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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Tie in the Ground Game?

Previous posts have indicated that the Obama campaign has a big advantage in the ground game.  But does it? The Pew Research Center reports:
Just as the presidential race is deadlocked in the campaign’s final days, the candidates are also running about even when it comes to the ground game. Voters nationally, as well those in the closely contested battleground states, report being contacted at about the same rates by each of the campaigns. And with a fifth of likely voters reporting already having cast their ballots, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear advantage among early voters. This is in sharp contrast to early voting at this point four years ago, which favored Obama by a wide margin.
Clearly, both campaigns are concentrating their efforts in the nine battleground states: Fully 78% of registered voters in those states say they have received something in the mail from one or more of the presidential candidates, while 60% have gotten pre-recorded calls about the campaign. Nationwide, 49% have received mail from the candidates and 42% have gotten campaign robocalls.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters, finds that about a third of all voters (32%) say they have been contacted by the Obama campaign (11%) or both campaigns (21%), while about as many (31%) say they have been contacted by the Romney campaign (10%) or both (21%). The survey was conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S.
Similarly, among voters in the nine battleground states, nearly identical percentages say they have been contacted by both campaigns (51% by Obama or both, 52% by Romney or both.)
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In the poll, conducted Oct. 24-28, 19% of likely voters say they have already voted; that is unchanged from the same week in the 2008 campaign (Oct. 23-26, 2008). Currently, Romney holds a seven-point edge among early voters (50% to 43%); because of the small sample, this lead is not statistically significant. At this point four years ago, Obama led John McCain by 19 points (53% to 34%) among early voters.
The Colorado Independent reports:
The latest early-vote tallies (pdf) released this afternoon by the Colorado secretary of state show Republican holding on to a steady lead. The Halloween release reported that registered Republicans have cast 38.2 percent of 1,150,698 votes collected so far in the state. Democrats have cast 35.2 percent and unaffiliated voters 25.6 percent. Today’s total percentages are roughly unchanged from Tuesday’s but, with less than a week to Election Day, less-partisan unaffiliated voters– the largest voting bloc in the state– seem to be beginning to turn out in greater numbers.
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Local Democrats, however, point out that Republicans here traditionally vote earlier than Democrats do and that most of the early voting in Colorado this year has so far come from mail-in ballots. Republicans, they say, enjoy an advantage on that score. A great deal of general-election Obama supporters failed to cast ballots in the 2010 Tea Party wave election and so fell into the “inactive voter” category and off the mail-in ballot rolls in the state. Like first-time voters, those Democrats will have to visit early voting stations or vote on Election Day.
Brian Hughes writes about Cleveland at The Washington Examiner:
The stakes for President Obama could not be higher in this liberal bastion, an economically hard-hit region in the nation's premier battleground where the incumbent needs a massive turnout to prevail on Nov. 6.
For Obama, this area is a firewall that could offset likely gains by Republican Mitt Romney throughout other stretches of Ohio -- but fault lines have emerged.
Early voting, touted as Obama's secret weapon in the Buckeye State, is down nearly 10 percent in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, compared to the same time in 2008. Even before Hurricane Sandy ushered in nasty rain, early turnout was lagging behind the benchmark it set four years ago, local election figures show.
Politically speaking, the failure to turn out a vote in this Democratic fortress is almost as good as casting a vote for Romney. And even while the number of Democrats voting early is down, there are indications that some of those who are voting are crossing over to Romney instead.