republicano.
Otra fuente de EL VOCERO, sostuvo que sabía que el liderato del PPD estaba buscando un consultor, y que se realizaron entrevistas en Washington.
Acevedo Vilá y la ex gobernadora Sila María Calderón también recurrieron en el pasado a la contratación de estrategas para sus respectivas campañas.
David Axelrod -pasado jefe estratega de la campaña presidencial de Obama en el 2008-fue contratado por Calderón. El prominente encuestador Peter Hart ha ofrecido su ‘expertise’ al PPD desde la época de Hernández Colón.
Gov Bev Raiding Team BO Bench
May 17, 2011 | Written by Mark Pellin
Beverly Perdue is apparently bent on cobbling together remnants the campaign team that helped Barack Obama carry the state in his 2008 presidential run. And the NCGOP is eating it up as fodder to take shots at Perdue, as evidenced by the “congratulatory” message posted on the party’s website:
NCGOP Congratulates Governor Perdue on Latest Job Creation Announcement
Perdue hires “Obama Campaign” Operative to advise her for $120,000, paid for by North Carolina taxpayers
RALEIGH, NC – Today, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes made the following statement regarding Governor Perdue’s recent hire of Stephen Neuman. According to the News and Observer, Mr. Neuman is “a major Obama campaign figure” and will “serve as her $120,000-per year senior advisor.”
“We congratulate Governor Perdue on creating another government job – hiring an out of state political operative for $120,000 per year to help her get re-elected in 2012. Rather than working with Republicans in the General Assembly to balance the budget without raising taxes and creating a business climate where the private sector can grow and create jobs, Governor Perdue again proves she is only concerned with one job, her own.”
Neuman is the latest operative from Team BO to join Team Bev. Perdue’s political consultant, Marc Farinella, previously worked as the state director of the Obama effort in North Carolina.
National consultants, not candidates, control TV campaigns.
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Inside her office at KSDK (Channel 5), national sales director Suellen Riggin listens to the fax machine beep again.
“There’s another one,” she says.
It’s a Tuesday morning in mid-October–three weeks before the Nov. 5 election–and orders for political ads have been pouring in for weeks. During the election season viewers are seemingly bombarded with conflicting messages on nearly every issue. But few people understand the complex, behind-the-scenes world of political advertising.
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For example, who dreams up these ads and then buys the timeslots they broadcast in? How do they go from the mind of a campaign staffer to the local airwaves?
For that matter, where do they come from?
“Ninety-nine percent of our orders come out of Philadelphia,” Riggin says. “That and Washington are where most of the large media firms are located.”
Unlike the local sales manager, who has a sales staff based at the station, Riggin’s sales executives require a coast-to-coast presence and are located in various cities.
“We use Petry Media Corporation as our national rep firm,” Riggin explains. “They have people all over the country who negotiate the orders and then send them to me.”
Although in many respects political ads are no different than ones for cars or fast-food restaurants, there are some important distinctions.
Unlike other media buyers who place orders throughout the week, campaigns generally buy television spots on Mondays. (Some have suggested this is a throwback to the days of weekend political rallies, when the donations were counted on Sunday night.)
Also reminiscent of past experiences–not all of them good–television stations do not extend credit to politicians.
“When it comes to political ads, everything’s cash in advance,” Riggin says.
But what really sets political ads apart, experts say, is their highly regulated nature. Brendan Walsh, national sales director at KPLR (Channel 11) television, says the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sets strictguidelines for the broadcast industry.
“You have files within each station that are called public files,” Walsh says. “They’re open to anyone who wants to come in and look through them.”
The files include information about every time purchase by federal candidates, including the price it went for.
“It’s all extremely above board and by the book,” Walsh says. “Stations are extremely careful with how they go about handling any candidate’s business.”
Federal law also mandates certain pricing restrictions for candidates. Riggin says a three-tiered rate card is made available to each campaign.
“Section three is the lowest unit rate, and is pre-emptible without notice,” she explains. “Section two is pre-emptible with notice. Section one is the most expensive rate.”
Campaign laws give candidates a “political protection window.” Within 45 days preceding a primary and 60 days preceding a general election, stations must offer candidates the “lowest unit charge” for any given time period.
