Tag Archives: GOTV

Colorado GOTV: Reconciling Election Results & Exit Poll Data by David Ramos

This is a look at the aftermath of the Colorado GOP ground game by reader David Ramos:

The pundits have had their two cents commenting what the election results and exit polling data says and does not say. In this case, a summary of how Colorado voted in the election using exit polling data available at Fox News and election vote numbers available at the Denver Post. Please note exit polling data and actual vote data may have changed over the past few days.

The D/R/I split –

In the 2008 election, the party split on election day was Democrat 30%, Republican 31% and Independents 39%. If the election were based strictly on these numbers, Romney would have carried the state. Both sides did very well in keeping their core voter bases. If there was any crossover voting, it was pretty much a wash. Neither gained much from these type of voters. The unaffiliated (independent) voters, according to exit polling, went for Romney by a 50-45 margin. This would indicate unaffiliated voters in Colorado essentially returned to their conservative-leaning roots. Following the party ID D/R/I split, it appears Romney was the preferred choice.

This poses the question on how Romney, then, could not carry Colorado by leading with unaffiliated voters by a 5-point margin. Brit Hume on election night alluded to “moderate” voters. Hume surmised many who call themselves “moderate” are actually reliably liberal Democrat voters. They don’t view themselves holding extreme positions, or consider themselves to ever vote for a Republican. When the exit poll asked “how you view your political alignment, liberal-moderate-conservative”, moderates in Colorado broke for Obama by 8-10 points. That alone, Obama was able to negate whatever vote advantage Romney may have had with the D/R/I split.

Down Ballot Influence –

With no statewide offices or contentious initiatives on the ballot, there was very little or no influence that could sway the presidential race in one direction or another. The congressional races were pretty much tame, with the incumbents expected to hold their seats. In the Republican held congressional districts, it appears some voters may have split their ballot – keeping their Republican congressmen and voting for Obama.

The most serious challenge the Democrats made was in CD 6, a district that has reliably voted Republican since the lines were first drawn. Reapportionment had shifted more Democrat voters into the district. As such, the Democrats thought they may have a chance of beating popular Republican incumbent Mike Coffman. Coffman held his seat by a 50-45 margin, even narrowly carrying Arapahoe County, a swing county that was carried by Obama. In CD 5, the Republicans had no Democrat challenger, allowing incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn to handily win re-election. Yet, one county in CD 5 was carried by Obama and two counties were narrowly won by Romney. Lamborn won those same counties by comfortable margins. In Republican stronghold El Paso County, the centerpiece of CD 5, apparently there were unaffiliated voters who chose Obama over Romney. Romney won El Paso County by a 57-43 margin, slightly improving on McCain’s 55-45 win in 2008. For a Republican to strongly compete for Colorado and help offset the Democrat margins in the Denver Metro area, El Paso County needs to be carried by at least a 65-35 margin. In 2000, Bush 43 carried the county by a 68-32 margin. In 2004, Bush 43 won by a 75-25 margin (best-ever).

Reconciling the numbers –

With reports of widespread failures in the Project Orca GOTV, it might be quite fair to say Colorado slipped away from the Romney column in the same way. Heading into election night, Team Romney believed it would be able to flip Colorado into their column. There was good optimism and high enthusiasm based on the huge Red Rocks rally and the Fiddler’s Green rally (Nov 3). But, then again, large rallies are not good indicators of election results. George McGovern, for example, was drawing large rally crowds at the end of his campaign. And, John Kerry drew a crowd of 80,000+ in Madison, only to win Wisconsin in 2004 by a narrow margin.

Shortly before the polls closed in Colorado, Team Romney believed their numbers pointed to a win. With 1.9 million early votes cast, a possible 800,000 votes could be cast on election day. As noted previously, no one knew how anyone voted in the early voting period. PPP suggested Obama held a 6-point lead among unaffiliated voters, giving him a slight lead going into election day. From exit polling, unaffiliated voters were breaking for Romney 50-45. It appears unaffiliated voters actually broke for Obama instead, and not Romney.

It appears, though, the difference between the Romney and Obama campaigns is the turnout model. The Obama campaign thought they would be able to recreate a portion of their 2008 turnout by getting the turnout they needed from the groups they needed. The Romney campaign turnout model was based on turnout levels would return to historical norms. Dick Morris, Karl Rove, and others on the conservative side believed turnout levels would return to historical norms. While Obama lost half of his victory margin in Colorado compared to 2008, a reduction in victory margin was likely calculated into their turnout model.

— David Ramos

0.3% is the Difference Between President Romey and President Obama

A strategic shift in 0.3% of the vote changes the President of the United States. Of course it matters greatly where those 0.3% are located as Team Obama knew from Day 1 while Team Romney keeps smacking their forehead saying “Now they tell us!” Jim Geraghty keeps up with the turnout math:

[H]ere is an updated set of numbers, according to the results this morning on the New York Timesresults map:

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of, 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

Obama’s margin in some other key states:

Nevada: 66,379

Iowa: 88,501

New Hampshire: 40,659

At this hour, 120,556, 279 votes for Obama and Romney have been counted nationwide.

More Reports of Project ORCA Fail

Here is a report from one of our own readers Tom in Arizona on the epic failure of the Romney Get Out the Vote effort:

I volunteered for the Romney campaign election day task force on 10/21/2012.  I received the following email on 10/22/2012:

Hi Tom,

 Thank you very much for your interest in being involved with the Romney-Ryan Election Day Task Force! Your help will be vital on Election Day. It will take up to 2 days to process you into our volunteer system, but we will be in touch with further information very soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at C********o@mittromney.com.

Thank you very much,

dc

To keep this short, after four days of no further contact, I started trying to contact the campaign myself over the remaining days before the election.  I tried the above email on 6 different occasions with no further replies.  I tried calling 3 different victory centers, most of which went to voice mail, and some of those voice mail boxes were full.  I spoke with “live” people twice, both of which said they’d get back to me.  Neither did.  I’m in AZ and I told them I could go to CO if necessary or help by making phone calls from home if they already had enough volunteers in CO.  I also told them I could do anything else they need, just let me know.  I NEVER HEARD BACK!  It failed before it began.

I saw your post on Gravity yesterday and why they wouldn’t use that is beyond me.  The private sector had the solution and Romney failed to use it.  How ironic.

Regards,

Tom in Arizona

The blame lies far higher than the Romney staffer in the above email but this is only the latest example of how Mitt Romney’s staff failed him at the least opportune time.  Considering there were 37,000 volunteers for Project ORCA, if each person gotten people to the polls across Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Florida we would be talking about President Romney today.

The Epic Failure That Was Team Romney’s Get Out the Vote Fiasco

If you care at all about the how and why the Romney campaign failed so miserably to turnout the vote, you have to read this entire entry by John Ekdahl at Ace of Spades:

What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:

Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.

Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The “massive undertaking” is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second). This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s. And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure. The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.

After giving you a blow by blow recount of this colossal failure that you must read, he concludes:

[T]he end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.

Ads or Votes? You Decide

This is a lesson for candidates and organizations who want to win rather than consultants who want to bilk clients for millions in fees:

Judging by the current vote totals, Romney’s nationwide operation fell far short of McCain’s in 2008.  In fact, Romney currently trails McCain by around 2 million votes.  2 million!  That number is mind-boggling.  How did the Republican candidate facing the worst president in modern history manage to get 2 million fewer votes than in 2008? Granted, that number may narrow a bit as more votes are counted, but it’s astonishing that Romney’s votes are even in the neighborhood of McCain’s.

