Cover Story

4th quarter, 3rd & 10

"4th quarter, 3rd & 10" Continued...

Issue: "Not over till it's over," Nov. 1, 2008

In the swing state of Florida, John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) says his group has seen a surge of activity in the election's final days, but most of that energy is devoted to passing a marriage amendment to the state's constitution. FFPC has produced some 5 million bulletin inserts and conducted 30 pastors' conferences to promote the ballot measure that would prohibit gay marriage.

Stemberger says conservative turnout will help the amendment, but an "Obama effect" driving high black voter turnout could help too: A statewide poll shows some 65 percent of black voters say they'll vote for the measure.

Polls show a tight race for both the amendment and the presidential election in Florida. Stemberger says McCain's choice of Palin helped him with social conservatives, but he wonders if the senator could have done more: "I think there's been a disappointment that the McCain campaign has not taken the opportunity to really hit the nail on the head when it comes to moral and social issues."

While McCain spends time in battleground states like North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida, some GOP strategists think he should focus on a national message. "He has to make the case that he's different than Bush and better than Obama on the economy," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "If he doesn't win that case, it's all over, and it's going to be a very bad year for Republicans."

With only days left in the presidential race, time is running out for McCain to make that case. And conservatives hope the candidate who loves being the underdog can shed that status before Election Day.

Poll closing times†

6 p.m.

Indiana*, Kentucky*

7 p.m.

Florida*, Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia

7:30 p.m.

Ohio, West Virginia

8 p.m.

Alabama, Connecticut, Delware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan*, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota*, Tennessee, Texas*

8:30 p.m.

Arkansas, North Carolina

9 p.m.

Arizona, Colorado, Kansas*, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, 
New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Wyoming

10 p.m.

Idaho*, Iowa, North Dakota*, Montana, Nevada, Oregon*, Utah

11 p.m.

California, Hawaii, Washington

12 a.m.

Alaska*

†Closings listed in EST regardless of time zone for real-time comparison

*States spanning multiple time zones, where polls also close one hour later

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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