“If you’re Jean Carnahan and you want to buy my news, then you get to purchase what is the equivalent of the lowest unit rate in that news,” Walsh says. “So, if someone is paying $400 for the news, and that’s our lowest rate in there, that’s what Jean Carnahan should get the spot for. That’s the same on every single station.”
However, candidates who choose to buy at the cheaper rate may find themselves pre-empted by advertisers who are willing to pay the more expensive section one or two rates.
And it’s this competition for limited timeslots that makes the political campaign season so profitable for stations, Riggin says.
“This is a demand business,” she says. “As we get closer to election day, we’ll sell at section one almost all day. Campaigns don’t want to be pre-empted.”
That includes non-political advertisers, such as General Motors, who get caught up in the programming melee.
“Other advertisers still have to run,” Riggin says.
Before a commercial gets into the hands of Riggin or Walsh, it first has to be produced. In years past, campaign staffers scripted their own commercials, hired camera crews and bought the timeslots themselves.
But Mark Farinella, a strategist for Carnahan for Senate, says political media decisions are made less and less at the campaign level, and more by powerhouse media consultants on the East Coast.
“The campaign folks will be involved to the point where we decide women 55 to 60 will be a target,” Farinella says. “Then it’s up to the media firm to write scripts, produce ads and buy the right timeslots to reach those people.”
Farinella says most decisions are based on market research and polling data.
“The guidance to the time buyers really comes from the pollsters,” he says. “In most cases the campaign staff itself doesn’t provide much guidance. It’s really a conversation that goes on between the pollster and the media firm.”
Although most media firms are located in Washington or Philadelphia, Farinella says they are well familiar with the local audience.
“These guys place ads all over the country. So, they’re familiar with all the markets,” Farinella says. “They get all the usual data–how many grossratings points each show is worth, and when each show airs and that sort of thing–and they also have relationships with sales people at each of the stations.”
Bob Dudley is a senior consultant with Shorr & Associates, a Democratic media firm based in Philadelphia.
“The advantage to using consultants is experience,” Dudley says. “We have many years in media planning and placement, creative production and campaign consulting.”
Dudley says his firm–which works on about 20 campaigns during even-numbered years–works with pollsters, fundraisers and direct mail consultants to come up with an overall campaign strategy that works.
“We figure out where and when to spend money earmarked for media,” he says. “It’s a collaboration between all of the consultants and the campaign.”
Most of Shorr’s political consultants come from campaign backgrounds, Dudley says.
“They’ve worked on various campaigns, or have been campaign managers,” .he says. “But, I think time buyers come more from advertising agencies or media buying backgrounds.”
The traffic department
Back at Channel 5, Bev Henley stares at her crowded computer screen, lined with an inscrutable display of data, wondering what answers the software program will spit out today.
Traffic has been heavy lately, she explains, which means her job is tougher than ever.
“The traffic department decides where the ads go within a certain program,” Henley says.
Although campaigns are understandably particular about the shows they buy time in–ones that are watched by females aged 35-64 are their favorites–Channel 5 will not allow buyers to specify in which commercial break their ads will run. Nor do buyers have control over the order in which a string of commercials will appear. Indeed, even Henley can’t control that.
“We can’t tell them where they’re going to fall,” she says.
For each type of commercial Henley enters a “conflict code.” She says there’s a different code for automotive, political, restaurants, etc.
After that, the software tosses everything into the air and comes down with a schedule. If everything works out correctly, the conflict codes will keep competing advertisers from running back to back.
“You wouldn’t want Talent running right after Carnahan,” Riggin explains. “Just like you wouldn’t want Taco Bell running right after McDonald’s.”
If there are too many orders and not enough time, then some ads are preempted. Riggin says the station strives to be fair.
“If I run Talent, then I have to run Carnahan,” she says. “That’s only fair.”
Walsh says the system works the same at Channel 11.
“Everybody purchases the show for whatever rate they purchase it for and there’s no preferential treatment of one over the other,” he says. “If there’s 10 spots in one specific show, and 10 people buy spots, then you throw them all in a bag and however it shakes out, that’s how it shakes out.”