GOTV Fail

[T]he Republican party establishment’s micro-targeting of voters, from surveying voters to a get-out-the-vote, or GOTV, operation — if you can even call it an operation — was a joke.  Take Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, for example.  Had Romney won those states, he would be celebrating victory today.  The media would have you believe that he was trounced there.  That’s not the case. Romney lost all four states — and the presidency — by less than 400,000 votes.  He lost Colorado by 111,000, Florida by 47,000, Ohio by 100,000, and Virginia by 108,000.  That’s it. Romney was locked out of the White House by about 366,000 votes.

Ads versus votes

Now imagine an alternate universe in which the Republican party’s consultants, power brokers, and money men invested in legitimate micro-targeting and GOTV efforts with technology that works (like Gravity. . . not Orca). Instead, millions were spent on endless ads that not only failed to move the needle in the age of TiVo and DVR but will keep the lights on for many TV stations that are less than friendly to the conservative movement.

Priorities

According to news reports, American Crossroads — by far the best-funded force outside the RNC and the congressional committees — and its affiliates raked in $300 million during the 2012 election cycle.  Imagine if a fraction of that money had been spent on voter identification and GOTV efforts in the states mentioned above. It’s not like it was a secret as to where this election was going to be won or lost. It was a universe of no more than 9 states. Think about just $2M per state invested into GOTV. That’s $18M well spent. Instead, that money now pads the bank accounts of various individuals who, if not already millionaires before this cycle started, certainly are now.

It’s the difference between President Obama and President Romney

Team Romney GOTV Excuse Making Doesn’t Pass the Laugh Test

Per usual, Mike Murphy remains the very last person the GOP should ever listen to:

You Can’t Win If You Can’t Get Your People to Vote

That had been the Democrats problem for decades.  It changed in 2008 and repeated itself in 2012.

The limits to running such an insular campaign out of Boston, Massachusetts reared its head at the worst possible moment for Mitt Romney.  The more numbers that come out the more it shows the GOTV effort was an epic failure that likely cost him the election. It sure seems like they etch-a-sketched enough conservatives out of the fold to prevent Romney from overcoming Obama’s greatly reduced vote from 2008.

Like I wrote on election night when I was still optimistic:

I’m watching the turnout % in Dem precincts.  We know Republicans will show up, the question is how many Dems are still left out there and will they show up.  Anecdotal things look really good right now but I know how the #s ebb and flow and then suddenly in a deep urban precinct 120% of votes come in and everything you were modeling goes out the window.  The only states I’m watching are Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — the acknowledge Obama firewall.

The fatal flaw is obvious now.  I’m incredulous.

This captures my attitude today every time I look at the data:

GOTV Raw Meat for the Converted

Here is the memo from the RNC’s Rick Wiley on tomorrow’s Get Out the Vote designed to bury the Obama machine

Enjoy:

[W]e are poised to blow the Obama campaign out on Election Day thanks to a superior GOTV program and a historical GOP Election Day advantage In the four party-registration states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada), we are poised to win the Election Day vote by even greater margins than we did in 2008. That’s right, Jeremy Bird, we beat you on Election Day even in 2008. This time around we have over 150,000 volunteers across the battleground who have already contacted over 53 million voters and expect to contact millions more from now until the polls close tomorrow night.

Who is the cannibal?

In Colorado there are over 26,000 (34%) more high-propensity Republican voters available than high-propensity Democrat voters. In Florida there are 166,000 (21%) more; 85,000 (47%) more in Iowa; and 16,000 (22%) more in Nevada.

And in Ohio, Republicans have 368,000 more high-propensity voters available than Democrats–72 percent more, in fact–and enough to off-set the Obama campaign’s most optimistic (and unrealistic) early vote math.

Field Office trash talk

The Obama campaign’s superior ground game is a myth. They claim they have double and triple the people and offices across the country, yet poll after poll has shown voters have been contacted equally if not more by the Romney campaign and the Republicans. It goes to show you what big government bureaucracy gets you.

I’m glad Democrats are so eager to talk about their ground game. The more they talk, the more they prove the numbers don’t add up. It’s (ground) game over.

Door-to-Door Combat

A candidate can run the slickest campaign with best ads and still lose if they don’t get their people to the booth on election day or cast their ballot ahead of time. In the campaign’s final weeks the all-important ground game will take center stage and each campaign has strong arguments for holding the upper hand:

Get-out-the-vote efforts have moved front and center for both campaigns, particularly here in Florida, reflecting the tightening of the race in all the battleground states and nationally. With Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney…preparing for their third and final debate…their surrogates Mr. Biden and Representative Paul D. Ryan were busy firing up their bases, the essence of voter turnout.

Lessons from 2008

Republicans say that this time around, they are light-years ahead of the lackluster voter turnout efforts in 2008 for Senator John McCain, whose campaign began running short of money in the late stages. “We learned from a lot of research and testing that volunteer door knocking is the purest form of voter contact,” said Rich Beeson, national political director for the Romney campaign.

Air war parity

Both sides acknowledge that as they pour millions of dollars into television ads, a rough parity will exist in the air war. In the coming week, the Obama campaign and its outside allies and the Romney campaign and its backers will spend roughly the same in Florida, totaling over $8 million, according to a firm that tracks political advertising.

Two strong hands

Both sides cite a blizzard of numbers to show who is doing a better job contacting and motivating voters one by one. Mr. Biden said Democrats had registered 14,264 new voters before the deadline Oct. 9. Republicans counter that since 2008 they have added enough new voters to narrow Democrats’ historic registration advantage by 150,000. Democrats boast of 104 field offices in Florida, where 29 electoral votes are at stake. Republicans say that at their 47 offices so many new volunteers have come forward since Mr. Romney’s commanding first debate performance that the intensity is on their side.

Mitt Romney’s Campaign, RNC Have 60+ Staffers In Pennsyvania, Planning More

Here was the original headline in the Sam Stein piece:

Mitt Romney’s Campaign Pushes In Pennsylvania; Candidate, RNC Send 60+ Staffers To State

He then wrote this correction:

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said that the Romney campaign and the RNC planned to send 60-plus staffers to Pennsylvania. In fact, there are already 60 staffers in the state and their plan is to send additional staff, adding to the 60.

Still good news, just not the overwhelming show of force implied with the orginal headline/story … grrrrr

The grassroots are already there (via Instapundit):

SHOWING UP: Reader Christian Aranda is attending election-monitor training at Romney HQ in Philadelphia and reports: “Packed house.”

Now the official reinforcements are getting sent in:

The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee are planning to send more than 60 staffers to Pennsylvania for the closing two weeks of the presidential election, a RNC official told The Huffington Post. The move is the clearest sign to date that Republicans view the Keystone State as in play this November, though it’s not entirely clear whether the staffing is being done as a head-fake for Democrats or out of general electoral optimism. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign had previously moved its Pennsylvania communications director to Virginia. That communications director was recently caught tweeting from Virginia even as vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was appearing at a Pittsburgh-area rally.

