Washington, Sept.30 : Senior aides of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama believe he is on course for a landslide election victory over John McCain and will comfortably exceed most current predictions in the race for the White House.
According to The Telegraph, they are convinced that Obama has a strong chance of winning no fewer than nine states won by George W. Bush in the closely contested 2000 election.
Their optimism is based on information from private polling and on faith in the powerful political organisation he has built in the key swing states.
Insiders say that Obama's apparent calm through an unusually turbulent election season is because he believes that his strength among first time voters in several key states has been underestimated, both by the media and by the Republican Party.
Obama, however, has come under fire from within Democratic ranks over his message and his tactics. Critics say he has failed to connect with the blue-collar workers seen as crucial to winning the election, and too reluctant to make direct attacks on McCain. David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, said last week that Obama had "a lot of opportunity" in states that Bush won four years ago.
But in private briefings in Washington, a member of Obama's inner circle of policy advisers went much further in spelling out why the campaign's working assumptions far exceed the expectations of independent observers.
"Public polling companies and the media have underestimated the scale of new Democratic voters registration in these states," the campaign official told a friend.
"We're much stronger on the ground in Virginia and North Carolina than people realise. If we get out the vote this may not be close at all."
To win the presidency, Obama must win 270 votes in the Electoral College, which awards votes to the winner of each state broadly in proportion to the size of the population.
Statewide surveys put the likely Electoral College result at a slender Obama win, 273-265.
But his campaign staff believes they have a good chance of securing between 330 and 340 votes, and could win up to 364 votes, a landslide on the scale of Bill Clinton's wins. The senior Obama advisor said that the Democratic nominee is confident of winning all the states held by John Kerry, the Democratic candidate four years ago, a total of 252 votes.
But his team believes he can also bank victories in Iowa, where he first emerged as a force in the campaign in January, and New Mexico, where Kerry only lost by 20,000 votes in 2004. Those states would leave him just six votes short of outright victory.
Taking Colorado, as Obama's team is very confident of doing, would put him over the top. Even winning the smaller state of Nevada, with its five electoral votes, would be enough to guarantee a 269-269 tie with McCain.
If that happens, the US Constitution would hand the decision over to the Democrat dominated US House of Representatives, which would presumably come down in Obama's favour. Most pollsters would regard those expectations as uncontroversial. But the Obama camp is also confident of winning Ohio and Virginia, which commentators believe are "toss up" states with the two candidates chances at 50/50.
Last week, Obama was advertising in Indiana, Florida and North Carolina, which many had supposed to be a waste of time and money.
A Washington official who has discussed the electoral mathematics with one of Mr Obama's senior advisers told The Sunday Telegraph that the campaign is spending money only in states that it believes can, and indeed ought to, be won.