Walsh says the traffic department must remain flexible.
“One minute we might have eight spots ordered for news, and half an hour later there might be 25 spots ordered for news,” he says. “If they choose the lowest rate and the time period is sold out, they won’t get in.”
Walsh says the station rarely hears from campaigns that have complaints with the way their ads are placed.
“Frankly, with the volume of commercials these people put on, I don’t think they care,” he says.
Oddly enough, Riggin says this would be a slow campaign season were it not for the Talent-Carnahan race.
“That race wasn’t supposed to be this year,” she points out. “The years between national elections are usually called hammock years. The revenue really dips.”
Bob Schaper is a St. Louis free-lance writer.
COPYRIGHT 2002 SJR St. Louis Journalism Review
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
Scandals dog Perdue as re-election nears
By MICHAEL SHAMMAS
February 17, 2011
Governor Bev Perdue has had a rough six months.
In August, her campaign was fined $30,000 for failing to report 41 private flights on donors’ planes she took across the state—last week, one of her biggest donors was indicted in the case for allegedly causing the campaign to falsely report his donations. Already under scrutiny for promoting a friend to lead the state’s highway patrol in 2009, the North Carolina Democrat finds herself confronted with depressed polling numbers that may portend an uphill battle for re-election in 2012.
A Wake County grand jury indicted Robert Caldwell Feb. 8 on a felony obstruction of justice charge for actions dating back to 2007. He stands accused of hiding a donation to the Perdue Committee ahead of the 2008 gubernatorial election—money that paid for a campaign flight—when he had already given the campaign $4,000, the maximum amount allowed by N.C. law.
“The maximum sentence for such a charge is, I believe, 30 months,” Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said.
Marc Farinella, a Florida political consultant and a spokesman for the governor, said Perdue was not aware of any wrongdoing.
“The Perdue Committee was unaware of this scheme,” he said in a statement to the press. “We do not condone any activity that violates campaign finance laws, and we believe strongly that North Carolinians are entitled to truthful and accurate reporting of campaign contributions.”
A recent report released by the FBI found that Perdue abused her power in the 1990s as a state senator to promote her longtime friend, Randy Glover, to a higher rank within the N.C. Highway Patrol. The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported Friday that in 2009, Perdue encouraged the resignation of Walter Wilson, Jr, then-commander of the highway patrol and replaced him with Glover. Less than a year later, Glover resigned amid a series of ethical scandals within the force.
Willoughby has closed his investigation into the governor’s former air travel payments and determined that Perdue herself was not involved in any wrongdoing.
“The indictment made it clear that the governor is not suspected of engaging in anything illegal,” he said.
Regardless of whether Perdue committed any crimes, the controversies are generating negative press that may be contributing to her low poll numbers.
Survey results released by Public Policy Polling Jan. 26 showed the governor trailing by 7 points in a hypothetical 2012 match-up against her most likely contender, Republican Pat McCrory, whom she narrowly defeated for the position in 2008.
Associate political science professor Kerry Haynie said despite the numbers, he believes Perdue’s prospects for re-election are better than they appear.
“Actually, I think right now the 2012 [gubernatorial] election is up in the air,” he said. “A lot will depend on the state of the economy at that time and also the national political climate. If the president continues to rise in the polls and if the economy continues to improve, the chances are good that Perdue will be re-elected.”
Haynie added that even if Perdue’s donors or other elements within her campaign are found guilty in court, the governor is unlikely to be found directly responsible for any wrongdoing.
“From what we know, [Caldwell’s actions] were done without the knowledge of the campaign,” he said. “These campaigns raise millions of dollars from thousands of donors, so candidates like Perdue are very much detached from the… financing part of the campaign. I’m sure the governor thought everything was being paid for the proper way.
Perdue brings in ex Obama strategist
Submitted by robchristensen on 2011-05-11 16:54
Tags: Under the Dome | Bev Perdue | Pearse Edwards | Stephen Neuman
Gov. Bev Perdue is reassembling the team that helped engineer Barack Obama’s historic victory in North Carolina in 2008.
She has hired Stephen Neuman, as a Chicago area attorney and government veteran, to serve as her $120,000-per year senior advisor.
