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.