(CNN) - The McCain campaign announced Sarah Palin is set to make a stop in North Carolina Tuesday night, two days after the Republican VP candidate stumped in Nebraska - two reliably red states that haven't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in at least three decades.
Palin's most recent travel schedule is the latest indication Barack Obama and the nation's ailing economy have put John McCain on the defensive, even in states where the prospect of a Democratic win was unthinkable only four years ago.
Palin's visit to North Carolina comes as most recent polls of the state show Obama and McCain essentially in a dead heat there. A CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation poll of North Carolina last month showed the candidates dead even, while some recent polls have even suggested a slight Democratic lead. CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation will release a new North Carolina poll Tuesday morning.
Election Center: Check out the latest state polls
Then there’s the unknown variable of an anticipated rise in turnout in the African-American community. In 2006 that voting bloc made up 26 percent of North Carolina's electorate, with 85 percent voting for Sen. John Kerry. Obama is expected to win an even higher percentage of the black vote this cycle, with a higher expected turnout as well.
"The North Carolina of today is far more diverse than the North Carolina of twenty or even ten years ago," CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib said. "The state’s changing economy has attracted thousands of new voters willing to pull the lever for a Democratic nominee. Second, the state’s sizable African-American voting bloc is extremely energized by Obama’s candidacy. Third, the economic downturn has made Tar Heel voters — just like voters in the rest of the country — much more receptive to the Democratic message of change."
Palin's appearance in the state comes more than five months after McCain held his last public event there, delivering a speech in early May at Wake Forest on his vision for judicial appointments. The event came the same day as Indiana and North Carolina's Democratic primaries and was largely overshadowed by the still-ongoing battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.
McCain-Palin spokesman Ben Porritt said Monday the campaign remains confident the Republican ticket will carry the state.
"This is a state that Barack Obama has put millions of dollars into," he said. "This is an opportunity to speak to our supporters there and makes sure they turn out."
Porritt also declined to say whether McCain has any plans to visit North Carolina before Election Day.
The North Carolina visit comes after Palin traveled to Nebraska's Second Congressional District Sunday, prompting pundits to speculate the McCain campaign is worried the Obama could peel off an electoral vote there. Nebraska, like Maine, awards its electoral votes by the winner of each congressional district, and the second district - which includes Omaha and its surrounding areas - is the most Democratic.
But Palin told Nebraska voters Sunday she was not visiting the state because the campaign was worried about a possible loss there.
“The pundits today on TV—one of them was saying, check out the vice president’s schedule, check out where she’s going—she’s going to Nebraska,” she said. “But the pundit was saying the only reason she’d be going there is ‘cause they’re scared, so they got to go there and shore up votes. And I wanted to reach into that TV and say no, I’m going to Nebraska because I want to go to Nebraska."
WOULD NOT BARRACUDA HELP HIM?
She gives bad name to strong woman as I am.
What else they can do... Just that lies, over, lies. They don't have the guts to talk about the crisis... because a big part of it is from McCain with the case of 'Keating 5' him included
People are upset about the trickle down economics that Bush/McCain have implemented..
Throughout his career McCain has been in favor of DEREGULATION. now seeing the damage it has down to our economy....he says he's a regualtor. LIE!!!!
Just like with the KEATING 5 Mccain can't be trusted, siding on the side of his corrupt friend Charles Keating over the people.
If McCain is elected we get 4 more years of Bush.
Yeah, right - I'm from Nebraska and guess when I found out she was coming? She was already in Omaha and half way through her speech on TV. Why the big secret? She wanted to feel us out, I suspect. Less than 3,000 people showed up when she first got here and it grew to maybe 5,000. When Barack Obama came here, he drew four times that amount.
I have one question for John McCain. What are the Senators names that added the PORK SPENDING in the bailout bill?
Or was it an empty campaign promise?
McCain needs to show what Obama has done for "South side of Chicago" ever since he was elected in Illinois State Senate.
I guess this is the Maverick Farewell Tour?
More lies from Palin and Co.
I can't image a president who is friends with a terrorist. I can't image a president with the name of Hussein. I can't imagine a president with no experience.