Addendum: This move supplements the Old Line Staters (that’s Maryland for you out-of-towners) who are there already:

“In my opinion, any active Republican not currently working on a local campaign should be heading to Virginia or Pennsylvania,” said Chris Cavey, a longtime GOP leader in Maryland who is vice chair of Romney’s state campaign. “When it’s within the margin of error, you can’t say which door or set of doors … or which phone call it was that made the difference.” Both campaigns are exporting hundreds of Maryland volunteers to neighboring states each weekend. They travel on buses or carpool into critical precincts. They knock on doors, hand out campaign literature and staff telephone banks. Sometimes they are waved off by voters weary of the attention that living in a political battleground brings. Occasionally, initial encounters between strangers spark conversations that continue for weeks. With 16 days to go before the Nov. 6 election, such scenes are playing out across the country. In Alabama — where voters last chose a Democratic candidate for president in 1976 — the state Republican Party is organizing bus trips to Ohio and Florida, a spokeswoman said.

In Pennsylvania Saturday, about 25 Maryland Republicans joined the local GOP in going door-to-door in the Delaware County town of Havertown. Some of the Marylanders came aboard a charter a bus, others by car. For much of the year Pennsylvania appeared to be solidly in the Obama column, but that may be changing. Public polls show the president has a roughly 6 percentage point lead in the state, but Republicans in Pennsylvania were cheered Saturday by a new Susquehanna Poll showing Romney pulling ahead in a state Obama won by 10 points in 2008.

The Maryland contingent Saturday was led by Harford County Executive David Craig, Romney’s county campaign chair and a prospective candidate for governor. His mission: to help turn a light-blue state into a light-red state. His instructions to the troops: Leave the Ravens gear at home. It is, after all, Philadelphia Eagles country. Among those getting on the bus at a Harford park-and-ride were Aaron Tomarchio of Bel Air and his 14-year-old political prodigy nephew, Brandon Vaughn. Tomarchio said he’s been involved in every presidential race since 1988 and is no stranger to traveling out-of-state to campaign for Republicans — including a 2004 foray into West Virginia on behalf of President George W. Bush.

Go Terps!

GOP Winning Absentee Voting in Virginia

Early voting has grow dramatically over the last few election cycles and reading the tea leaves is becoming a cottage industry. Today we see genuinely positive news for the Romney campaign regarding absentee voting in Virginia with a few caveats outlined at the very bottom.  An analysis of absentee voting in Virginia reveals the following:

Early absentee ballot in Virginia is brisk in cities and counties that voted Republican in the last presidential election, according to a breakdown of absentee ballots cast so far this year for the November 6 election. As of Friday, the State Board of Elections reports that 60,612 voters had mailed in an absentee ballot or cast an absentee vote in person since September 21. This year, Virginia Republicans are mobilizing supporters to “vote early” this year, to avoid a repeat of 2008 when Obama won nearly two-thirds of the 511,933 absentee ballots cast in Virginia.

  • Seven of the 10 localities reporting the fastest rate of absentee voting this year compared to four years ago were won by Republican John McCain.
  • Seven of the 10 localities reporting the slowest pace of absentee balloting this year were carried by Democrat Barack Obama.

The lessons from this analysis are more stark if you look at them in reverse.  The “slow” Obama localities lead you to draw inferences that enthusiasm is way down for Obama, which is consistent with everything we see in polls.  When you combine that with the “fast” McCain localities you see high enthusiasm in GOP hotbeds which exacerbates the bad news for Obama and good news for Romney.  These types of changes are huge considering one of the ways Obama won so decisively in 2008 was the volume of votes he banked before election day often creating insurmountable advantages.

LOCALITIES WITH THE MOST BRISK ABSENTEE VOTING LOCALITIES WITH THE SLOWEST RATE OF ABSENTEE VOTING

BTW: On the “slowest localities” I think the chart is supposed to be in reverse order but I just used the original graphics.

Caveats

I do genuinely believe the above analysis is correct and Romney 2012 is capturing the enthusiasm wave mentioned.  However, evidence like the above is why I am hesitant to blog early voting. The takeaways are really anecdotal not certain, meaning they can lead you to draw logical inferences that may be completely untrue beneath the surface.

Democrat Perspective

If you take the exact same numbers from above, you could argue something very different is going on. Every poll shows Barack Obama has his base locked up, even moreso than Romney. And many of these demographics support him to such high levels he has little room to find more votes among those groups. So if Obama is going to find votes he needs to send his ground troops into red areas and make certain every last Obama person in an otherwise red area votes.  The way to do that is a) find them, and b) convince them to vote early.  To be clear Obama achieved this to wonderful success in 2008 and there is little reason to believe he can’t do similar in 2012.  To assume otherwise is hubris and politically dangerous. Under this analysis, Team Obama who has a history of success in early voting may be achieving the same success as 2008, but now they’re doing it in red areas. So the “fast” red localities are really just the vaunted Obama ground game playing on their opponent’s turf while the “slow” Obama localities are are areas where Obama is confident those votes are locked up in his favor and they can get attention later in the race. this is how a Democrat might see the exact same numbers and they are not necessarily wrong.

That said, I do not believe this second analysis is accurate based on the nature of Obama’s campaign strategy which is a base turnout.  Obama does not campaign in Battleground Counties like Romney does, his campaign is one of division towards targeted Democrat demographics not reaching out to red areas, and these findings are consistent the enthusiasm gap we see nationwide.  I only point out this alternative, and defensible, view point so we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves over metrics that while positive for the GOP are not as certain to achieve the results glass-half-full partisans might think.

Who is Winning the Voter Registration Battle?

We have covered the voter registration rather extensively and often found the GOP making great strides compared to their 2008 effort (even in gawd awful Nevada).  With the voter registration window closing in most every state, Dante Chinni, who studies these Battlegrounds even where there isn’t an election, stepped back to look at who is actually “winning” the voter registration battle. It’s not as easy to assess as you might think because with most statistics in an election season, both side can make compelling arguments why their side has the advantage:

 Every few years America’s major political parties get very interested in getting people registered to vote – or maybe more accurately, in getting the “right” people registered to vote. It’s a lot easier to come up with a winning hand on Election Day when the deck is stacked in your favor. So, for months now, supporters of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been knocking on doors and standing corners trying to register like-minded people. election every vote may count, particularly in the swing states.

Who’s winning?

That depends on the state you look at and the comparison point you choose. Both sides can point to some numbers in their favor. But when you step back and look at the numbers in fuller context, the real question may be how much those Democratic and Republican registrations will really matter. The Obama team is up in registrations in key states, as they noted this week, but overall it could be argued Obama is having a bit of a down year. The percentage of voters registered as Democrats in every one of these states is lower than it was in 2008.  And there were drops of two percentage points or greater in Florida, Iowa and North Carolina. That said, 2012 has not been a gangbusters year for the GOP either. The percentage of Republican registrations is up in one state compared to 2008 – Iowa – slightly down in three others – Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina – and they are flat Pennsylvania and Florida. On the whole, however, when you look at all the current numbers, as a measure of enthusiasm or interest, compared to 2008 they would seem to indicate: advantage GOP.

Is 2008 the correct comparison?

Using the 2008 election as a measuring stick is problematic, though. It was not a normal race. There was big enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle. Voter registration counts were up in most states across the country – in some cases sharply. And remember Mr. Obama won that race comfortably, by seven percentage points and nearly 200 electoral votes. In other words, team Obama probably doesn’t need to match those figures to win — and if you use a different year as your comparison point, the question of “who’s winning” in the registration war shifts considerably.

2004?

Consider the registration numbers from 2004, the last time the Republican candidate won the White House. If you compare the most recent 2012 registration numbers to 2004 figures, the percentage of voters registered as Democrats is up in four of the six states – all but Florida and North Carolina. Meanwhile, the percentage of voters registered as Republicans is down in five of the six states. It is up in only Iowa. So, using that measure: advantage Democrats.

