Old Blogs
October 29, 2012 4:28 AM
The Obama ground game myth
Posted by Laura
The Obama team of David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Stephanie Cutter, and all of their minions in the media, have been repeating this trope for weeks: "We have the superior ground game!" "We've knocked on more doors!" "We have an amazing get-out-the-vote operation!" Commentary magazine peels back the onion: "Consider what Kevin Drum, a writer for the left-wing Mother Jones, wrote on Friday, Republicans are operating on a different paradigm:

There’s been a disconnect in the ground games of the major parties for some time. Democrats tend to rely on paid, professional operations, while Republicans rely more on volunteer efforts, largely from evangelical churches. This is something that actually works in the Republicans’ favor, since volunteer efforts from friends and neighbors tend to be more effective at switching votes than professional phone banks. (Also cheaper.)

The other reason why Republicans are not as obsessed with turnout is that their base tends to be more highly motivated and, as a rule, are already registered rather than having to be schlepped out to the polls with great difficulty. They are instead working on convincing independents to give Romney a second look, an effort that has borne fruits as polls show their candidate gaining ground among centrists.

That’s something that gets us to the heart of this conundrum about turnout. As Josh Jordan explains in National Review, both Gallup and Rasmussen agree that the partisan split between Republicans and Democrats has changed markedly since 2008. Whereas four years ago the Democrats had a seven-point advantage, this fall that has become a 1 or 2 point Republican edge."

I can't predict what will happen on election day, but everywhere I go the enthusiasm edge goes to Romney. Head-faking your opponent is a classic technique in sports from basketball to boxing. Bluffing makes poker more exciting. This "ground game" myth might be one of the biggest bluffs in politics since when Obama said during the healthcare debate: "if you like your doctors, you'll be able to keep them."
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