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I’ve been skeptical about the vaunted Obama ground game. But now I believe it’s real. So real, this election may already be decided in North Carolina.

Some 2.6 million people have already voted – 40 percent of the registered voters. Democrats outnumber Republicans 52-30. African-Americans are 27 percent of the total.

Republicans have their famous 72-Hour Plan. But Democrats had a 17-Day Plan.

As late as Friday, I thought Republicans still would win the Big Three in North Carolina: President, Senate and Governor. No longer. I think Obama wins here – as well as nationally. And he carries Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue to victory.

There are other straws in the wind. Perdue’s campaign and the Democrats sound more confident than McCrory’s and the Republicans. And Dole would not have tried the “godless” ad unless she was in real trouble.

Early voting has fundamentally changed the shape of elections here for years to come. And North Carolina is now a key battleground state for the White House for years to come.

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