Each campaign is targeting different kinds of voters, tailoring its message accordingly.
Republican aides talk of setting up voter registration tables outside mega-churches. "We do it at NASCAR races, [World Wrestling Entertainment] events," said Rich Beeson, political director for the Republican National Committee. Beeson's office at RNC headquarters is plastered with maps of every battleground state, with targeted counties highlighted in burnt orange.
College campuses are dicier. McCain's daughter Meghan was dispatched to Ohio State University and other parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania to help sway younger voters.
But with Obama scoring well among younger voters, McCain supporters on college campuses say they have to work harder to find like-minded students than do the Democrats -- and they risk registering students who will vote for Obama instead.
At Bowling Green State University in Ohio, college Republicans have set up tables for students to register. But they are "not pushing it real hard," said Quinten Wise, 21, chairman of the group and a senior. "It can hurt your cause if you're not careful."
By contrast, the Obama campaign is helping the Bowling Green college Democrats to register everyone the group can find.
The Obama campaign "provides all the stuff we give away at tables, which attracts people in," said senior Steve Currie, 22, president of the school's Democratic club. "They help us organize events. They pay for most of everything."
Obama is making a strong play to register young voters, running ads in school newspapers and airing commercials on MTV and VH1.
An Obama radio ad that began running in Pennsylvania last month features a young woman offering an abortion-rights message: "I'm voting because it's my body, not theirs." Obama then says the deadline to register in Pennsylvania is today.
The hip-hop artist Nas led a voter registration rally on Obama's behalf at Hampton University in Virginia on Sunday. Over the weekend, two other Obama supporters -- Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated TV series "Family Guy," and Adrianne Palicki, a star of the TV show "Friday Night Lights" -- appeared at several Ohio colleges to encourage students to register and vote.
Before Springsteen's concert Sunday in Columbus, Obama aides handed out tickets not just in campaign offices, but at a park near a board of elections site. Then, they urged people to go register, a campaign aide said.--
Times staff writer Faye Fiore contributed to this report.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
Voter registration trends
A key aspect of Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has been increasing voter registration, and that has generally happened in 11 battleground states. Changes in five states that keep information by party:
Percentage change from 2004
*--* Republicans Democrats Colorado -8.0 +1.4 Florida 0.0 +3.0 Nevada +10.8 +28.9 North Carolina +2.6 +5.3 Pennsylvania -5.8 +9.3 *--*
In some states, only total registration is available. Percentage change since 2004:
Note: All registration totals for 2008 are the latest available. Michigan, July; Nevada and Florida, August; Colorado, Sept. 2; Indiana and North Carolina, Sept. 27; Pennsylvania, Sept., 29; Virginia, Sept. 30; Ohio and Montana, Oct. 1; Missouri, Oct. 2
Source: Individual states. Graphics reporting by Tom Reinken