A post about the ground game

Before I get onto the post I have planned about the ‘ground game’ in the U.S. presidential election (what it is, what it indicates, etc.), I’d like to take a moment to talk about a specific state’s ground game. North Carolina is a heavily weighted (in terms of electoral college votes) Southern state. 15 EVs is quite a bit – more than Virginia or Indiana, and more than (sometimes) combinations of other swing states. So to say it’s important for both Obama and McCain is an understatement. McCain almost needs it to win the presidency – he isn’t likely to turn over 15 EVs from Kerry’s haul in 2004 to even it up, and then go on to win more swing states if he is losing traditional Republican states. Obama doesn’t have to get it, but it makes his job a heck of a lot easier if he did – with Iowa being a lock for him, Obama needs just 11 EVs (assuming he retains the Kerry states) to win; trying to win 1 state is better than 3.

The latest registration numbers coming out of North Carolina make this state out to be swing, or, if anything, leaning Democrat. The polls have, for some time now, shown a McCain lead no more than 5%, often within the 1-3% range. So the race was a tie, but some of us doubted this for a variety of reasons – mainly, that Obama is expected to outperform polls in swing states. He will outperform them because of the ratios that pollsters use fixed to 2004 voting numbers, which are inaccurate to this election more than numbers have ever been off in the past. That’s a whole different post in itself.

Getting back to the North Carolina numbers, at the 2nd of August, the Democrats already had a lead:  2,669,616 for them, 1,937,735 for the Republicans. The latest numbers to come in (last Sunday) showed an increase for the Democrats of 25,943, the Republicans 6,454. This is the the time that both parties had their conventions, and the numbers reflect a convention bounce in these too:

08/09 | D: 3,833 \ R: 709
08/16 | D: 4,354 \ R: 531
08/23 | D: 2,188 \ R: 275
08/30 | D: 3,410 \ R: 688
09/06 | D: 4,851 \ R: 1,309
09/13 | D: 7,307 \ R: 2,942 

The bold are the date immediately after the conventions. What is interesting is that the Republican convention doubled its registration number from the week before, but it also seemingly sustained an increase in Democrat’s registration, peaking it to a new high as well. So while the Republicans, and Republican-inclined people, were somewhat energised after their convention, the Democrats were more-so, and the people not wanting another Republican President as much. This reinforces the fear that the Republicans got from the report that the Obama campaign raised more than $10 million in the 24 hours after Palin’s speech!!!!! The didn’t say how much they raised after the McCain speech, but I expect it to be high as well. But for as much as Palin might have energised the right-flanks of the Republican party (who really did need someone to do that), Palin has also energised more demographics that fall under the Democrat’s umbrella – something McCain was dreading.

These numbers combine with the stark reality that the Republican party has to face: In North Carolina alone, the Democrats have added 184,113 new voters, while the Republicans have only brought in a new 24,614 voters. Right now, after checking the N.C. State Board of Elections website, the current registration levels sit at 2,698,293 for the Democrats, 1,945,086 for the Republicans, for a difference of 753,207. The unaffiliated/independents have a number of 1,308,366. If 85% of the total 5,952,806 turned out, which brings the number to 5,059,885, the Democrats are left with 2,293,506 – a mere 236,437 votes short of the win, or less than 25% of the independent vote needed. That’s a big ask for McCain, to win more than 75% of the independent vote when he is only splitting it in most of the swing states (which I think we can safely call North Carolina now). 

Anyway, that’s just one state, and some numbers, that I came across today and wanted to post about. For any clarifications (or perhaps corrections to my math – I don’t profess to even be apt at that subject) drop a comment or something. 

Thomas.

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4 thoughts on “A post about the ground game

  1. Pingback: Presidential Polls - IN, NC, NV, MO, OH, WV, VI « Deus Lo Vult

  2. Pingback: Presidential race - Polls and ground work « Deus Lo Vult

  3. The Palin pick has *definitely* energized North Carolina voters, and not in a way that helps McCain. While there are some “values voters” here, they are far fewer than in most red (and especially Southern) states. Most Republicans here tend to be traditional conservatives, and Palin does not help McCain’s case with them. She has helped push women to Obama, especially amongst small town and suburban married women/moms. I think the week of 9/13 registration numbers you cite are the most telling. In what was supposed to be one of Obama’s “worst weeks” of the campaign, his registration numbers in NC nearly doubled for the week. hmmmm.

    The key to NC’s vote this year will be October’s early voting period. The rejiggering of the state’s “One Stop” early voting procedures is hugely advantageous to the camp with the better ground game/GOTV. The Obama campaign worked this masterfully in the primaries, and actually won NC *before* election day proper on the strength of their early vote advantage alone. Because NC allows on-site registration during the “One Stop” period, they can continue to add new voters to their roster while also building a cushion against a (potentially) large McCain turnout on election day proper.

    In the primaries, Obama came out of the early voting period with about a 17% advantage, and went on to win the state by just over 14%. Given the tightness of polling throughout the cycle and the registration advantages for Dems, if Obama comes out of October with a 10% or greater early vote advantage, I’d don’t see how McCain could possibly make up that ground with election day voting alone.

  4. Pingback: Late night polling - WI, NC, MI « Deus Lo Vult

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