Well the media has officially gotten cocky when they start predicting that the reddest of red states could be in play for Barack Obama, and that's precisely what NBC's Ron Mott did on Tuesday's "Today" show, when he cheered that Texas, "May be surprisingly competitive." [audio excerpt available here]
In a report on early voting, Mott noted the long lines for those willing to participate in early voting and celebrated:
So far Democratic voters appear to be the ones most willing to wait, and that could spell good news for Senator Barack Obama who's encouraged supporters, including his legion of newly registered young voters, to take advantage of early voting in 32 states and they've answered the call.
Then a little later, before throwing it back to "Today" anchor Meredith Vieira, Mott concluded the story with this overly confident observation:
Polls here in Texas give Senator McCain a relatively comfortable advantage but Democrats are nonetheless optimistic. They point to record turnout that we've seen so far, and a record number of registered voters, 13.5 million, as two signs perhaps that Texas may be surprisingly competitive this time next week. Meredith?
The following is the full story as it was aired on the October 28, "Today" show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: While Election Day is seven days away millions of Americans have cast their ballots already in the states where you are allowed to vote early, but since this election is drawing so much interest even early voters are being forced to hurry up and wait. NBC's Ron Mott is at a polling station in San Antonio, Texas with more. Ron, good morning.
[On screen headline: "Can't Hardly Wait, Early Voters Head to Polls"]
RON MOTT: Hey there, Meredith. Good morning to you. Look there are no lines here just yet. That's because this polling station won't open until late, a little bit later this morning. We have seen very long lines across this country. And when all the votes are counted, turnout, much like the results of this presidential election could be historic. In Florida the lines snaked up to five hours long.
UNIDIENTIFED MAN: I think finally America has woken up and we're here to make a difference.
MOTT: In Georgia-
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's been about two hours and it's been long and hot and hungry.
MOTT: About a million people have braved waits as long as four hours. And in Colorado.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN IN CAR: Can I drop my ballot?
POLL WORKER: You sure can!
MOTT: Drive by voting is a welcome time saver in a state where 80 percent of voters polled expect to cast ballots before Election Day.
UNIDENTIFIED EXPERT: I think it's gonna be the largest voter turnout in the history of the state of Colorado.
MOTT: Such high turnout for early voting is raising questions about just how long the lines will be next Tuesday and whether some voters will give up, possibly altering the outcome.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN#3: Today I just made up my mind I was gonna stay, regardless of what the line was because I need to vote.
MOTT: So far Democratic voters appear to be the ones most willing to wait, and that could spell good news for Senator Barack Obama-
BARACK OBAMA: All of you should be casting your votes early.
MOTT: -who's encouraged supporters, including his legion of newly registered young voters, to take advantage of early voting in 32 states and they've answered the call. Democrats have cast more than twice the number of early ballots as Republicans in North Carolina, which has voted for Republican presidential candidates in seven straight elections, a streak now in jeopardy.
UNIDENTIFIED POLL WORKER#2: Thanks a lot for voting early.
MOTT: Same story in hotly contested Nevada, and in New Mexico which George W. Bush carried four years ago, Democrats hold a 69 to 31 percentage lead.
JOHN MCCAIN: Now let's go win this election and get this country moving again!
MOTT: But John McCain appears to be getting more favorable turnout in two key battleground states, Colorado and Florida, where Republicans and Democrats are running neck and neck. Polls here in Texas give Senator McCain a relatively comfortable advantage but Democrats are nonetheless optimistic. They point to record turnout that we've seen so far, and a record number of registered voters, 13.5 million, as two signs perhaps that Texas may be surprisingly competitive this time next week. Meredith.
VIEIRA: Alright Ron Mott, thanks very much.