Caveats

But before either party celebrates anything, there are a few points worth noting. While it’s tempting to think that registrations are some kind of indicator for a coming election – and we’re sure to hear a lot about them in the next few weeks – they can also be deceptive, particularly when it comes to national elections. There are often local issues, political and historical, that can push voters to register as Democrats or Republicans.

New Hampshire

Only 27% of the people in the Granite State were registered as Democrats in 2004, while 31% were registered as Republicans – yet the Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, won the state by a little more than one percentage point. In 2008, the Democrats saw a slight improvement in registrations, up to 29.5%, but Mr. Obama won the state in a landslide – by almost 10 percentage points. In fact, he won every county in the state.

The Independent trump card

Right now the 2012 election looks like its shaping up to be very close. And yes, a few more registrations for Democrats or Republicans may matter. But look closer at the registrations numbers in those states. In every one of them one group has grown in every state since 2008, independents – voters who aren’t registered with either party. They make up double-digits of the electorate in each state, and the way they split their vote will likely be decisive.

Thankfully for us, Romney is up HUGE with Independents.

Paul Ryan’s Mother Makes 9 Millionth Florida Phone Call

8x more calls than McCain’s campaign in 2008 … why does anyone ever listen to senior 2008 campaign officials Steve Schmidt or Nicole Wallace about anything?

Nevada Voter Registration Update

We got an update from Nevada expert Jon Ralston.  The final numbers are just coming in and Democrats made a furious comeback, especially in all important Clark County, to push back on the gains the GOP made this cycle in Nevada.  Despite that comeback the GOP closed the gap on the 2008 advantage:

This is still a good showing for the GOP since Democrats had a 100k voter registration advantage overall in 2008 and statewide the Republican Party had more than a few internal issues to overcome this cycle.  Great effort in the Silver State.

Super Saturday Update — Over 2.4 million contacts yesterday alone

Yesterday was another Super Saturday where campaign offices around the country knocked on doors, made phone calls and registered voters for the final crucial push into election day.  Some of the metrics are creeping through the wires right now.  Nearly all below is information direct from RNC political director Rick Wiley:

Overall:

  • #s just in, @mittromney & @gop ground game made 2.4 million volunteer voter contacts yesterday on Super Saturday.ROCK
  • over 30k volunteers took part in Super Saturday yesterday.Enthusiasm on our side
  • Great work from our amazing volunteers this week! We made 5,072,979 volunteer voter contacts this week alone. — Reince Priebus

Wisconsin:

  • Over 400k volunteer voter contacts made in WI this week, strong.Country strong

Virginia:

  • VA did over 250k volunteer voter contacts yesterday, including 100k doors and nearly 500k for the week.Killing it

Ohio:

  • OH made over 600k volunteer voter contacts this week.nearly a quarter million on the doors!Buckeye Blitz rocks it

Florida:

  • FL made over 1 million volunteer voter contacts this week. @mkdonlin & @tcdickens continue to rock it down there

Colorado:

  • Team CO made over 250k volunteer voter contacts this week. People clearly jacked following strong debate by @MittRomney

Colorado Republicans Flood Romney Campaign Offices After Debate

I missed this story the other day, but these are the metrics a candidate is looking for after a stellar debate performance. Money is crucial in every campaign but you need the ground troops to keep people inspired, make certain the are registered and ultimately get them to vote. Mitt Romney debate performance did all of those things:

Republicans have been showing up in droves at GOP victory offices around the state ever since the debate, said Ellie Wallace, Colorado victory communications director for the Republican National Committee. Thursday, the day after the debate, was the single biggest volunteer recruitment day for Colorado this cycle, she said, noting that almost twice as many volunteers came in to help than had been recruited and were expected to show up. Today, they had to almost double the number of phones at their state headquarters to accommodate the influx of new volunteers. It also was their biggest day of voter contact — calls and knocking on doors — in Colorado this election cycle.

(In the photo on the right, Jeffco GOP chairman Don Ytterberg and congressional candidate Joe Coors fire up volunteers at Mitt Romney’s victory headquarters.)

In Battleground Iowa, Early Voting Turnout Is Key

Nice look at the early voting in Iowa. Democrats always come out of the gate strong, but Republicans have flipped the script all over the state. Key nugget: “The Romney campaign and Republican National Committee had done more by April than John McCain did in Iowa by election day…”

A Look at Campaign Canvassers in Ohio

I have a great number of posts on the incredible performance of the Romney campaign’s ground forces.  The same efforts are being made on the Obama side of the ledger and they each have their own unique cultures.  The Washington Post embedded a couple reporters on the front lines with both campaigns for an up-close look at the ground troops in Ohio:

A day with Romney and Obama canvassers in this hotly contested area of northeastern Ohio provides a snapshot of what both campaigns cast as the most critical piece of their White House bids: the volunteer-driven, pavement-pounding grind known as the ground game. With millions of dollars being poured into TV advertising, social media and other high-tech strategies, both campaigns say they are more convinced than ever that face-to-face conversations are by far the most effective form of contact with voters, and those efforts are robust than Ohio and the other swing states. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests the importance of all that attention. While the survey found the race to be close nationally — with 49 percent of likely voters siding with Obama and 47 percent with Romney — the disparity is much wider in swing states, with 52 percent siding with Obama and 41 percent with Romney. Roughly a third of all voters in “tossup” states say they’ve heard from each side.

Team Obama

In the case of the Obama campaign, officials say they are mostly dusting off the 2008 playbook, turning into standard practice tactics considered revolutionary four year ago. They are rebuilding networks of “neighborhood leaders” who organize their Zip codes, a system bolstered by vast voter databases. “There’s really no need to mess with success,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. Their Ohio operation: nearly 120 bricks-and-mortar offices across the state with at least 600 paid staffers working with thousands of volunteers who have been phone-banking since late last year and door-knocking since April, according to Redfern. Their Mentor Avenue operation is a long table strewn with hand sanitizer, spare reading glasses and 20 cellphones for phone-banking. The walls are plastered with Obama posters and others outlining neighborhood team events and the organizing mantra “empower, include, win.”

Team Romney

Romney campaign officials say they are placing a much stronger emphasis on door-knocking than phone-calling this time, an effort driven by what they describe as an unprecedented quantity and quality of data. Rich Beeson, the campaign’s political director, said the ground operation, in turn, is heavily focused at the moment on “low-propensity” voters — those who are identified as solid Republicans but who don’t always vote. The goal of door-knockers is to encourage them to vote early — to mail in an absentee ballot or apply for one. “Nationwide, we’ve already knocked on 2 million more doors than we knocked on in 2008,” Beeson said. “We consider door knocks the purest form of voter contact. Ohio week in and week out leads in the metrics we lay out and nationwide.” The Ohio operation, with more than 40 offices deploying thousands of volunteers, hit 137,000 doors across the state last week alone, campaign officials said. The Mentor Avenue operation has 12 black phones set on four white folding tables, with two more phones being unpacked from cardboard boxes this morning. The walls are covered with uniform rows of “Romney-Believe” posters and others of state candidates. “In all our polling, public and private, we are matching them in terms of the number of people who say they’ve heard from both campaigns,” Beeson said. “That tells me that the quality of our data and voter contact program is just as powerful as their offices and staff.”

