Both presidential campaigns say numbers show momentum on their side

Presidential candidates will be in Eastern Iowa today

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A day ahead of appearances in Iowa by President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, each campaign made the case its candidate is winning.

The Romney campaign says that it has had the momentum since the Denver debate three weeks ago and that in swing states such as Iowa the shift is beginning to rear its head. They cite public and internal polls.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, is arguing its early voting numbers are the leading edge of an electorate that will swing its way.

As of Monday, nearly 348,000 Iowans had already voted. Thatís roughly 23 percent of the 2008 turnout, and Democrats held a nearly 56,000 vote lead in votes cast, according to figures from the Secretary of Stateís office.

Obamaís campaign says that lead is 10,000 votes greater than it was four years ago and that the GOP will find difficult to surmount that edge.

But Republicans in the state have been seeking to build the case that the Obama campaignís early vote program is more show than go. Dave Kochel, an Iowa strategist for Romney, said Tuesday only about one in seven early Democratic voters thus far are those who cast ballots in one or fewer of the past four general elections.

Republicans argue Democrats beat Republicans in early votes in 2010 but still lost the gubernatorial election, and they predict theyíll narrow the existing early vote margin before Election Day.

The Obama campaign said itís made voter registration gains since July. The Secretary of Stateís office said the GOPís active voter lead narrowed from 21,000 in July to about 5,000 as of Monday. Thatís still a turnaround from the month after the 2008 election, when Democrats had a 110,000-voter edge.

The Quad-City Times' Ed Tibbetts contributed to this report.

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