New York, Oct.13 : A boom in voter registration across America has raised the possibility of a landslide victory for Senator Barack Obama, with an overwhelming majority of the nine million new voters believed to favour the Democratic candidate. According to the New York Times, with electoral rolls now closed in most states, Obama has a clear advantage among first-time registrants, many of whom are under 30 or African Americans. The big question mark over new voters is how many of them will show up on November 4.
Historically their turn out rate has been significantly lower than regular voters. Even allowing for that, Democrats are quietly confident that a silent minority of new voters are lying in wait to deliver the White House - and cancel out the voters who may be unwilling to support a black candidate.
If new voters turn out at the same rate as in 2004 - and cast their ballots in line with their registration - then Obama is set to win the swing states he needs to beat John McCain.
If this trend plays out in his favour, Obama could capture Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Florida and North Carolina - all states with sudden rises in Democratic registration. He would also win the states taken by John Kerry, the Democratic candidate in 2004. Obama would then have well over the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory.
In Nevada, the Democrats have an advantage of 90,000 registered voters, giving Obama the potential to overturn the majority of 21,500 by which the state voted for President George W Bush in 2004.
Some Republicans are openly fearful of the potential groundswell for Obama, but others remain sceptical that the Obama people can persuade all their new voters to make it to the polling booth.
Race has erupted as an issue mostly in ways that seem to confirm how deep the divide remains for some voters. While Obama's advisers say they do not think race will be a factor in the election, the actual extent of the racial divide is likely to become clear only on November 4.