Neuman was North Carolina chief of staff for Obama’s campaign in North Carolina in 2008, when he pulled a major upset over Sen. John McCain. It was the first time a Democrat had carried the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
He is the second major Obama campaign figure to go to work for Perdue. Her political consultant is Marc Farinella, who in charge of the Obama effort in North Carolina.
Perdue faces a difficult re-election campaign next year.
Both Neuman and Farinella are veterans of the offices of former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash, shortly before defeating Republican Sen. John Ashcroft. Neuman also worked for his widow, Sen. Jean Carnahan, and for Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.
Most recently, he was working as an associate for the Chicago firm of Skadden Arps.
He replaces Pearse Edwards, who Perdue’s office said will be working as a consultant “for the upcoming North Carolina elections in 2012.”
Edwards, who grew up in Greensboro, joined the staff in 2009 after having worked for Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and for Microsoft.
Read more: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/perdue_brings_in_ex_obama_strategist#ixzz1W8j6AIdX
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JUNE 01, 2009
Alex Sink’s campaign team
Here’s the Rich Davis campaign video that aired Saturday at the Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson dinner. The Sink campaign team includes media consultant Davis, pollster Dave Beattie, general consultant Marc Farinella, and we hear Richard Swann will be finance chairman.
There are few Democratic consultants, btw, who know Florida better than Beattie(whose clients also include Bill Nelson, Suzanne Kosmas, Buddy Dyer, Pam Iorio, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Robert Wexler, and others) and Davis, who grew up in Gainesville and was the state party’s deputy political director in ’92. His did Obama campaign media in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, and his marquee client list includes Sens. Kay Hagan in NC, Jeff Merkley in Oregon and Mark Udall in Colorado, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Kirsten Gillibrand in N.Y, Gov/now HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Gov. Martin O’Malley in Maryland.
0:31TV Spot: Enough
Meet The Man Who Delivered North Carolina For Obama
First Posted: 11-17-08 08:33 PM | Updated: 12-18-08 05:12 AM
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The News & Observer:
At an election night boiler room at Cary’s upscale Umstead Hotel, dozens of operatives of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign watched as North Carolina went blue for the first time in nearly a third of a century.
Watching with special satisfaction was Marc Farinella, 50, who cut his teeth on Chicago politics. Farinella was the chief architect of Obama’s victory in the state.
Read the whole story: The News & Observer
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Meet The Man Who Delivered North Carolina For Obama
First Posted: 11-17-08 08:33 PM | Updated: 12-18-08 05:12 AM
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Barack Obama’s campaign said Wednesday it has spent more than $2 million so far on general election television ads in North Carolina, a practical sign that the presumptive Democratic nominee is serious about breaking a 32-year electoral vote drought.
A Democrat hasn’t won North Carolina’s electoral votes since 1976. Save for nationally aired ads during the summer Olympics, Republican John McCain’s campaign has not yet run ads in North Carolina television markets.
“It’s not that big a stretch for Barack Obama to win North Carolina this year,” state campaign director Marc Farinella told reporters in a conference call featuring Gov. Mike Easley. “This is a battleground state and we’re going to win it.”
Obama’s campaign has identified North Carolina as one of 18 battleground states where it’s spending money on TV advertising early in the general election campaign. North Carolina ranked in the middle of the pack in Obama TV spending during June and July, led by Florida with $5 million, according to an analysis by the University of Wisconsin’s Advertising Project.
The primary campaign between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton led to a large increase in North Carolina Democratic voter registration that has continued into the summer after Obama clinched the nomination.
The 164,509 new Democratic registrants so far this year amount to more than eight times the number of new voters who have registered Republican, according to the Obama campaign, citing State Board of Elections figures.
“Hundreds of thousands of new residents have moved into North Carolina,” Farinella said. “This has greatly changed the political dynamics here.”
Republicans say it’s not surprising that an exciting Democratic primary has boosted registration while McCain essentially was unopposed after clinching the nomination before North Carolina.
President Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry in 2004 among North Carolina voters by 12 percentage points, or about 436,000 votes. The state Republican Party and Republican National Committee have recently opened nine offices statewide to boost their get-out-the-vote efforts for McCain and GOP registration.