Trash talk

If the volunteers don’t trash-talk one another, their bosses do. Romney officials roll their eyes at the idea that the Obama team revolutionized grass-roots organizing. “Don’t forget, in 2004 we had the largest ground operation in American history,” Beeson said, referring to George W. Bush’s successful reelection bid. Obama campaign officials scoff at the notion that the GOP camp could possibly be matching them door for door. “I find it hard to believe that a party in disarray just a few months ago about who should be their leader is now knocking on 137,000 doors a week,” Redfern said.

Obama ground effort

Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers know the cold, hard truth: They, on average, have to knock on 10 doors to reach just one or two voters. [Canvassers] carried clipboards with maps and targeted addresses, the result of months of phone calls and personal outreach to identify the people to pitch: persuadable, lukewarm and strong Obama voters, a task that has been more difficult than if was four years ago.“I just think that the level of enthusiasm has mellowed just a bit,” said Gavin-Wagner, who housed out-of-state volunteers in 2008…After nearly two hours, they returned to the office to report their progress: 61 doors, 18 contacts, a typical weekend haul. The data would be processed by volunteers overseen by two paid staffers from New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Romney ground effort

The Romney campaign’s [canvasser] has been knocking on doors almost every day since August. He averaged about 75 a day, except on the afternoon he almost fainted with low blood sugar. And here he was again, arriving on Dearborn Drive, clipboard under his arm, Romney-Ryan brochures in hand. His job on this day was not to convince undecideds but to contact Republican-leaning voters and encourage them to mail in absentee ballots or vote early. “Maybe you’ll hit one out of five houses.” Even on tough days — and this was one — [the canvasser] said he remains optimistic. The Mentor Avenue office has been getting busier… [F]inal tally: 45 doors, five personal contacts.

Voter Registration: GOP Ground Game by the Numbers

To set the stage for the below voter contact numbers, according to Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign operative Adrian Gray: “[the Romney-Ryan campaign has made] 26 million volunteer contacts (per @rick_wiley memo). In 2004, BC’04 had made 7,451,466 by now”

A few days ago I blogged the incredible voter contacts Romney Victory Offices were achieving across the battleground: 1,000,000 contacts in Nevada and Colorado, 1,000,000 contacts in Iowa, 3,000,000 contacts in Ohio and 6,000,000 contacts in Florida. But that is only the first step in re-branding the GOP and turning out the vote. The next step is registering these people to offset the incredible advantage Barack Obama enjoyed on election day in 2008. You don’t have to win every one of these battles but Republicans definitely need to shrink Democrat’s lead.  Jim Geraghty at National Review’s Campaign Spot has a rundown on the latest voter registration figures across a great many Battlegrounds and the results are impressive:

  • Iowa — Today 20,000 more registered Republicans in Iowa than registered Democrats. In January 2009, Iowa Democrats enjoyed a 110,000 voter registration advantage. Net gain for the GOP 140,000 votes
  • Florida — This is a state with a large “Unaffiliated” segment.  However, in a state with 11.5 million registered voters, today Democrats have a 454,752-voter advantage, down from 694,147-voter advantage in 2008. Net gain for the GOP 240,000 votes
  • Nevada — In a state with 1.4 million registered voters, Democrats have an advantage of 47,000, down from 100,000 in 2008. Net gain for the GOP 53,000 votes
  • Pennsylvania — Democrats have a 1,086,006-vote advantage.  Bad right?  Many of those vote straight like Republican and the advantage is down -150,000 since 2008 (25% of Obama’s entire winning margin). Net gain for the GOP 150,000 votes
  • Colorado — GOP advantage today is 98,000, up from 9,000 in 2008. Net gain for the GOP 91,000 votes

Outer Burroughs:

  • New Mexico — Democrat advantage today of 196,758 voters, down 20,000 from 2008.
  • North Carolina — Today: Democrat advantage of 769,926 voters, down 95,000 from 2008. Like Pennsylvania, many of these Democrats are straight-line Republican voters.

Note: Virginia does not register by party affiliation

Obama Forced to Campaign Today in a State He Won by 14 Points in 2008

And the pollsters are modelling that he will have a larger turnout advantage in 2012 than he did in 2008… Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

It’s been 220 days since President Obama last visited Wisconsin. He avoided involvement in the state’s high-stakes gubernatorial recall earlier this year, has not campaigned for re-election here, and has spent little cash on TV ads, all largely because he hasn’t had to. Until now. Wisconsin was supposed to be a reliable foothold for Obama, who won it by 14-points over Sen. John McCain in 2008. Democratic candidates for president have carried the state in every election since 1984. Now it’s a hotly contested battleground.

Ground Game

The Romney campaign says the fight of Walker continues to energize state conservatives, yielding the most robust grassroots operation in Wisconsin in a generation. Millions of voter contacts made during the recall campaign have been rolled over to the general election, officials said. Gov. Romney has held 17 events in Wisconsin since Obama’s most recent visit in February, an official stop in Milwaukee to promote his manufacturing agenda.  He has been in state nine days, according to his campaign, to Obama’s one.

Nervous Team Obama

The Obama campaign began running TV ads in the state for the first time this campaign 10 days ago and have stepped up appearances by Obama surrogates across the state.  Vice President Joe Biden’s two visits this year – to Eau Claire and Green Bay — have come in the past three weeks alone.  First Lady Michelle Obama held her single Wisconsin rally of the campaign in Milwaukee in late August and later met with victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek.  Former President Bill Clinton appeared in Wisconsin in June.

Field Offices (see caveats below)

Democrats have also assembled an aggressive grassroots organizing operation for voter registration and turnout that Obama aides regularly cite as one of their greatest assets in Wisconsin ahead of Election Day.  The Obama campaign has 54 field offices in Wisconsin compared to Romney’s 25 so-called “Victory Centers” across the state.

A couple quick points about field offices.  The field offices disparity is bunk.  Many of those are virtual filed offices out of people’s homes — not actual office space.  Second, those Romney Victory Offices?  They are the exact Scott Walker Victory offices he used for his big recall win.  The day after the election each Walker office immediately flipped to Romney Victory offices.  I kinda like Scott Walker’s ground game prowess…and so do the Democrats.

Florida Ground Game Crossing 6,000,000 Voter Contacts…Over 17x More than 2008

Anyone doubting the seriousness of the extensive Super Saturday’s or the entire GOP team’s investment in the ground game just needs to look at these staggering figures in Florida:

The former Massachusetts governor, who accepted his party’s nomination three weeks ago in nearby Tampa, has made a concentrated effort to reach out to Hispanic voters here in recent days, touting his opposition to the Castro government in Cuba and harping about the Hispanic jobless rate hovering at more than 10 percent for 50 straight months. And in an appeal to the state’s older voters, he said Mr. Obama’s health care law, muscled through Congress in 2010, siphons $716 billion out of Medicare, the federal health care program for people age 65 or older.It’s all part of the campaign’s broader effort to appeal to voters in Florida, a key swing state that has picked the eventual White House winner in the past four presidential elections.

“It’s always an important state when you look at the electoral map, so we are going to work very hard to compete and win here,” said Kevin Madden, a top Romney adviser. “That’s reflected in our organizational effort. This week, we will make our six-millionth volunteer-voter contact and we have opened ‘victory offices’ with the RNC all over the state, over 40 of them. That shows you the level of attention we’re paying to the state.”

