By Jean-Paul Salamanca ( | First Posted: Oct 25, 2012 11:59 AM EDT

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney go head to head in North Carolina, with only 12 days until the Nov. 6 election. (Photo : Reuters)

To paraphrase baseball legend Yogi Berra, in the state of North Carolina, it ain't over till it's over-or at least, that's what both the Obama and Romney campaigns will tell you.

While polls are showing a consensus that Mitt Romney in the lead for North Carolina's 15 electoral votes up for grabs in the Nov. 6 presidential election, President Barack Obama has taken the lead in early voting tallies.

With only 12 days until Election Day Nov. 6, both sides look like they're digging in.

"We are doubling down, we are not pulling back at all," David Axelrod, senior staffer in the Obama campaign, said Tuesday, according to the Charlotte Observer, about North Carolina and the two other battleground states in the South, Florida and Virginia. "Anybody who thinks those states are in the bag (for Romney) are half in the bag themselves."

Axelrod was responding to rumors that the Obama campaign was likely scaling back its efforts to win North Carolina-a state Obama won in 2008-based on several polls, such as Real Clear Politics showing Romney leading Obama in the Tar Heel State. Real Clear Politics currently projects Romney ahead in North Carolina 50.3 percent to 44.7 percent, a 5.6 percent edge for the GOP candidate.

However, more than 800,000 early voting and absentee ballots-which account for 12 percent of the registered electorate in North Carolina-show that Obama has the lead over Romney, 49.6 percent to 48.4 percent, the National Review reports, with Obama ahead by 11,600 votes.

According to Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Salisbury, N.C.-based Catawba College, in spite of all the polls, registered Democrats appear to be casting ballots at a larger pace than they did when Obama won the state in 2008.

"Unless we're badly misjudging what these Democrats are doing," Bitzer told the Observer, "this race seems much closer than what we're hearing outside (the state)."
However, Republicans told the Observer that Romney can only build upward momentum in North Carolina.

"The more voters get to see Mitt Romney, especially in the debates, the more they like him," said North Carolina Republican spokesman Rob Lockwood. "That's why we're building some serious 'Mitt-mentum' in North Carolina."

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