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American Morning

The Final Day Leading Up to the 2008 Presidential Elections

Aired November 03, 2008 - 05:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Race to make history.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My friends, the mac is back.

ROBERTS: One last laugh around critical swing states.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can change this country, right here in Ohio, and all across the country.

ROBERTS: The brand new, revealing polls.

And, burning questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will our vote still be counted?

ROBERTS: What's on America's mind the day before the people pick a president? The best political team with information you need to know you. A special election eve AMERICAN MORNING, starts right now.


ROBERTS: Good morning, to you. We are on the air early here on this Monday, November the 3rd, because there's just one more day to go in the election.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And the candidates are making the most of it. They're stopping in what -- in 13 different states today, alone.

ROBERTS: It's incredible. Who'd of thought that three and half years could go by this quickly, right?

CHETRY: You're right.

ROBERTS: Like that.

CHETRY: You blink and it seems to have happened over night.

Well, we're going to let people know what's going on right now. The clock is winding down. Just one day to go until voters choose the future for the country.

There are new poll numbers and they're offering us a snapshot now, of where the race stands today. Our latest Poll of Polls gives Barack Obama 51 percent, John McCain, 44 percent, and 5 percent of those polled still saying they are not sure yet.

And there's some more very revealing polls suggesting that John McCain may have been better off without Sarah Palin on the ticket. According to a just released CNN Opinion Research Corporation Survey, Palin may be costing him two valuable percentage points in the polls. Her unfavorable rating surged eight points in just a matter of weeks. That number's consistently been getting higher since she exploded onto the national scene.

And fresh information for voters. We're waiting for new job numbers this morning as the economy drives people to the polls in record numbers. Dow futures now pointing higher, but not by much. Stocks also rallied big time last week to take the edge off of one of the worst months in history -- John.

ROBERTS: As we said just a couple of minute ago, it is the last day of campaigning in this historic election. And John McCain and Barack Obama are rallying supporters to get out the vote.


OBAMA: Everybody's got a smile on their face. You start thinking that maybe we might be able to win an election on November 4th.



MCCAIN: America faces a big choice and there's just one day left. Pundits have written us off just like they've done before. And my opponent is measuring the drapes in the White House. They may not know it, but the mac is back.


ROBERTS: Well, as they do every four years on this day, the candidates are logging the miles. John McCain hitting seven states -- nearly running coast to coast. He's in red states, blue states and toss up states, ending the day back home in Arizona.

Meantime, Barack Obama is spending his day in a trio of battleground states that voted for President Bush, in 2000, and 2004. Those will be North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.

And overnight, John McCain held a midnight rally in Florida, promising that he is the one ti take America in a new direction. Our latest Poll of Polls in the state of Florida shows, Barack Obama with the four point edge over the Republican, 49 to 45 percent. But, take a look at this. Six percent of voters there still say they are undecided.

Ed Henry is traveling with the McCain campaign. He joins us live from Tampa, this morning. Ed, there's a lot of people -- nine percent in the year 2004, didn't make up their mind until the final three days. Looks like we're pretty much there again this year.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, John.

The McCain camp is banking on turning some of those undecideds here at the last minute. That's why there's one last mad dash across the country for McCain. They feel this race is tightening.


HENRY (voice-over): John McCain, trying to close strong, by deploying a tactic he never uses -- a late night rally. Midnight in Miami.

MCCAIN: America faces a big choice and there's just one day left. Pundits have written us off, just like they've done before. And my opponent is measuring the drapes in the White House. They may not know it, but the mac is back!

HENRY: McCain and running mate Sarah Palin on Monday, are hitting a total of at least a dozen contested states. In a mad dash across the country on the final full day of barn storming.

The problem is, the ticket is spending most of its time defending states carried by President Bush in 2004, such as Virginia, where Democrats are bullish about winning for the first time in 44 years.

BRIAN MORAN (D), VIRGINIA DELEGATE: Barack Obama support is in the small towns, big cities, farming communities as well as subdivisions in the exurbs. So, I'm feeling more and more confident that we will turn Virginia blue.

HENRY: So, the most critical piece of McCain's final strategy is to offset potential losses in Republican states by flipping a monster Democratic battleground, Pennsylvania, and it's 21 electoral votes. That's why he campaigned there Saturday and Sunday, and is returning again Monday, where he's charging Barack Obama's tax policies will make the economy worse.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama is running to spread the wealth. I'm running to create more wealth. Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I'm running to make everyone successful.


HENRY: Now, John McCain ends this long day in his home state of Arizona, a late night rally again, in Prescott. Originally, it was supposed to just be sort of a coming home. But, it may turn out to also be a get-out-the-vote rally. As you know, the polls have tightened even in McCain's home state and the West is emerging as another key part of this final strategy -- John.