From a report last week when Romney crossed 5.5 million contacts that contrasts greatly with the 2008 effort:

[D]on’t underestimate how much stronger the GOP/Mitt Romney ground game is this year compared to four years ago. Last weekend featured another “Super Saturday” statewide voter outreach effort. The Romney campaign has made more than 5.5 million voter contacts in Florida this year, including 16 times more phone calls than in 2008 and 77 times more door knocks than in 1998. [Ed. — I’m guessing they meant 2008 and not 1998 since that wasn’t even a Presidential election year]

And if 5.5 million is 16x more calls, then 6 million is more than 17x more calls with just over 6 weeks left to go!

Ohio Ground Game Passes 3,000,000 Voter Contacts

I was curious what the numbers would be like in the more populous states where many more funds are being spent and now we have Ohio‘s tally:

Kathy Schwartz of Galloway on Thursday got a surprise call from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney congratulating her on making the three millionth Ohio voter contact on his behalf. Schwartz, who volunteers at Romney’s Grove City campaign center, stood in a parking lot with other volunteers and put Romney’s voice on speaker phone for all to hear.

Thanking her repeatedly, Romney said, “Ohio is probably going to be a place that decides the next president.” In a statement, Schwartz said she was “touched at how humbled he seemed by the incredible amount of work being done here in Ohio on behalf of his vision for the country.”. She continued: “We just talked a little bit about what we’ve been doing here in Ohio and we joked around about it a little since I clearly did not call all three million myself.”

The campaign released a clip of the phone conversation.

Iowa Ground Game Joins the 1,000,000 Contact Club

Earlier we blogged the impressive ground performance of the Colorado and Nevada Victory Teams crossing the 1,000,000 voter contact thresholds. Now we get work Iowa joined the ranks.

Let’s put this in perspective for a state like Iowa:

  • In 2008, a total of 1,511,319 votes were cast for the two major party candidates
  • In 2004, a total of 1,493,855 votes were cast for the two major party candidates
  • This week in 2004, Bush-Cheney ’04 made 839,706 volunteer calls and 64,776 volunteer door knocks in 14 target states. That’s an average of 60k calls per state.

I’m sure there were plenty of duplicates but it is still hugely impressive that in mid-September the GOP has contacted 55-65% of potential voters and there is still 6.5 weeks left in the campaign. The drumbeat of inevitability for Obama’s re-election never mentions the incredible improvement in every phase of the ground game by the GOP Victory campaigns across the country.  It will make a meaningful difference on election day and will likely be THE difference in many close wins for Romney. Here is the send-up of Iowa GOP crossing the 1,000,000 voter contact threshold:

The Romney-Ryan campaign turned the tables on one of its volunteers Friday afternoon. Karen Zmoos of Cedar Rapids was making calls from the Republican Victory headquarters when her cellphone started ringing. On the other end of the line was former New Hampshire governor and Romney campaign surrogate John Sununu. He was calling to congratulate Zmoos – and the entire Cedar Rapids Victory office – for its efforts. The millionth Iowa voter contact was a phone call from the Cedar Rapids office earlier this week.

“I’m from New Hampshire where we really, really believe in the blocking and tackling of campaigning,” Sununu said. “I can’t tell you how significant that is to getting Mitt Romney elected.” Zmoos has a pretty good idea of the importance of her efforts. She’s been making calls for Romney since 2008. “This is what I can do,” Zmoos said after getting off the phone. She has no idea how many calls she’s made and doors she’s knocked on, but said it’s a team effort.

The original plan to celebrate the millionth voter contact was for vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan to call Zmoos, but apparently called her home number, a campaign staffer said. “I’ll have a nice message from Paul Ryan when I get home,” said Zmoos.

According to the Republican National Committee’s Victory campaign, Iowa Republicans already have contacted more voters this year than they did in the entire 2008 campaign. And there are six weeks until Election Day. “Time for another million calls,” Sununu said. “We’re on it,” Zmoos said.

Voter Contact Exceeds 1 Million Mark: Nevada and Colorado

Something important to note about the GOP ground game post just below, the Washington Post only talked about the large impact outside groups are having in assisting Republicans.  But the RNC under Reince Priebus and previously Michael Steele not only aggressively sought out voter registrations months ago but also implemented Super Saturdays nationwide to knock on doors, register voters and call on behalf of Romany and Republicans.  These were monthly dry runs for what is always a chaotic turn-out-the vote effort on election day.  Well, the results across the Battlegrounds have been staggering versus the 2008 campaign.  Buried at the bottom of this ABC report about bolstering Colorado and Nevada efforts (we blogged the Nevada boost 2 days ago) are incredible metrics showing a dramatically more robust effort in 2012:

With polls showing Mitt Romney locked in tight races with President Obama in Colorado and Nevada, the Republican National Committee — in conjunction with the Romney campaign — is beefing up its operation in the two western battlegrounds. GOP officials tell ABC News that the RNC is “adding additional staff” in both states — some of whom are being re-assigned from their posts in New Mexico (though the officials noted they “are maintaining offices and staff” there.) … GOP sources tell ABC they have already “passed the 1 million voter contact mark” in both states.

Nevada

In Nevada, Republicans say they have made “4 times more phone calls and 12 times more door knocks than this time in 2008″…

Colorado

… and in Colorado: “4 times more phone calls and 6 times more door knocks than this time” four years ago.

Unemployment

Other data points the Republicans cite: A 12 percent unemployment rate in Nevada and an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in Colorado where some 224,000 residents are out of work.

Republican Ground Game to Make the Difference in November

I make fun of the absurdity of polls showing Obama outperforming his 2008 turnout advantage for three main reasons:

  1. First. it is based on sensationalistic hype surrounding an allegedly never-before-seen micro-targeting that will revolutionize turnout. I don’t buy sensationalistic marketing claims in any aspect of my life and especially when it comes from a guy who claimed he could cool the planet and push back the tides when he was running last time.
  2. Second, the enthusiasm among Obama’s “coalition of the ascendent”[the predicate for Democrat talk of dominance for decades to come] no where near matches 2008 levels, yet polling models assume even higher rates of these minority groups will turn out this year despite far lower enthusiasm.
  3. Third, the GOP ground game is vastly superior to its 2008 half-hearted effort. We’ve blogged dramatic shifts in voter registration in Iowa, a net change away from Democrats to Independents of nearly 1,000,000 registrations among Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina since the 2008, and serious ugliness for Democrats in Ohio yet our friendly unbiased pollsters see huge Democrat turnout advantages everywhere they look.

Now the Washington Post is picking up on this third point with a write-up on GOP successes on the ground this Fall that could add as much as 3% to Romney’s total:

Organizers from both parties report growing evidence that new voter-outreach programs funded by conservative groups could give GOP nominee Mitt Romney an edge if the race is close. In the key battleground states, Obama’s celebrated network of organizing experts and neighborhood captains is being challenged by a conservative coalition that includes the National Rifle Association, the billionaire-backed Americans for Prosperity and a newly muscular College Republicans organization with a $16 million budget The conservative groups “are fully funded and ready for hand-to-hand combat,” said Steve Rosenthal, a Democratic organizer.

  • Florida — Republican legislation effectively dampened pro-Democratic voter registration efforts during critical months in 2011 and 2012, resulting in registration gains for Republicans in the crucial Tampa Bay area since the 2008 election.
  • Ohio — the evangelical group behind a successful anti-same-sex-marriage amendment that helped mobilize conservative voters in 2004 says it has a network of 10,000 churches and a database of millions of rural voters who will be targeted with in-person visits and voter guides.
  • Wisconsin — conservatives have built a house-by-house turnout machine already tested in the successful campaign to fight a union-backed recall of GOP Gov. Scott Walker in June.

