ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Call them passionate, idealistic, earnest, even a tad naive.
The volunteers powering President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns share at least one trait: an abiding faith in the political process and a belief that who occupies the White House still matters.
Many voters aren't as optimistic. An Associated Press-GfK poll taken in June found less than half of adults say the outcome of the Nov. 6 election will make a great deal of difference on the economy, unemployment and the federal budget deficit.
Both sides rely heavily on volunteer labor even as spending on high-priced staples like TV ads, polling and consultants keeps rising. Many of a campaign's most labor intensive tasks - from staffing offices to making phone calls to registering voters - are done by volunteers.