ROBERTS: So Ed, he really has to put the Sunshine State into the win column. A number of other states he has to, as well, including Pennsylvania, if he really wants to try to turn things around.

Do his people still believe that Pennsylvania's within reach?

HENRY: They do. They've insisted for at least a week now that their private polls have been much tighter than the public polls. You know, they've been in the double digits in Pennsylvania, in terms of him being down from Barack Obama.

They've been insisting that they're much tighter than that. And in fact, the CNN Poll of Polls has gotten it down to about 7 points, the last I looked yesterday. So, it has been tightening.

Also, keep an eye on the West, as I said. Not just Colorado, but New Mexico, as well, emerging obviously as very tight states. And in fact, John McCain has added them to his itinerary on Tuesday. Usually on election day, you stay in your home state, you watch the returns. Instead, John McCain going to Colorado and New Mexico, on Tuesday -- John.

ROBERTS: Yes, he's trying to blunt that Western strategy that Barack Obama's got going. Ed Henry for us, this morning.

Ed, thanks for getting up early. Although I suspect you probably haven't been to bed. But, it's good to see you.

All right. Good to see you.

CHETRY: Well, Barack Obama's final push has included a city-by- city effort to tie John McCain to the past eight years. The vice president's endorsement gave him more ammo today.

OBAMA: Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location to hit the campaign trail. He said that he is, and I quote here, he is "delighted to support John McCain."

CHETRY: Suzanne Malveaux is covering the Obama campaign for us, live this morning in Jacksonville, Florida.

And Obama, Suzanne, is head in most polling this morning. Some states though, are showing a narrow Obama lead. Is the campaign feeling a little nervous, perhaps superstitious this morning?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Superstitious. You know, it's really interesting when you talk to folks because there's a lot of confidence, there's a lot of excitement. We even heard from Barack Obama for the first time yesterday at a rally saying, look around. I see a lot of smiles here. Perhaps we can -- we might just be able to win this thing.

But one thing that consistently people say, is that yes, they're excited, but they're also at the same time, somewhat terrified that something could happen, that they might not actually lock this thing up. And that is something that the Obama campaign, they realize that there is some fear and some concern. And they're using it to their advantage to motivate people.

A lot of things that the voters -- that people don't see actually on television is before and after these huge rallies. They've got these tutorials where they take people aside, they're behind the bleachers, they're giving them the list of names and numbers of folks, perhaps, who have not yet voted, didn't vote early, to knock on those doors. So, it's very organized and they're really using some of that nervous excitement, that nervous energy, Kiran, to get people out to the very last minute.

CHETRY: Yes. Speaking of last minute, breaking with tradition, Barack Obama's scheduled to campaign on election day. He'll actually be in Indiana.

Why Indiana? What's the significance of that state?

MALVEAUX: Well, it's really simple. I mean, obviously, it's right next door. And so, it's an easy trip over. But also, people know Barack Obama in Indiana, the northwest part of the state, they share the same TV market. They are very familiar with him and this is again, one of those hot states, one of those red states, leaning Republican.

They believe that they can turn it around and win in his favor. And it also keeps him in the limelight. We're going to see him voting in Chicago tomorrow. But also, we're going to see him out there at the very last minute, campaigning. Again, it reiterates that message to the voters. Don't be complacent here. If you're worried that something could go wrong, or perhaps it is just beyond their grasp. He's going to be out there, continually asking people to come out to vote. And he wants other people, essentially, to do the same -- Kiran.

CHETRY: It is amazing. 22 different combined stops between the two candidates in the next day.

Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much.

Well, Sarah Palin is the get (ph) this election season. Few have landed a one-on-one interview. But, a pair of shock jocks from Canada, got her on the phone. They're notorious for pranking famous people. And this time, the team, which works mostly in French, convinced Sarah Palin that she was talking to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we have a lot in common because personally one of my favorite activities in to hunt too!

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh very good we should go hunting together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly we could go try hunting by helicopter like you did. I never did that. Like we say in France (INAUDIBLE).

PALIN: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together as we're getting work done. We can kill two birds with one stone that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just love killing those animals. Taking away life, that is so fun. I'd really love to go as long as we don't bring Vice President Cheney.

PALIN: No, I'll be a careful shot, yes.


CHETRY: Do you think that's really her?

ROBERTS: Well, it sounded like her. Of course, Tina Fey sounds a lot like her too.

CHETRY: Well, apparently these shock jocks fessed up. The campaign says Governor Palin was quote, "mildly amused" by it.

ROBERTS: I mean, she certainly didn't sound surprised by it. I mean, sort of suitably embarrassed by some of the things that they were saying. So --

CHETRY: On top of that, that was a horrible French accent. It wasn't anything like Nicolas Sarkozy.

ROBERTS: Well, no. I'd say (INAUDIBLE), which is quite different that Parisian French.

