Most expensive vote ever? Barack Obama diverts Air Force One to cast early ballot in Chicago

 

One thing we know about this coming election morning in America: there will be no pictures of the incumbent waving at photographers as he ponders the voting machine in his Chicago precinct. That’s because Barack Obama did something last night that no sitting president has done before — he voted ahead of time.

Taxpayers might legitimately ask how much it cost to divert Air Force One from the President’s packed swing-state campaign itinerary yesterday to make the extra Chicago stop. (Determinedly Democrat Illinois is not a place he would normally need to set foot in.) No single vote in history can have cost as much as that one did. But never mind that, Mr Obama had an important point to make.

The Democrats know that getting as many people as possible to vote early will be crucial to maximising turn-out. It seems like the message has been getting through. This reporter watched as a crowd of 16,000, assembled in a park near downtown Denver to see Mr Obama, was asked if they had yet taken advantage of early voting that had begun here two days before. I am just guessing, but it seemed like at least 10,000 hands shot up.

All this matters, because the evidence is that Democrats make use of early voting more than Republicans do. Exactly why isn’t clear. A Time magazine poll this week had Mr Obama beating Mr Romney by a two to one margin among early voters across the country. Meanwhile 11 polls conducted in the swing states showed the president ahead of his challenger by between five and 35 points among those who had already made their choices.

Anxious not to allow anything to get in the way of the notion that their man is ahead, the Republicans claimed in a memo they had cut into the Democrat’s early voting edge in the key state of Ohio and that with early voting Mr  Obama was cannibalising votes that he would otherwise get on election day. Team Obama begged to differ: “Like Mitt Romney’s tax plan, the early vote numbers from the GOP just don’t add up.”

There is intense debate over whether the Romney momentum that began after the debate here three weeks ago has started slow.  It is hard to divine, but not perhaps out here in the west. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll last night showed Mr Romney drawing even with the president in Colorado and catching up fast in Nevada.

The main voting day in the US is 6 November.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent