Grassroots vs. Astroturf

Kevin Drum:

Obama’s Ground Game Advantage May Not Be As Big As It Looks

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.) On the other hand, the professional organizations are often more thorough, and are better at the actual logistics of getting people to the polls.

The Mormon church has 14 million member, most of them in the United States. It is a church that emphasizes missionary work – knocking on doors and spreading the word. They are very organized, with up-to-date membership lists containing addresses and phone numbers. And for the first time in history one of the two major party nominees is a member of their church.

The Mormons are just one church. Yeah, the IRS says churches can’t mix religion and politics, but how do you stop them? What happens when preachers and pastors across the nation stand behind their pulpits the next two weekends and exhort their congregations to vote on November 6th?

How effective is the Republican ground game?

Remember Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day? It started out as a protest against Chik-fil-A organized by Democrats and interest groups associated with the Democratic party. The only news coverage was of that protest.

In what turned out to be an unplanned field test of the GOP ground game a counter-protest was organized, mostly through churches and the social media. On August 1, Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country reported an average of 29.9 percent more sales and 367 more customers than on a typical Wednesday. It was the single busiest day in Chik-fil-A history.

My prediction: On November 6th, Mitt Romney will win Ohio, but he won’t need it. He will easily win in excess of 300 electoral votes. And he’ll do it without spending millions of dollars to astroturf up a bunch of supporters either.

This entry was posted in 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

76 Responses to Grassroots vs. Astroturf

  1. simofish says:

    Oh, I sincerely hope you’re right. My friends are coming over to watch the returns come in. I don’t drink ………. but I may have to have a bottle of tequila handy to celebrate !!
    My hilldog – PumaSF already announced she was spending the night as she’d be consuming heavy amounts of ice cold vodka.

    • cj says:

      I don’t drink much anymore either, but when Obama loses, I’ll drink myself silly.

      Fingers crossed, toes crossed, and holding my breath.

  2. votermom says:

    Still stuck on Benghazi regardless of the thread topic, *weak grin*

  3. tommy says:

    Stormin’ Mormon. Apt title indeed.

  4. myiq2xu says:

  5. votermom says:

  6. ME says:

    Dick Morris, Hillbuzz, and you are predicting over 300 EV’s. I’ll just speak it into existence with you. HOPE and CHANGE on 11/6/12

  7. tommy says:

    The swing state polls don’t look good for Romney. Its a worrying factor. The national polls are pretty consistent, in Rs favour. You would have thought that there would be trickle-down pollanomics from the nationals to the states in favour of Romney, but so far, I don’t see it happening. Its gonna be a nail-biter allright.

  8. lorac says:

    I haven’t read today’s threads yet, so I don’t know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but today is Hillary’s birthday.

  9. votermom says:

  10. DandyTiger says:

    I agree with you myiq. My instinct tells me it’s going to be a big win for Romney. I think we’re looking at 2010 level turnouts: around10% less Dems than 2008 and around 10% more Repubs than 2008. If you skew polls (usually D+8) with those, you get a big blowout.

  11. If as many people have lied to pollsters as I have this year, there really is no way to know anything! Look at the ground game – vote – and WATCH THE POLLS FOR FRAUD.

  12. DandyTiger says:

    A good indication are the differences we’re seeing in crowd sizes.

  13. wmcb says:

    Obama supporters completely disagree with his policies….. when told they are Romney’s policies. When told it’s Romney, it’s “sick and immoral.” When they find out these are actual Obama policies, the excuses for The One start.

  14. myiq2xu says:

    Close but not quite award:

    A Brief History of Obama
    Column: How sarcasm and insult took over the Democratic Party


    Be careful to note that while the composition looks the same, the dynamics have changed significantly.


    Thus, given the relatively similar demographic composition of the 2012 and 2008 electorates, the election’s outcome may hinge more on how groups vote rather than to what extent they will vote. And most groups are currently less likely to support Obama now than they were in 2008. However, Obama’s seven-point margin of victory in the 2008 election leaves him considerable breathing room to lose electoral support yet still win the election.

    At this point, though, Gallup Daily tracking of likely voter preferences suggests Obama has lost more support than he could afford to, given his current 50% to 47% deficit to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. To close that gap in the final weeks of the campaign, Obama would need to have subgroups favorable to him, such as blacks or young adults, turn out at rates that match or exceed those of groups less favorable to him, or to increase his support among key subgroups even if their turnout remains the same.

    So basically, it’s Obama whose at a severe disadvantage, despite what you’ve been hearing.

    This is exactly what I’ve been saying all along. Obama has to turn out his exact 2008 coalition at the same volume or higher than 2008 to make up for GOP enthusiasm this year.

  16. HELENK says:

    how convenient military ballots bound for afghanistan burned in plane crash. saw on fox ticker tape

  17. myiq2xu says:

    I love this guy (in a totally heterosexual way):

    An Open Letter to Ace at Ace of Spades: Knock it off with the fear porn already, you big sissy.

    Dear Ace,

    Knock it off with the needless fear porn over at your site, Ace of Spades. You big sissy.

    It’s your site and you can certainly run it as you please…but I hope your readers ultimately hold you responsible for the things you’ve been writing lately about Ohio (a state that Mitt Romney is going to win…and it’s not even going to be close). You write anonymously and I have no idea who you really are, but you’re clearly not from Ohio and have not spent any amount of time there based on how you cover my home state. You treat Ohio like it’s Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, or Oregon…when Ohio isn’t automatically a win for Democrats like any of those other places. Before you make your readers so anxious about Obama winning the buckeye state maybe you should learn a thing or two about Ohio and what makes it a real bellwether in national elections.

    I’ve only been to Oregon once in my life and have no idea how that state will vote in this election, but even as a casual observer I can see that Oregon is a Democrat state that only votes Republican in bizarre circumstances. Ohio is not Oregon and the only thing they have in common is they’ve got a lot of trees and they both start with an “O”. When I read your fear porn postings on Ohio I am always struck by how what you’re saying would be true for OREGON…but not Ohio, because Ohioans don’t have the cultural mindset to support the Left that Oregonians do. That’s a big piece of the puzzle you’re missing when you have your play time over on your site.


    Ohio is a conservative state that votes Democrat here and there because Ohioans are nice people who believe in giving everyone a chance; that works out badly for them a lot of the time because Ohioans have a tendency of believing Democrats when they claim they are not Leftists. I notice you’re one of the conservative writers out there who foolishly use the word “liberals” to describe Democrats and I really wish you’d stop that because you do a lot of damage with this, too, since Democrats WANT you to call them that. When voters are told Democrats are “liberals” by people like you, they don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because “liberal” focus-group tests as “open and receptive to new ideas” even though we all know that’s not what the Democrat Party is really all about. Call them “lefties” or “Leftists” and watch Independents and undecideds run screaming from the Democrat Party (like you racing away from your spider-infested dollhouse when it comes to Ohio).


    Ohio has a tendency of backing the person that people feel is going to win the national election. Though it’s ridiculous for many of us to imagine who have followed Barack Obama’s career, Ohioans by and large bought into the hopeychange, feel-good narrative that the Ministry of Truth forced on us four years ago. Ohioans saw that Obama was going to win the election and enjoyed jumping on that bandwagon too, because they chose to believe that Obama was not a Leftist and that the Democrat Party with him at the helm would really be as moderate as he claimed he’d make it.


    I am a gay man in Chicago who was born and raised in Cleveland and I am calling you out directly, Ace, to MAN THE F*** UP and knock off these negative posts about Ohio.

    It is time for you to walk away from your dollhouse full of spiders and refrain from Eeyorism or emotional terrorism for the remainder of this election.

    Clearly you are not the worst of the fear porn peddlers out there (those would be Allahpundit, Erik Erickson, and Ben Shapiro) but you’re bad…and it would great if you could please stop.


    Kevin DuJan

    You know you’ve been pwned when gay guys call you a sissy.

    • yttik says:

      LOL, what can I say, I love Hillbuzz. He always makes me laugh.

      Oregon is a trip. They aren’t really a Dem state, they’re an extremist state. I don’t think there are any undecideds in Oregon. You’re far left or far right. Nearly 3/4 of the state is Republican, but the population density in one area is what causes them to go Dem. Bush won almost every county in Oregon, but lost the state because there are more people in the urban areas. Oregon also has the only two openly gay state supreme court justices in the nation.

      Kevin is right, Oregon and Ohio have almost nothing in common. There’s a perception that Ohio is a swing state, that people are deeply divided, but that’s mostly media hype. Oregon really is the most politically polarized state in the country. LOL, people have actually studied it because it’s so fascinating.

      • Jadzia says:

        You are absolutely right. Urban Oregon and Oregon anywhere that’s more than 10 miles from the I-5 are two completely different states, politically.

  18. DM says:

    Poll: Romney Catches Obama in Voter Outreach
    Those results make the campaigns’ get-out-the-vote efforts potentially pivotal. While 22 percent of likely voters personally have been contacted by Obama’s campaign, as many, 23 percent, have been contacted by Romney’s side. That’s tightened from a 5-point Obama advantage in contacts in mid-October; Obama similarly had a 7-point advantage over John McCain in contacts at about this point in 2008.
    More important, Romney has caught up in the efficiency of his outreach as well. Among likely voters who’ve been contacted by his campaign, 63 percent in fact are Romney supporters. That’s on pace with Obama, who’s had 65 percent efficiency in his campaign contacts. It’s a measure on which Obama led Romney by 17 percentage points just two weeks ago, and was ahead of McCain by 22 points at this time in 2008. Efficiency matters because contacts are meant to encourage turnout; the campaigns want to reach, and encourage, their supporters.
    Romney also has sharpened his turnout efforts in the 10 states now designated by the ABC News Political Unit as battlegrounds (see the end of this report for the list). There 40 percent of likely voters have been contacted by the Obama campaign, 39 percent by Romney’s. Efficiency is numerically better for Obama, but within the margin of error for this subset of the population.