CHETRY: They sounded far too happy to be the leader of the country.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, there you go.

Just into CNN, early voting numbers in one party appears to have an edge going into election day. But, could that lead be wiped out when the polls open tomorrow? And new changes to the electoral map. We'll tell you which states are changing colors.

10 minutes after the hour on this special early edition of AMERICAN MORNING.



MCCAIN: You know how people call me the maverick?


MCCAIN: Well, I thought I might try a strategy called the reverse maverick. That's where I do whatever anybody tells me. I don't ask questions, I just go with the flow. If that doesn't work, I go to the double maverick. That's where I go totally berserk or I just freak everybody out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHETRY: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. That was John McCain in his appearance on "Saturday Night Live," poking fun at his reputation, or what we've heard a lot on the stump -- a political maverick. But, the latest electoral map shows a more serious situation for McCain right now.

CNN estimates that McCain would win 160 electoral votes -- we're going to show the map up there -- there it is. And Barack Obama would win 291, with 87 votes left in the toss up states. Of course, only 270 needed to win the election.

I'm joined now by our political panel, Ed Rollins, Republican strategist and CNN contributor, as well as Julie Menin, Democratic analyst and board member for the Women's Campaign Forum. And Errol Louis, columnist for the "New York Daily News."

And after all your titles, we're now out of time. Thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: Ed, let's start with you. McCain, as we know, has quite a challenge on his hands. That is our CNN estimate based on the polling. One key thing though, is Pennsylvania. What is doing to try to turn this blue state red? And is it a strategy that's going to work in a day out?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's spending a lot of time there, a lot of television there. Pennsylvania's always been a very tough campaign state for us. We've got won Pennsylvania since 1988.

CHETRY: What is it that makes him think this time is different?

ROLLINS: I don't think he has much option. I think in order to get to 270, some of the conventional states that have been normally ours are not. So, I think that's kind of a long ball strategy. But he's done everything he can to be there.

CHETRY: And Errol, do you think the race is going to be closer than we're predicting it right now? I mean, a lot of people are saying, landslide.

ERROL LOUIS, COLUMNIST, "NY DAILY NEWS": It's more likely to see a landslide, I think, than a squeaker for McCain. But, the polls are tightening. And the national polls in particular. If you look at some of the tracking polls, (INAUDIBLE), and so forth, you're down you know, well in the five, six percent range. And that could hold.

You know, all of this turns on turnout. We don't know who's really going to come out. If there's a wave of Evangelicals rushing to the polls, if there's a wave of conservatives or senior citizens rushing to the polls, it may be different than what we're seeing right now.

CHETRY: And Julie, this is clearly advantaged Democrats when it comes to how many new voters are registering. Democrats are really leading this. And they're also leading the early voting charge.

Do you worry that when it comes to actual turn out on election day, the GOP could come ahead?

JULIE MENIN, DEMOCRATIC ANALYST: Well you know, it's very interesting. Because I think we saw in the year 2000, that young people voted 40 percent in the election in 2004, 49 percent of young people voted. It's a real issue I think, both for Democrats and Republicans to make sure the young people in particular turn out, as well as other voting blocks. And what we certainly don't want to see no matter which party you're on is complacency. And that's why this tightening in the polls is actually a good thing for both parties because it motivates people to come out to the polls and to vote.

CHETRY: I want to play this call right now, this robocall. It's Hillary Clinton, actually. But, this is a call that's being put forth, of course, by the Republican National Committee, using Hillary's words against Barack Obama.

Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say about John McCain and Barack Obama.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: In the White House there is no time for speeches and on-the-job training. And Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. And Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002.


CHETRY: Ed, too little, too late?

ROLLINS: Too little, too late. But, if it gets her a couple thousand votes, it's well worth the four cents a call they make. So, 70 percent of most people hang up robocalls. But there are some Hillary people out there that may be impressed by that.

CHETRY: And Errol, if people are undecided. If something like this, hearing from Hillary Clinton, somebody they perhaps supported in the primary, that John McCain's more experienced than Barack Obama.

Is that going to help?

LOUIS: I don't know if it was intended to. I don't know if it's a Hillary supporter that would be affected by that call. But, there are some Independents out there. If they're Independent, they haven't made up their mind, they're not into partisan politics, yes, that could tip them one way or the other. Not very many people though, at this point.

MENIN: I think it's a very effective ad, I have to say. As a Democrat I'm going to admit that it's a very effective ad. I think if the Republicans had used that ad a month ago, they might be in a different situation. It really hits on the issue of experience.

And when McCain picked Sarah Palin, it really took the experience issue off the table. And that's why I think they've had trouble doing that. This is a very different robocall than the Bill Ayers ad, which is strictly a negative attack. This is using Hillary's own words, it's truthful and I think it's an effective ad. But, I agree with Ed absolutely, it's a little bit too late.