“We’re really going to ramp up,” state Republican Party spokesman Brent Woodcox said, adding that the new Democratic registration “won’t be enough to carry the state” for Obama.
Easley, who backed Clinton in the May primary but is now a vocal supporter of Obama, believes the Illinois senator is going to win on issues that affect North Carolina families.
Republican-backed trade policies have led to lost jobs in traditional textile and furniture industries, Easley said. Obama’s views on the war in Iraq also are more in line with what citizens want.
“John McCain wants to stay in this war right on and he doesn’t want to do anything that changes the economy,” Easley said. But he said voters “want out of this war and they want some changes in the economy.”
Obama’s campaign leaders said organizational meetings have been held in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, and the campaign counts nearly 5,900 volunteers. They also have trained leaders for 386 volunteer “change crews” designed to mobilize supporters in neighborhoods.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Obama Backers Mobilize in Bid to Wrest State From Republican Grip
Published: August 16, 2008
RALEIGH, N.C. — Under a scorching sun, hundreds of people lined up recently in a parking lot here to pick up free back-to-school supplies being distributed by a local radio station. Bobbing among the shade umbrellas were a handful of workers for Senator Barack Obama, carrying clipboards and voter registration forms.
Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times
Marc Farinella, the campaign director for Senator Barack Obama in North Carolina, says the state is “fertile territory for us.”
Jeremy M. Lange for The New York Times
Rodney and Cheryl Ellis, shown with their children, are among the volunteers for the Obama campaign in North Carolina.
On Monday night, others fanned out at a movie screening for surfers in Wrightsville Beach. They descended on a street festival in Asheville. When oil companies posted record profits, Obama supporters showed up at gas stations here with registration forms.
Despite the relentless heat, and midsummer lull, the Obama campaign is mobilizing in North Carolina. The state is one of half a dozen once-solid Republican bastions, including Georgia, Indiana and Virginia, where Democrats now sniff opportunity to expand the electoral map.
They hope that North Carolina’s growth, especially among high-tech workers in Research Triangle Park, will help change voting patterns that are decades old. But the Obama strategy relies on a surge among black voters and young people, two groups that have not turned out in great numbers in recent elections.
To that end, the organization of Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been conducting an intense registration drive, appearing wherever people gather, as well as singling out potential voters in neighborhoods and online, and reaching out to undecided voters. It has also reactivated the extensive volunteer network it built before crushing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton here in the May primary, and it is already running television commercials.
The campaign of the presumed Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, by contrast, has been barely visible. But his camp says it is getting in gear, and it has history on its side.
North Carolina has not voted for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Even with John Edwards, then one of the state’s senators, on the ticket in 2004, the Democrats lost here in a landslide. But they say the state is ripe this year for picking.
“The dynamics here are different than they ever have been,” said Mr. Obama’s state director, Marc Farinella, pointing to the influx of about 600,000 people since 2004.
Mr. Farinella said the Obama campaign would take advantage of this through an aggressive ground game and would speak to both affluent workers and those upended by trade policies that have cost the state tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The campaign will also try to exploit Mr. McCain’s opposition to a $300 billion farm billapproved by Congress.
“The race here will wind up being very tight,” Mr. Farinella said. “But I believe we’ll wind up ahead — we’ve got the volunteers, the excitement, his call for economic change, the trade issue. A lot of these things make North Carolina fertile territory for us.”
Mr. McCain’s political director and deputy campaign manager, Mike DuHaime, said the state was still fundamentally conservative.
“I don’t disavow that on paper this could be closer than last time, and Obama is spending money,” he said. “My question is, can you move this 13, 14 points from where you were when you had a North Carolinian on the ticket?” a reference to the vote spread in 2004 when Mr. Edwards and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts lost to President Bush, 56 percent to 43.6 percent.
The average of the latest polls here, as of Wednesday, showed Mr. McCain with a lead of 4.3 percentage points over Mr. Obama, a difference that is barely significant statistically. One unknown with a black candidate on the ballot here is whether voters are telling pollsters the truth about how they intend to vote.
Another is whether Mr. Edwards’s recently admitted affair will create a backlash against Democrats.