    • Glennmcgahee says:

      I’m an Independent in Fl. and have been most of my voting life. I’ve received phones calls weekly from the Romney campaign for over a month and zero from Obama’s. Its actually surprised me, but they probably know I’m a lost cause for them..

  19. yttik says:

    “The Mormon church has 14 million member…”

    I think this election has not only mobilized Mormons, but religious people of all stripes and many other civic groups, too. I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve heard, “this is the most important election of our lifetime. Your country depends on it.” Those people aren’t telling anybody who to vote for, but it’s pretty clear to me that they aren’t endorsing Obama.

    Hubby and I have been having a laugh trying to translate all the “non political, non partisan” messages on sign boards all over town. It’s like, “we’re not telling you who to vote for but if you give us another four years like we just had, we know where you live and we’ll come after you.”

    There’s a huge groundswell of support for Romney going on and I live in a very dark blue state.

  20. tommy says:

    Dandy, have any idea why gallup is swinging all over the place? I’m glad that its in our favour, but the wild swings they’ve undergone makes their polling a wee bit unreliable.

    • DM says:

      Tommy, I think Romney’s support has been more volatile than Obama’s numbers, but I don’t see Gallup or other polls swinging all over the place. Compared to 2004, this election has been relatively stable.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I think Gallup has been pretty steady. It tends to only swing a point at a time with the daily. It had R up by 7, then 6, .. down to 3 for two or three days, now it’s going back up again. But in general, polls can move around based on sampling and randomness.

      I was going to make the joke that they don’t call it “gallup” for nothing. But that would be very silly.

    • tommy says:

      Thanks, DM and dandy.

  21. DandyTiger says:

  22. myiq2xu says:

    How pathetic is my life?

    It’s Friday night and I’m sitting home alone, sober and watching Bewitched (the movie)

  23. DM says:

    DT, I have a question for you. How many points do you think Benghazi is hurting Obama? I get the feeling that it’s not hurting him more than one percent. Will that change? Other than FN, the media doesn’t want to touch that tragedy.

  24. DandyTiger says:

  25. tommy says:

    This race is gonna drive me nuts. A couple of months, I spontaneously promised myself that I’d stop smoking and drinking on Oct 29th. Jeez, thats looking highly implausible now. But I made a promise, dammit. Lol

    • DM says:

      That’s not a big problem. Stop smoking and drinking for one day. Once that’s done, you’ve fulfilled your promise. I had a teacher that advised me to always go for success, no matter how small.

      Here is another idea. Write down on one page the reasons you want to quit drinking and smoking. Put that in your pocket, and when you feel like smoking or drinking, read the paper to give the courage to not do it for at least 2 hours or how many hours you feel you can keep your promise. Do this again and again, always making sure you are setting yourself for success. If you smoke or drink after you fulfilled your promise, you did not fail. That’s what matters most, that you don’t fail.

    • myiq2xu says:

      I was never a smoker, but I can tell you from experience that it’s really easy to quit drinking. I’ve done it lots of times.

  26. DM says:

    Romney will win WI, NH, FL, NC, VA and CO. Romney will have 271 electoral votes when he wins those battleground states. I hope he gets OH, but I don’t think he’ll need it.

  27. tommy says:

    Thanks, DM and dandy.

    • DM says:

      Good luck, and start now, not on the 29th. Did you see the movie Looper? You change the future when you change right now.

      • Just saw it last night, DM and the illogic of the plot has been bugging me ever since, even though I liked the movie overall. Thanks for distilling the actual meaning down for me!

  28. tommy says:

    VA and NH are just about doable, but CO and WI, I don’t know.

    • DM says:

      CO and WI are Romney’s. RCP has CO as a tie, and it would be a few points for Romney if it weren’t for the PPP 4 point poll.

      WI is showing a small Obama edge, but it would be closer without the Marist poll. I don’t know how that poll selects its sample, but all Marist polls give Obama huge leads. It doesn’t matter what state, the Marist poll will be an outlier.

      WI is very close and it will tip to Romney soon.

    • DM says:

      Here is another piece of data to support my WI prediction. Take a look at the recall election. Marquette last poll had Governor Scott at 52 and Barrette at 45. The final result was 53 to 46. Marquette has Obama at 49 and Romney at 48. That’s a tie. More important is the change between the recent and the prior poll. Marquette gave Obama an 11 point spread in September. That 11 point vanished to one point. That’s how far Romney has caught up with Obama in WI.

  29. swanspirit says:

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