CHETRY: Prediction time.

Ed, who's going to win this one?

ROLLINS: Everything I know about politics tells me that Obama's going to (INAUDIBLE) victory.

CHETRY: All right. Well, actually, we're going to do that a little bit later. So, save your answers you two.

ROLLINS: I take that back. Everything I know about politics, I don't know.

MENIN: We're going to make it suspenseful.

CHETRY: All right. Ed Rollins, Julie Menin, Errol Louis, thanks.

ROBERTS: See if the rewind button on that one.

John McCain and Barack Obama, both in Florida, today. And the state could be decided by a new generation of Latino voters. We take a look at the changing face of this crucial voting block.

Plus, early voting. Find out who has the edge so far. 18 and a half minutes now, after the hour.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. We are at the magic wall, this morning. We've got some changes to the CNN electoral map to tell you about. Then, we're going to game out a few scenarios here and there of how either candidate could get to the White House.

First of all, this is the way the map was as of last night, with Montana in the lean Obama category and Iowa, in the lean Obama category -- lean McCain category, sorry. And lead Obama category. What's happened now is that Montana has gone into the toss up category, taking three electoral votes away from John McCain. And Iowa has gone solidly blue now, for Senator Obama. So, that's a big plus for him, to try to get that one into the win column.

Senator McCain, don't forget, has been going to Iowa, very recently and trying to pull that one back.

Let's take a look at the state of Pennsylvania, for example. How could John McCain win Pennsylvania? Well, he could win it up here, in the northeastern section where some polls have showed that the margin between him and Senator Obama are within the margin of error, about three points, or so. If you take a look at Scranton here, the 2004 election results. John Kerry handily won that. But, next door here in Lucerne County, was much closer, only three points. And here in Monroe County, was pretty much a 50/50 split.

So, if John McCain would increase his margins in those two counties there, around the Scranton area, then hang on to these counties, that George Bush won in 2004, he could potentially pull out a win. Similarly over here in Pittsburg, a couple of very close counties if he could increase his margins there, he might be able to pull out a win in Pennsylvania.

So, let's play a little game here. Let's take all of the states that are currently under 10 points and we'll game out a couple of things here for you. Barack Obama's got a number of routes to the White House. He has a route to the White House that goes through the industrial heartland here. He has another route to the White House that goes down here along the Atlantic seaboard, to the south. If he were to win Ohio, and Pennsylvania, that would probably give him the White House. If he were to win Virginia, North Carolina and/or Florida, that would put him in the White House. He's also got this western strategy over here, as well. Where if he hangs on to New Mexico, if he puts Colorado in the win column and Nevada in the win column, that would all take him over, as well.

John McCain, pretty much from where he's standing right now, has to run the table. Because look at the difference -- 291 for Barack Obama, to 157. So, he's got to win all of those states that I just showed you about, that Obama's got two routes through. He's got one route basically across the country. He's got to hope that everything falls his way tomorrow morning --Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Thanks, John.

Well, down to the wire now. After months on the trail, we're just hours away from the polls opening. So, could past voting trends predict tomorrow night's winner? Or, is this a completely different landscape in 2008? Our political panel weighs in at 24 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: Florida and the Cuban-American vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Cuban-American vote 12 years ago, was 66 percent of Hispanic vote in the state. It's now going to be 33, 34 percent of the overall vote in the state.

CHETRY: A critical demographic. But, how decisive will their vote be on election day? You're watching the Most News in the Morning.



MCCAIN: Now, let me give you a little straight talk about the state of the race today. There's just two days left. We're a couple of points behind in Pennsylvania. The pundits have written us off, just like they've done before. My friends, the mac is back.


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning. John McCain there, showing confidence as we enter these final hours of the campaign. And there are some interesting numbers that could predict what happens tomorrow.

Joining me now here in the studio again, Ed Rollins; Republican strategist and CNN contributor. Julie Menin; Democratic analyst and board member for the Women's Campaign Forum. And Errol Louis; a columnist for the "New York Daily News."

Good to see you all, folks. Thanks so much for being here so early, early, early, this morning. But, so exciting, isn't it?

Errol, let's talk about African-American voters, who are going to be a critical voting block for Senator Obama, particularly in a couple of states. Our latest CNN/"Time" Opinion Research Corporate Poll in the state of Virginia, found that he's behind in white voters, white men -- 58 to 40; women white voters -- 52 to 46. And North Carolina, he's behind in white men -- 64/34; white women -- 62/36.

So, if he doesn't turn out a big African-American vote in those two states, it's going to be difficult for him to pull off wins.

LOUIS: Absolutely. And that's been part of the strategy right from the beginning. I mean, we're going to see I think, historic turn outs, in ways that actually can confound some of the models.

