Saturday, November 01, 2008

What ground game?

The McCain campaign put out a "rally the troops" memo today that is breathtaking in its denial of reality. This point was especially amusing.
Our field organization has tremendous energy and is out-performing the Bush campaign at the same time in 2004. This week our field organization crossed a huge threshold and began reaching more than one million voters per day, and by week's end will have contacted more than 5 million voters. Our phone centers are full and our rate of voter contact is significantly out-pacing the Bush campaign in 2004. We have the resources to do the voter contact necessary to support the surge we are seeing in our polling with old fashioned grassroots outreach.

The phone centers are full? Not according to the anecdotal evidence. Nate Silver has visited many of them and all he's finding is almost universally empty or closed campaign offices. Additionally, the campaign has suspended all GOTV funding.
The decision to finance a final advertising push is forcing McCain to curtail spending on Election Day ground forces to help usher his supporters to the polls, according to Republican consultants familiar with McCain's strategy.

The vaunted, 72-hour plan that President Bush used to mobilize voters in 2000 and 2004 has been scaled back for McCain. He has spent half as much as Obama on staffing and has opened far fewer field offices. This week, a number of veteran GOP operatives who orchestrate door-to-door efforts to get voters to the polls were told they should not expect to receive plane tickets, rental cars or hotel rooms from the campaign.

"The desire for parity on television comes at the expense of investment in paid boots on the ground," said one top Republican strategist who has been privy to McCain's plans. "The folks who will oversee the volunteer operation have been told to get out into the field on their own nickel."
One might also note the turnouts at rallies are nominally increasing from earlier dismal figures but are hardly inspiring.
Per NBC/NJ’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy, McCain finished off his Ohio bus tour yesterday with a big-crowd (for him) rally in Columbus, OH with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is something of a hero due to his sponsorship of an annual body building event in the area called Arnold’s Classic. The two spoke at the 18,000-seat Nationwide Arena (a venue I’ve been told Bush and Schwarzenegger filled to capacity in 2004), but about a third of the hockey rink was cut off with a giant curtain and the entire section behind the stage was also empty.
Not only that, but word has it they're busing in school kids by the thousands in order to fill the venues at all. By any reasonable metric, this should all point to a landslide for Obama but after 2000 and 2004, I'm taking nothing for granted.

They said Bush won on the 72 hour GOTV effort as well, but no one seems to have witnessed that happening and yet he "won" against all exit polling and anecdotal evidence as well. Our best defense will be a turnout so large that it can't be stolen or explained away. Barack the vote -- please.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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