Experts say that if Obama’s lead in key states extends beyond a few percentage points, even the most effective field operation on the right may not be enough to prevent a Romney loss. But, they say, the operation can add two to three points to the Republican’s total and, in a close contest, that could be a significant difference…”It’s a much more robust field operation than the 2008 McCain campaign had, that’s clear,” said Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager.

Wisconsin

One of the major players on the right is Americans for Prosperity, a group co-founded by conservative billionaire David Koch. The group plans to spend $125 million on the 2012 campaign, half of it devoted to field organizing in political battlegrounds. AFP has 116 staff members on the ground targeting 9 million voters the group has found to be “up in the air” about how to assess Obama’s economic record, said its president, Tim Phillips. The group has honed many of its techniques in Wisconsin, where it spent millions on the effort to keep Walker in office. The group there is deploying a new smartphone application, Prosperity Knocks, to guide canvassers to the right doors. Of the group’s 120,000 members in Wisconsin, it has 4,000 super activists, dubbed “Prosperity Champions,” who have participated in multiple actions, the group says. “This is a totally new ballgame,” said Luke Hilgemann, the Wisconsin director for AFP, who oversees 12 full-time staff members and thousands of volunteers in his state. “We’re matching the left and exceeding them in lots of things that we’re doing.” Wisconsin Family Action, another social conservative organization in the state, is sending voter guides and DVDs to its network of 3,000 churches, said Julaine Appling, the group’s president. “Here in Wisconsin, we’ve become pretty well-schooled in ground games,” she said.

Ohio

Activists report similarly honed skills in Ohio. Phil Burress, chairman of the group Citizens for Community Values Action and the leader of the marriage campaign in 2004, said he has been operating half a dozen phone-bank centers since May. He said he has a database of 8.4 million Ohioans and plans to distribute 2 million voter guides to 10,000 churches, with a focus on rural parts of the state that he said posted low turnout in 2008. Burress said many of his activists are motivated by Obama’s recent announcement supporting same-sex marriage. “It’s like 2004 all over again,” he said.

College Republicans and the NRA

In Ohio and other states, an emerging force in conservative voter outreach is the College Republican National Committee, which has expanded this year to 63 paid, full-time field staff members and has formed a joint super PAC with American Crossroads, the group founded in part by Karl Rove, who was an adviser to President George W. Bush, to target young voters. Gun enthusiasts will be hearing with greater intensity this year from the NRA, which spent $30 million in 2008 and plans to focus less this year on television advertising and more on voter recruiting. The group has hired 25 campaign field directors and posted them in battleground states, while it has begun churning out hundreds of thousands of pieces of targeted literature, said Chris Cox, the group’s chief political strategist. Cox said advancements in technology have improved the organization’s voter-targeting abilities “from a traditional shotgun blast into more of a rifle shot.”

Florida

In Florida, the Atlas Project has identified Democratic vulnerability in critical areas of the state. For example, the organization found that Democratic Party registration in the counties in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area has dropped by about 64,000 since the 2008 election, while Republican registration has increased by more than 50,000. Obama campaign officials point out that registration in Florida and many other states will continue for several more weeks and that Democrats are on track to make big gains. For the past two months, they said, the number of registered Democrats has increased more than the number of registered Republicans in Florida and other key states with party registration. Even in 2008, a large share of the Democratic registration gains did not occur until the final push.

Daniel Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida who has studied the effects of voter laws, said his data show that Florida’s Republican-backed legislation dampened registration in 2011 and early 2012, as some liberal groups stopped signing up voters. But since the courts rejected the law in May, Smith said, “I think we are seeing an effective effort to catch up.” Democrats on the ground remain worried. “There’s no question the legislature and the governor made it more of a challenge” to register Democrats this year, said Dan Gelber, a former legislator from Miami Beach who has been assisting the Obama team with voter registration. “I would not counsel overconfidence in Florida, notwithstanding the daily missteps of the Romney campaign.”

Inside the Rebel Alliance Base — Must Read

While Chicago continues to construct it’s new and improved Death Star (the super duper secret Project Narwhal to micro-target the universe), Guy Benson at Townhall.com sat down with Team Romney and its rag-tag band of rebels tucked away in Boston:

Behind the façade of a nondescript building in Beantown’s north end, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign headquarters is buzzing with activity…The campaign is accelerating into a full sprint as the 2012 presidential race enters its final leg. Fewer than 50 days remain. More than 400 Romney staffers are manning Boston battle stations during this electoral home stretch, more than double the manpower the campaign boasted as the primary season petered out in the spring. The third floor is home to the campaign’s brain trust, where high-ranking aides are hunkering down for seven weeks that will paradoxically feel interminable, yet will be over in a flash…In an exclusive discussion with Townhall, a cluster of top Romney campaign rainmakers offer frank assessments of the current state of play and attempt to address those very questions.

Asked about rumors that Ohio is in danger of falling off the map for Romney, he shakes his head. “I’m going to push back really hard on that Ohio stuff,” he says. “There is absolutely nothing we’ve seen that has showed Ohio is remotely out of reach.” The campaign’s polling guru, Neil Newhouse, isn’t as delicate. “I’ve seen every single poll out of Ohio. My firm is also [polling] the Senate race out there. It’s baloney. I’d use stronger language if [Townhall] weren’t a family publication.”

Karl Rove’s 3-2-1 Model — although not Romney’s strategy, the top campaign brass entertain that template to discuss the Battlegrounds:

Under [Rove’s calculus] Romney would have to flip six states from blue to red to win the presidency. Of the first three – Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia – the campaign is most concerned with the Old Dominion State. “Virginia is very competitive,” Newhouse says, “I’m not going to make any news there.”

Bullish on Florida

“I feel pretty bullish on Florida,” Beeson says. “Obama’s issue metrics are really weak there, on unemployment and on foreclosures.” He also name-checks two key surrogates who will help limit Obama’s advantage among Hispanic voters in the Sunshine State: Senator Marco Rubio, “who is extremely effective all around the state, and especially down in Miami Dade” county, and Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, who is an asset with the large Puerto Rican population along central Florida’s I-4 corridor. “Florida was a turnaround state for us in the primaries because of our turnout operation,” Newhouse recalls. “We feel really good about our ground operation in Florida.”

Ohio knife fight

Ohio is a separate beast. Both Beeson and Newhouse insist that people writing Romney off in the Buckeye State are far off base, but concede that there’s work to be done. It’s not an easy state, they say, but the campaign is devoting a special effort to winning it. “Ohio is going to be a knife fight until the very end. It’s that simple” Beeson intones. “Low single-digits, and a battle” Newhouse says flatly.

One

If Romney manages to win those first five states, the final piece of Rove’s puzzle is “one.” One additional state — any additional state — to put the GOP ticket over the top. Beeson brands this part of the conversation “fun,” eagerly pointing to a large US map on a wall perpendicular to his desk.

Iowa in focus: polls show a virtual tie. “Iowa launched [Obama] in 2008, but the thrill is gone. He’s been camping out in Iowa for a reason,” Beeson says. “And he didn’t move the numbers there,” Newhouse adds, finishing Beeson’s sentence…Iowans have an acute intolerance for debt, a topic Romney ads have hammered in the Hawkeye State.