You know, normally you have about 60 percent of black registered voter base that turns out, compared to 64 percent nationwide. But, it's -- you know, you have to put in a new number now. It might be 64, it might 65, it might 75, 80, 90 percent. And in some precincts, believe me, it will be. And --

ROBERTS: You wrote a column today, that you think it could easily hit 75 percent.

Ed, is that reasonable to think?

ROLLINS: I think it is. I think there's a great intensity in the community. I think this is going to be greatest thing since the Voting Rights Act to basically make African-Americans go out and really feel a part of it. I think they're going to feel good at the end of this election, obviously if Obama wins.

ROBERTS: Julie, why is Barack Obama still having a problem with white women in some of these states, do you think? MENIN: Well, I think for white women there are a couple of factors. One is, there's still some distrust over what happened with Hillary Clinton. Some people still very much wanted to have her on the ticket, so they're still some anger of that issue. And I think we're seeing that in the poll numbers.

There's still -- whatever you say about Sarah Palin, pro or con, she still energized some women. So, I think that that's been an issue. But, I think he is making inroads with each day. And the poll numbers for Obama have been incredibly steady.

ROBERTS: Errol, what about late deciding voters? Nine percent of voters in 2004 decided within the last three days, they voted 53 percent to 44 percent, John Kerry over President Bush. The 91 percent who made up their minds before that, voted for George Bush.

Do you think we'll see a similar break this year? Or, will it, as Rick Davis had said, will the situation be that people who have made up their mind for Barack Obama already have? If he hasn't closed the deal with them now, he probably won't and therefore those undecideds will likely go to John McCain.

LOUIS: Well, I think it's much more of a tossup this year. I mean everybody knew who the president was the last time so late- deciding was really a referendum on the Bush administration.

This time there is no incumbent so late-deciders are -- it's a referendum on what's more most important to you, is it the economy or is it, say, foreign affairs or national defense? I think in that case, you'll see more breaking towards the Democrats and that happens to be Barack Obama.

ROBERTS: Well, what do you think, Ed? Will it break the same way it did in 2004? And will they all break one way or could they split?

ROLLINS: No. (INAUDIBLE) it could break one way. These are very hard core determiners. They wait until the end and I think they're pretty much split.

ROBERTS: All right. Folks, you're going to be with us all morning. Looking forward to more good dialogue here. We'll ask you for your presidential pick. It is well -- whether or not you think the Democrats will get the 60 in the House, or not the House or the Senate so...

ROLLINS: Sixty in the House, they would.


ROBERTS: That's a bold prediction. Hey, it's 5 o'clock in the morning. We're all allowed a little -- thanks there -- Kiran.

CHETRY: And in fact, it's 31 minutes after 5:00 right now here in New York. Happening right now the final sprint of the historic race. A new poll number show where we stand right now. Let's get a look right now.

With Barack Obama at 51 percent, John McCain at 44 percent, with 5 percent of the electorate polled in this poll saying they are not sure yet about who they're going to choose tomorrow.

The candidates are making an all-day and night effort to change the electoral map. John McCain hitting seven states starting Florida and ending home in Arizona. And meanwhile, Barack Obama is spending his day in a trio of battleground states that voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004 -- North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

And Barack Obama is telling voters that they shouldn't vote for President Bush again. It's been his favorite message on the campaign trail in the final day.


OBAMA: when it comes to the economy, when it comes to the central issue of this election, the plain truth is that John McCain has stood with President Bush every step of the way. He's been -- he's been in the passenger seat. He hasn't been a maverick, he's been a sidekick.

MCCAIN: This is the fundamental difference between Senator Obama and me. We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy. The difference is he thinks taxes are too low. I think that spending has been too high.

My friends, I'm not George Bush. If Senator Obama wanted to run against George Bush, he should have run four years ago.


CHETRY: McCain also said that Obama's proposal for massive tax increases is exactly the wrong approach in an economic crisis.

ROBERTS: Both candidates have spent a huge amount of time and cash in the battleground state of Florida, and the rivals have a close race there to show for it. Barack Obama is four points up in our latest Florida poll of polls. And one crucial voting bloc, Latinos, could make the difference.

Sean Callebs now with a look at the changing face of these group of voters. Sean?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John and Kiran, there's no question the demographics in this state is changing, the question is, how will that affect the turnout in the polls on Tuesday?


CALLEBS (voice over): Hundreds of thousands of absentee votes are in. And when you wander down the long lines in Florida's early election, in many ways, the faces are a pretty good indicator of the racial make-up of the state's electorate.

Right now, the state's Elections Department says 12 percent of the voters are African-American, 13 percent Hispanic. And with the large turnout, Hispanics are a critical demographic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have your parents already voted?


CALLEBS: But they aren't their parents. Young and old, the face of Latino voters is changing, and this changing demographic could be a deciding factor in the battle for the state's 27 electoral delegates.

