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David Plouffe, key Obama aide, says national polls don't matter

August 25, 2008 |  5:31 pm

DENVER -- David Plouffe, an architect of Barack Obama's surprise ascension to the pinnacle of the Democratic Party, did not look today like a fellow under duress because of the recent spate of national polls showing his candidate losing much of the advantage he's enjoyed over John McCain.

That's because, to hear him tell it (as he did at a press briefing), he all but ignores the surveys that tend to stir much interest among others.

"We don't pay attention to national polls," he said, referring to himself and the rest of the Obama team charged with winning the 270 electoral votes -- accrued through 51 separate contests in the states and the District of Columbia -- to win the White House.

Instead, as Plouffe reviewed the status of the race, he said he and his colleagues concentrate on other matters. Such as, most importantly, the undecided voters in the 18 states they see as the campaign's key battlegrounds and -- in those locales and elsewhere -- efforts to spur turnout of Obama supporters.

"We stay laser-focused on these two factors each and every day," he said.

The obsession on turnout is a key reason he turns a blind eye to the national polls -- and remains pretty positive in his assessment of the race, handwringing among some Democrats notwithstanding. .

Pollsters generally base their sampling group on past voting patterns. But the electorate in 2008, Plouffe said flatly, "is going to be changed in some fundamental ways from 2004."

He did concede this much about the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee:

"McCain has more strength with independent voters than most Republicans. We as a party can be bummed out about that, but we've got to deal with it."

-- Don Frederick

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