The rest

Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada: Cautious optimism (“rosier’)

  • Beeson circles back to his home state of Colorado. “We’re doing pretty damn well, all things considered,” he says. “It’s legitimately a one point race. It’s going to come down to [Denver’s] collar suburbs.” He rattles them off, pointing at the laminated map.

New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania:  heavy lifting needed

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Romney Ground Game to Keep Pennsylvania in Play?

The ad dollars don’t lie and for now Team Romney is not aggressively playing for Pennsylvania in the all important TV ad game.  But the Super Saturdays continue apace and the numbers are staggering in their out-performance of McCain 2008. The one state that risks getting out of hand among Battlegrounds is Pennsylvania but the ground work tells a very different story:

Republican Mitt Romney and allied organizations are off the airwaves in Pennsylvania’s television markets for now, raising questions about how much the challenger is willing to contend for its 20 electoral votes. And yet Romney and his allies with the Republican National Committee are reaching out to voters in Pennsylvania (and other swing states) with a ground game that is far more intensive than the party was able to muster in support of John McCain four years ago.

So far, Romney volunteers have made nearly two million voter contacts by phone call and door-to-door canvassing, said Kate Meriwether, state spokeswoman for the Romney campaign. She said that 250,000 of those contacts had been door knocks. That was nine times more phone calls and 64 times more door visits than the John McCain campaign had managed in Pennsylvania within two weeks of election day 2008, Meriwether said. Last Saturday, which was the monthly “Super Saturday” for the Romney GOTV effort, volunteers knocked on about 50,000 doors and made more than 130,000 phone calls.

On Wednesday, the state’s top Republicans, Gov. Corbett and Sen. Pat Toomey, said that they believe Pennsylvania is competitive despite what the polls have said. “My sense is that the polls reported on in the press diverged completely from the polls I had internally,” Toomey said in a conference call with reporters. “I am just skeptical of the polling data I have seen.” Corbett said that private GOP polls, which he did not detail, “ lead me to believe that this race is much closer” than the 7.7 percentage point advantage Obama enjoyed in the average of all public Pennsylvania polls compiled by the Real Clear Politics website.

The governor also suggested that voters are inured to 30-second spots. “Television ads have been on in this race for over a year now – a lot of people see (an) ad and turn it right off,” Corbett said. “If we keep our head down and keep hitting these numbers, it’s going to be a real shock to Team Obama in late October,” Meriwether said.

Obama Outspent Romney by 3-to-1 Over the Summer and Can’t Pull Away — Must Read

That headlines is the conventional wisdom in the mainstream media, right? It’s not.  Every poll, even biased polls, says the race is no worse than even for Mitt Romney despite the unprecedented avalanche of negative ads from President Obama, the compliant water-carriers in the media, and a spending advantage like no one had ever seen before.  Yet the the write-ups in every poll release talks about the “trouble for Romney” underneath the headlines and Obama’s resilient likeability still buoying his campaign prospects.

Well, a lot of that is about to change.  We won’t ever get the media on our side, let alone be objective, but we can unleash ad campaigns the likes of which no general election has ever seen before and it appears the Romney campaign is just about ready to do that. The Boston Globe takes a long look at the inner workings of the Romney campaign’s finances and find a frugal, thrifty and focused campaign — much like what we should expect from a Romney White House —  ready to flip Obama’s spending advantage on its head:

Mitt Romney is heading into the final three months of the campaign with far more cash at his disposal than a sitting president known for his fund-raising prowess, a scenario that presents the Republican’s Boston-based campaign with a series of strategic and tactical opportunities that could provide a crucial difference as he enters the final stretch of a race expected to be razor-close.

The growing financial advantage, one that would have been hard to predict several months ago, comes after months of hoarding money as President Obama’s campaign spent heavily on television ads trying to brand Romney early in the minds of voters. But with a race that still appears tight, Romney’s campaign is now enjoying some of the rewards of withholding its money while being outspent — by about a 3-to-1 ratio — by the Obama campaign through the summer months. “That will be over soon,” said Stuart Stevens, a Romney senior adviser. “And the playing field will be more level.”

Unlike Obama, Romney seems to have been stockpiling money for the intense final months of the race. “If you have a financial advantage, which Romney does, it is important. It does give you more options,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who was a senior strategist for Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s presidential bids. “You’re able to do more things with your money.” But it’s not self-evident what those things ought to be. Romney could deepen his presence in the dozen battleground states where he has opened offices, hired field staffers, and intermittently run advertisements since the spring. Another way to exploit the advantage, Devine said, would be to try to make inroads in areas that are not part of the traditional Republican map and have not received the full force of Romney’s attention — states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — and prompt Obama to spend more money to defend them.

Romney since the start of June has spent $25.8 million on ads, for example, while Obama has spent $77.6 million, according to data maintained by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. But Romney spent much of the summer raising money, and saw his accounts balloon as the Republicans ended a bitter primary battle and began consolidating around Romney. Romney’s campaign has also launched an aggressive effort to utilize his new running mate, Paul Ryan, to raise new funds. The Republican’s presidential campaign last week announced a $10 million cash surge since Ryan joined the campaign. A memo from Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager, said 68 percent of donations were from new donors, and that the average donation was $81.

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Romney Opens Victory Office in Steubenville, Ohio

As part of the Super Saturday in Ohio, the Romney campaign opened another field office in Steubenville:

The Republican Party is heating up the Presidential race in Ohio; a state they know is critical to winning the election in November. The Romney Campaign opened new headquarters on Saturday inside the Fort Steuben Mall. Ohio Valley republicans were there show their support and had a chance to speak with local politicians.

Congressman Bill Johnson and Senator Pat Toomey also attended to kick off Romney’s new Campaign headquarters. They discussed topics important to the upcoming election, such as job creation and Obama-care. Senator Toomey says Romney’s experience in the private sector will enable him to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small business owners to create news jobs throughout the state.

Also at Saturday’s event, volunteers were signed up to make calls and go door-to-door for the Romney campaign. Congressman Johnson says it’s supporters like the ones at Saturday’s event that can determine the Presidential election. Republicans also say they will work to change current EPA regulations that are hindering energy production in industries important to the Ohio Valley such as coal and shale.

Obama supporters protested outside the mall. 7 News was told they had to be asked to leave inside near where the headquarters are located.

Romney Super Saturday in Pennsylvania

The Keystone State had Super Saturdays at the opening of its Bucks County field office.  Offices opened across Pennsylvania in Erie and Beaver also:

Statewide and nationally, volunteers will make hundreds of thousands of voter contacts by phone and in person. July was the earliest the RNC has tested its ground game operation. With a rising unemployment rate and a record 42 months of 8 percent plus unemployment in the news today and President Obama’s continued failure to keep his promises and help the middle class, we expect hundreds of volunteers on the phones and knocking on doors to promote Governor Romney’s focus on job creation and economic growth. Please join us for our Bucks County GOP Victory Office Grand Opening and Super Saturday Rally with Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.

Bucks County Victory Office Opening and Super Saturday Rally
Saturday, August 4th at 10 AM
Special Guest:  Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick

Bucks County GOP Victory Office
115 North Broad Street
Doylestown, PA 18901

The office will be open from 9:00AM to 9:00PM this Saturday, and every Monday-Saturday from now until the election.  Volunteers are encouraged to drop by to help or contact the Victory Field Director below.

Contact Blake Gober, Bucks County Victory Office Director at bgober@pagop.org or 484-250-3183 to Volunteer.