For example, the traditionally all-important Cuban American votes.

AL CARDENAS, FORMER FLORIDA REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: Cuban American vote 12 years ago 66 percent of the Hispanic vote in the state, it's now going to be 33, 34 percent of the overall vote in the state.

CALLEBS: Here's why that change is so important. In 2000, Cuban Americans voted as a GOP bloc and proved a vital asset to George Bush in the Florida recount. In 2004, Bush had 78 percent of the Cuban American vote.

But a new generation of Cuban American cares less and less about Fidel Castro and more and more about the economy, health care and Iraq.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: I think it's wonderful for our community not to be monolithic so that all parties want to talk about the issues that are important to us, and it's not just about freedom for Cuba, it's also domestic issues as well.

CALLEBS: And while Cuban clout may be diluted, Hispanics from other areas, like Puerto Rico and Central American, who tend to vote Democratic, are the fastest growing population in the state, especially in the all-important I-4 corridor. That's the central section of Florida stretching from Tampa to Daytona Beach.

But how many will actually go to the poll on Election Day?

PROF. SUSAN MACMANUS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA: We don't know who's actually going to follow through with voting. And the groups that tend to be the most iffy in turnout tend to be younger voters and particularly those independent voters.

CALLEBS: It's clear the face of Florida has changed. What we don't know yet is how much of that change will be reflected in the results on Tuesday.


CALLEBS: It's not the same state it was in 2000 during the year of the long recount, but it is shaping up to be a tight, exciting race. And one more reason to watch this battleground state. John and Kiran, back to you.


ROBERTS (voice over): Head start. Why the Democrats might have an early edge? We're breaking down some new early voting numbers.

You're watching the most news in the morning.




TINA FEY, COMEDIAN: OK, listen up, everybody. I'm going rogue right now so keep your voices down. Available now, we got a bunch of these Palin in 2012 T-shirts.

Just -- just try and wait until after Tuesday to wear them, OK?


ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning.

Tina Fey, again, playing Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, but this time sharing the stage with the real John McCain.

And that brings us to our election even political ticker. Barack Obama speaking out after it was disclosed that his aunt, a native of Kenya, is living in the United States illegally. Obama says he didn't know her status and sat down with CBS this weekend to talk about it.


OBAMA: She has violated, then those laws have to be obeyed. We're a nation of laws and you know, obviously, that doesn't lessen my concern for her. I haven't been able to get in touch with her. But it -- you know I'm a strong believer that you obey the law.


ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton lashing out against the use of her own voice in robocalls by the McCain campaign. The calls going out in key battleground states include shots Clinton made against Obama's level of experience during their hard-fought primary race.

And there is one prominent Republican backer of John McCain who is being completely absent from the campaign trail during the final days, and that is George W. Bush. Instead, the president spent most of his weekend at Camp David. The White House says he is focusing on getting the economy back in order.

And for more up-to-the-minute political news, just head to CHETRY: We keep talking about polls opening tomorrow, but meantime, millions of people have already cast their ballot. So many that many polling locations have been quite overwhelmed.

Jason Carroll has been looking into early voting and some of the problems that come along with it. A lot of people want to get it out of the way, people reporting waiting on line for hours.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hours. And you know, it's just going to take a lot of patience because the long lines, they're definitely there. Thirty-one states allow some form of early voting, and late last week, many blew past their 2004 turnout totals. Pretty much wherever you look the lines have been unbelievable.

Take a look at what it looked like this past weekend in North Carolina. About 2.3 million people had cast their ballots by Friday. That's more than a third of all registered voters in the state.

Same could be said for similar scenes out there in Florida. As many as more than 3 million people have voted there. The lines forming in some places, 30 minutes, in one case hours before the polls were set to even open.

One voter called into the CNN voter hotline after being in line for about three hours, so imagine how frustrated he was. And the voters just keep coming. Late last night, we got a report from Franklin County, Ohio where they had to cut off lines there at 5 o'clock when the polls officially close.

But the lines were already there and they were very, very long so -- that it took them to about 11:00 p.m. to get everyone inside to vote.

In all the CNN count shows that there were more than 23 million people that have voted in 25 states. And just a bit of interesting information, some of those numbers, not all of those states report party affiliation.

But of those that do, 58 percent of early voters have been registered Democrats, while 42 percent have been Republicans.

And one more final note, that voter who did end up calling in from a hotline in Florida, we called him back later in the day to see how things went, he said he went back to the polls at around 9 o'clock in the morning. He ended up voting at around 2:00. So that ended up being five-hour wait.

So they ended at the bottom line here, if they're going to go out there and vote, even on Election Day, there seems to be so much excitement about all this. We're just going to have to wait.

CHETRY: Especially in those battleground states like Florida where, literally, as we've seen, every vote can count.

