College students from across North Carolina will arrive in Charlotte by the busload. Same with members of predominantly black churches in neighboring South Carolina.

Their goal: help fill a 74,000-seat outdoor stadium to capacity when President Obama accepts the Democratic nomination Thursday night.

Anything short of a full house on the final night of the Democratic Party’s national convention will be instant fodder for Republicans eager to use empty seats as symbols of waning voter enthusiasm for Obama.

Democrats have been fretting for months over whether the president can draw a capacity crowd at Bank of America Stadium. Polls show voter enthusiasm is down, as are Obama’s crowds for his battleground state campaign rallies.

Obama advisers insist the stadium will be filled when Obama delivers his speech. Vice President Joe Biden also will speak Thursday night, along with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who will vouch for Obama’s national security credentials.

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