Barack Obama thinks he can do something Democrats have found impossible for 40 years: win the South. Dixie has been bright red ever since the Civil Rights Movement, but it's also full of black and young voters who either aren't registered or don't usually vote. So the potential in demographic groups key to Obama's candidacy "is just incredible,” his deputy campaign manager tells the New York Times.
The math is daunting—Democrats lost every Southern state in 2000 and 2004, despite winning roughly 90% of the black vote. But Obama has more resources than past Democratic campaigns, which gave up on Dixie early. If his voter registration drives don’t significantly swing the math, he’ll need to win about 40% of white voters, which leaves the GOP confident. “It’s not like we’re talking about states that were won by one or two points last time,” one McCain adviser tells the Times. “These Southern states… were double-digit wins.”