Pandemic aside, campaigns shake up gameplan with so few undecided voters left

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- At least in sports we know the score heading into the fourth quarter.

Now eight days before Election Day, the only known fact is that a record number of voters in North Carolina and across the country have made up their minds and sent in their ballots early.

"This is not just about people who have already decided," ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis said. "In many places these are votes already signed, sealed, delivered and cast. President Trump has been barnstorming the country. He's been burning up the campaign trail, which is important for both of them, but Biden has been under the radar and keeping a low profile. Joe Biden is in the mode of do no harm."

Davis, a key fixture on ABC News' political coverage, including the debates and elections, thinks the onus is on the president to validate Americans' concerns about health care, even if he disagrees with the premise that COVID-19 should be the top priority.

"We all are affected by the pandemic in many ways, but for the those in the hospital right now, or those infected, they're asking will this be a pre-existing condition and what does that mean for me," Davis said. "I think we need to get that answered."

Indeed, the Biden campaign has long targeted the president when it comes to COVID-19, which has spread to more than 250,000 North Carolinians and killed more than 4,000.

CORONAVIRUS MAP: Tracking COVID-19 across North Carolina

"As COVID recovery becomes the conversation in 2021, we must have a voice for the south and North Carolina is going to be an essential part in getting that done," Stacey Abrams, the rising Democratic star from Georgia and campaign spokeswoman, said in an interview. "Donald Trump has shown himself incapable of leadership, incapable of thinking about the needs, incapable of empathy."

Abrams, moreover, thinks the gameplan for Biden must be to reach out to a different kind of undecided voter - the people who aren't sure if it's worth going to the polls.

RELATED: Uptick in young voters could have major implications in North Carolina
"My belief is when you know you have a leader who will work for you, then you will vote because your voice matters and your vote matters."

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President Trump has visited North Carolina eight times since August, beginning with his not-so-secret surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte; he's also been to Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Charlotte again, Greenville, Gastonia and Lumberton.

WATCH: Trump rallies in Lumberton
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Just days after Trump declared his support for a bill that would federally recognize the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, he came to speak to hundreds of supporters during a campaig



"While North Carolina leans red, it's not reliably red, and we're going to continue to work hard to earn the votes of North Carolinians," Steve Cortes, a senior strategist with the Trump campaign, said. "It's important for us to really hustle all the way to this closing tape because we believe we're going to dominate actual election day physical voting. It's probably more about getting our people generally to the polls on Election Day."

Cortes said he's confident that the president's record on the economy is what will propel voters to entrust him again.

"What the President wants us to do is take reasonable precautions and completely guard the most vulnerable people in society," Cortes said in response to concerns about the pandemic. "For the rest of society, we should be getting back towards normalcy. Take the virus seriously but don't let it dominate your lives. We don't need a magic wand but we need toughness in trade, negotiations and restrained taxes and relief on regulations. President Trump has done it once and we're confident President Trump can do it again."
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