So we're hearing all these reports. Do we have any idea about widespread problems in lines in some of these states? CARROLL: Well, a little bit of information. What we're hearing from our CNN hotline. Thousands of people have called in, some 25,000 people calling in.

CNN's partner, InfoVoter Technologies, reporting 16,000 callers coming in. Most of it just being -- the complaints that we're hearing so far are about some of those long lines. People looking for some answers. So they weren't prepared for the turnout this early.

CHETRY: Unbelievable. All right, well, we'll see what happens with just a day left and for those that did wait out there for hours, good for you. You were very committed.

Jason Carroll, thank.

Well, if you see any of these voting irregularities, we do want you to call us, 877-GOCNN-08 to report any problem.


ROBERTS (voice over): Foot solder. Jen the security guard. An independent voter concerned about the economy. On paper, she looks like the perfect Barack Obama voter, except for one thing.

JEN RAIFFE, MCCAIN VOLUNTEER: It's not going to be that easy.

ROBERTS: Her efforts to get McCain elected in a crucial swing state.

You're watching the most news in the morning.



ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most politics in the morning.

We have got another brand new resource here at CNN. It's our next generation of reporters. They're journalists that we've dispatched across the country with a backpack full of hi-tech gear. It lets them travel light and file stories about your hometown.

One of those reporters, our Jim Spellman, is focusing on Colorado this morning. It's expected to be a key battleground state in tomorrow's election. The latest CNN Poll of Polls there shows Barack Obama with a six-point lead.

We found one woman in Colorado who works all night and then stays up all day working to turn those numbers around for John McCain.


JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 38-year-old Jen Raiffe spends her night on patrol as a security guard in Denver. It's not a job she imagined doing.

RAIFFE: I'm nowhere near where I picture I'd be in this stage of my life.

SPELLMAN: After the night shift, Raiffe spends her day answering the phone at a McCain call center in Denver. She began volunteering for the campaign a month ago after meeting McCain at a Denver town hall meeting.

RAIFFE: But what touched me was this interaction, the sincerity that not only I felt but everybody in that room felt that day.

SPELLMAN: She says McCain has the character and judgment to be president. But as suburban, independent voter concerned about the economy, she's just the kind of voter Barack Obama has been courting in this swing state.

RAIFFE: On paper, I'm an Obama voter who led to people believe the hype. Heck, if none of us had to work so hard and everybody could get what they want with half the effort, yes, who's not for that? But that -- it's not going to be that easy. It's going to cost us money -- everybody money.

SPELLMAN: After being laid-off from a hi-tech company and a failed attempt to running a small business, she's struggling, says Obama is a risk she can't afford.

RAIFFE: I can't (INAUDIBLE) redistributing my wealth. I don't have enough wealth to pay my bills. I got to take care of me and I can't afford, as much as I'd like to, help other people out because no one's going to help me.

SPELLMAN: So she'll spend the next day helping out the McCain campaign and hoping for a comeback.

Jim Spellman, CNN, Denver.


CHETRY: All right. Well, we want to show you something very, very neat and actually pretty addictive right now. It's You can go to your Web site you can track everything about this election while you're watching television right here at your laptop.

I'm going to show a couple of very interesting things you can do. Just go to and first of all, you get this chance to look at our election -- electoral college calculator where you can take a look.

We've seen a lot of campaigning in these battleground states and, of course, states that went red back in 2004, how they're still up in the air right now. And so as we take a look, we can see where states are leaning, which ones are considered safe for either candidate.

Something else is pretty neat is that you can check out by the numbers, the election tracker, and look at various states and see where the polling is leaning as -- take a look at Minnesota right now, 53 percent to 42. You just scroll over to it and boom, the latest polling numbers come up.

When you see a CNN, it means it's a poll of polls that -- that we've compiled the list of a lot of local and state polls to get you the best information possible.

You can also join a forum. You can do fact checks. A lot going on at, a very addictive site. You got to check it out.

Meanwhile, it's 50 minutes after the hour.


ROBERTS (voice over): Predicting the unprecedented.

MCCAIN: The pundits have written us off.

ROBERTS: With potential first on both sides. Can we believe the presidential polls?

Plus, making it count.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if my vote did not get in by November 4th?

ROBERTS: Informing and putting fears at ease with hours left until Election Day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will our votes still be counted?

ROBERTS: The guide you got to see on the most politics in the morning.




MCCAIN: Are you someone who likes fine jewelry and also respects a politician who can reach across the aisle? If so, you can't go wrong with McCain/Feingold. It commemorates the McCain/Feingold act and also looks great with evening wear.

Thank you, Cindy.


CHETRY: I don't know why, but that really crack me up on "Saturday Night Live" when I saw that.

John McCain and his wife Cindy taking a break from the campaign trail. He stopped by "Saturday Night Live." The potential first lady also talks about her cameo with CNN's Larry King.

LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, John and Kiran. Cindy McCain is on "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight. We taped it yesterday afternoon among other things -- among many things. She talked about her appearance on "Saturday Night Live." Watch.


KING: Did you like selling jewelry on "Saturday Night Live"?


KING: That was funny.

CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: That was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun during that. I was surprised that they were -- I didn't know I was going to be doing that until I actually got there.

So I enjoyed it and you know, that's just a fun show to do and it's always fun to poke fun at yourself and remember to keep a good sense of humor because after all, you can't take yourself too seriously in anything that you do.


CHETRY: And you can catch the rest of the interview with Cindy McCain tonight on "LARRY KING." It's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

ROBERTS: And you got to hand it to John McCain to even joke about McCain/Feingold.

CHETRY: Exactly. And, you know...

ROBERTS: Didn't serve him too well in the primaries.

CHETRY: No. I'm just wondering how many people, aside from the political junkies, knew exactly what -- what he was saying when he said Feingold.

ROBERTS: Everybody in the Republican Party, that's for sure.

Well, both sides have been going all out to drive people to the polls and it seems to be working. "USA Today" reporting on a new study that says voter registration is at its highest level since 1920 when women were given the right to vote.

CNN's Carol Costello has been filling viewer questions about their vote and she is here now with some answers.

Carol, good to see you in the studio this morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Can you believe 23 million people have already voted and early voted and there could be more?

It's insane how many people...

ROBERTS: Incredible.

COSTELLO: ... are energized this year.

CHETRY: And you know, a lot of them are waiting in these long lines and they're doing it anyway to vote.

COSTELLO: Yes, and more power to them. Don't give up, wait in line because it's important to vote.

You know we sent our cameras across the country to ask people what they were thinking about when it came to voting. We wanted to know what their question were so we can answer them to make your life at the polls easier.

So let's go to our first voter question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Farazo (INAUDIBLE) and I'm from Los Angeles, California. My concern as an absentee voter is what if my vote does not get in by November 4th?


COSTELLO: That's a very good question. So Farazo, according to the League of Women Voters, in California the law requires that your absentee ballot be received by mail or handed into the local board of elections by the time the polls close on Election Day.

If you are concerned that your ballot did not make the deadline the best thing to do is contact your local board of elections to find out what their policy is. Maybe they'll fax it to you late. Maybe they'll allow you to use the write-in ballot. But by this point, it's probably too late.

OK. Let's go to Donald now and have his question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Donald Phils (ph). I'm from Los Angeles, California. And my question is, what happens if I show up to the polls to vote and my address that you have is different from where I am listed?


COSTELLO: That is such a good question. But Donald in California, if you have moved within the county, but did not re- register to vote, you'll be asked to cast a provisional ballot. And now the elections official will then verify your prior registration before the provisional ballot will be counted. Your registration will then be updated with your current address.

One word about provisional ballots. They are the ballots most likely to be challenged in a close race and they are the ballots most likely to be thrown out. Now by law, board of elections must tell you if your provisional vote was thrown out any why and you can either call a hotline or you can go online.

All boards of elections have an online service where you can check out your provisional ballot and find out whether it counted, and if it was thrown out, why.

We're going to have more voter questions in the next hour. So stay with us. John, Kiran?

ROBERTS: Looking forward to it.

Carol, thanks so much for that.


ROBERTS: Appreciate it.

And if you see any voting irregularities we want to know about it, by the way. Go to 1-877-CNN-08. Rather call 1-877-462-6608 to report any problems. So far we had about 9,000 people call into the hotline and tell us about their voting experience.

CHETRY: Coming up at the 6 o'clock hour just in a couple of minutes now, the top stories were less than 24 hours away from America votes. And the new polling numbers are offering us a snapshot of where the race stands right now.

Our latest poll of polls gives Barack Obama 51 percent, John McCain with 44 percent. And as the clock winds down, neither ticket is giving an inch. Each holding late-night rallies, in fact they are criss-crossing the country. Candidates making a combined 22 stops in 13 states today alone.

We're going to get complete coverage from the trail in just a moment.

Federal immigration officials are investigating if any laws were broken after it was disclosed that Barack Obama's aunt is living in the U.S. illegally. And she was ordered to leave the country four years ago after an immigration judge denied her request for asylum.

Obama says he didn't know her status but believes appropriate laws should be obeyed.

And there's new evidence that the flu shot may protect your children. Researcher studying 2500 kids over the past two years found that those who were vaccinated have nearly half as many flu related doctor visits.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all healthy children ages six months to 18 years get the flu shot.

ROBERTS: Well, the campaigning will be fast and furious on this final day before the election, and according to new CNN polls just out, 59 percent of voters believe that Barack Obama is the candidate for change, 41 percent think that it's McCain.