What is happening.
The economy is not McCain's fault. McCain can turn the economy around while Obama is going to put us deeper in by raising our taxes and giving a speech.
McCain = Keating 5
McCain pushed the de-regulation that empowered this financial crisis we are in.
McCain panicked and started issuing ultimatums when the crisis hit – Only one week prior, he said 'The economy is strong'
McCain = Depression
McSame and McBarbie seem to think that they can go all over the country spewing hate and ugliness and come out smelling like a rose.... hmmmm.... I suspect they think they will come out smelling like BUSH!
But I think the American People are too smart for that this time around.
As reported on "meet the press" yesterday what about McCain sitting on the board of directors on US Council for World Freedom a racist and anti-semitic organization.....We need to hear more about this. CNN come on give more info.
Oh Please. Only idiots can honestly vote for Obama. The only thing he has ever accomplished is a speech written by someone else, and with the aid of a teleprompter, he can tell you all day long how great he thinks he is. But then again, he's never accomplished anything, so we're right back to where we started. It's a disgrace the DNC backed him for the nomination. I cringe for the sake of all the others that came before this ego maniac, because they were told that Obama was the better one. How asinine. He's a slick used car salesman and that is all. I'm not buying his dribble.
I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, it's pathetic how far into the gutter the GOP will go in their attempts to scare Americans into giving them "just one more chance".
On the other hand, it's kind of entertaining to watch them flail about so impotently, rearranging the deck chairs as their ship slowly sinks.
And, they even managed to take John McCain - the GOP's one reliable straight-talking maverick - and turn him into just another one of them. I bet there are a lot of undecided Americans watching his latest pronouncements and heading over to Obama because they are so disgusted to learn how full of it McCain was all this time.
vote obama-biden a team you can trust.
MY 401K IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN BILL AYERS. THE ECONOMY IS STILL MY PRIMARY ISSUE. TALK ECON AND YOU GET MY VOTE
OBAMA CAN TURN MISSOURI, KANSAS, AND EVEN TEXAS BLUE!!!!! WE NEED CHANGE, NOT MR.MAGOO AND PRINCESS BARBIE!!! SAVE AMERICA AND VOTE FOR OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!!!
Which McCain are we going to see Tuesday night? The Liberal anti- Bush, anti-lobbyist, anti-earmark, anti-Wall St., maverick reformer who represents Main St. or the angry lying conservative right- wing, war-mongering Bush loyalist that we've all learned to dispise.
Really hope that if Obama's going to win (which seems to be the case), that Dems do not take control of Congress. There needs to be some sort of Check & Balance between the Legislative & Executive branches. Pelosi & Reid have done absolutely nothing in the last 2 years to improve any of this country's priorities.....
SCOTT L. The Army, Navy, AirForce, and Marine Corp are heavy in Fairfax and I bet they will come out in drobes for Sen. Obama....
You will soon See sir why would they vote for MCCAIN and he would not even support the bill to allow them a better chance at hire education.......
Here we are, people killing themselves and family members because they are in financial crisis but Senator McCain and Gov. Palin want to focus on stupid stuff....
They need to stay focused on the issues, people are dying, losing jobs and houses, retirements are drying up, do you really think they are concerned about something that has already been addressed ..
We need to stay focused on the real issues...
I'm a Republican and hearing no talk about issues except from Obama, I may either stay home this year or go ahead and vote for the man who wants to get something done!
Fellow (R), let's show McCain and Palin their actions are unacceptable!
McCain is losing because no one likes a bully. Also, he is not being very Presidential along with his valley girl pick.
Democrats= hearing the truth all of you turn into bitter whiners.
good for Palin for releasing the truth about Obama, he brings nothing to this campaign but a good speech, a good speech doesn't lead this country buddy, and I love to hear you demo-brats witch and moan over everything that gets said, finally Palin says what everyone is thinking
Obama=death for America
This isn't partisan.
Few people want to vote for a guy who voted with Bush 90% of the time.
We got punked by Bush.
Not interested in getting punked by McCain.