Mr. Obama has spent more than $1.9 million on television commercials here since mid-June. He has opened 16 offices in the state since early July.
His blueprint calls for deploying 625 teams, of four to six volunteers each, to blanket the state’s 2,762 electoral precincts. So far, more than half the teams are in place, each with captains who are committed to contributing at least 10 hours a week. Almost 6,000 volunteers are actively engaged to some degree.
Obama headquarters in Chicago would not confirm the number of paid staff members it had in the various states, but the number in North Carolina is believed to be close to the estimated 150 it has deployed in another battleground state, Missouri, where Mr. McCain is two points ahead.
By contrast, the McCain campaign, which has less money, is relying heavily for resources on the state party and the Republican National Committee. With their help, the McCain campaign opened its office here in the capital on Monday, and six others in the last two weeks. It has a dozen paid staff members and has spent nothing on local television.
Democratic registration in the state is soaring, with 45,000 new registrants since May, and 7,000 new Republicans. About 44,000 have registered as unaffiliated.
Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said he expected more than six million people to be registered by the fall and that 4 million to 4.2 million would vote, up from 3.5 million who voted in 2004.
Analysts say the key here for Mr. Obama will be raising the percentage of blacks who vote and winning over more whites than Democrats have previously.
“Definitely, there is the real potential for black voters to become a more substantial part of the electorate this year,” said Tom Jensen, a Democratic pollster. “And that’s what it will take.”
In 2000, blacks made up 17.3 percent of the vote, and in 2004 they made up 18.6 percent, according to the state elections board. To win this year, by Mr. Jensen’s calculations, Mr. Obama needs blacks to make up 23 percent of the electorate while also winning at least 35 percent of the white vote. Others say he may need more.
So far, the rate of black registration (up 9.8 percent over 2004) is outpacing white registration (up 4.6 percent), but at the current rate blacks would make up only 20 percent of the electorate.
Bob Barr of Georgia, who is running for president as a Libertarian, may be a factor here in draining white votes from Mr. McCain. That could be a boon to Mr. Obama and might mean he could win with less than 50 percent of the total.
Raising the percentage of white voters could be a challenge for him, as it was in the primaries. In 2004, Mr. Kerry won about 32 percent of the state’s white vote, Mr. Jensen said.
Some of Mr. Obama’s positions, like his view that affirmative action should be applied by class, not race, and that the death penalty is acceptable in some cases, may appeal to these voters.
Other positions, like his support for some regulation of guns, could prove more problematic. Gov. Michael F. Easley, a Democrat who had supported Mrs. Clinton and now backs Mr. Obama, was asked how the “Hank Hills” of the world might vote, a reference to the animated television character who embodies small-town conservative values. “The jury is still out on Obama,” he said. “They’re watching.”
But Mr. Easley said Mr. Obama could win by focusing on economic issues. “If people see Barack Obama watching out for them on the economy,” the governor said, “they’ll vote for him.”
While Democrats often win state and local elections, they have a harder time at the national level. Usually they are perceived as more liberal than most North Carolinians, said Ferrel Guillory, an expert on Southern politics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, particularly on the bedrock issues of “guns, God and gays.”
“Democrats who get elected in North Carolina are not Northeastern liberal Democrats,” he said. In states like North Carolina, the McCain campaign is likely to make the cultural divide the fault line in November.
“Democrats who are successful in North Carolina and Virginia and other conservative states tend to be centrists and moderates, especially on the Second Amendment,” Mr. DuHaime of the McCain camp said. “No one would describe Obama as a centrist.”
But the Obama organization is steadily gaining recruits and putting them to work.
Jennifer Lasater, 38, a project manager at a software company here, donated $25 online to the campaign recently and then joined a registration drive through a breast-cancer awareness event. Now she is canvassing and calling voters and at night entering voter information into the campaign’s extensive voter database.
“The thought that North Carolina could vote for a Democrat made me think that if there’s something I could do to make that happen, that would be valuable,” Ms. Lasater said. “I figure, if my mother-in-law, who is fairly conservative, told me out of the blue that she was planning to vote for Obama, he has a chance in this state.”