In 2008, the Obama campaign's ground game in North Carolina was one of the best in the country -- maybe one of the best ever. In 2012, it's even better. More volunteers, more staff, and a plan that is producing results.
I volunteered in North Carolina in 2008, and have been volunteering again in 2012. I was truly impressed in 2008; I'm shaking my head in amazement in 2012. I live in a small county (about 50,000 people), but we have an OFA headquarters and three staging areas here.
I was told last night by one of the paid staff that the campaign has reached 300,000 voters registered. This is not yet reflected in the public numbers, because OFA first enters each new voter into it's system, then turns in the registration forms, and it is taking the county, and then state, Boards of Elections time to update their records. In 2008, new voter registrations made it possible to win. In 2012, OFA is on target to double its 2008 results.
Early in-person voting begins October 18. The deadline to register is October 12 -- except that same-day registration is available to early in-person voters. The campaign will be ceasing it's intense voter registration efforts on October 8, to give time for processing of the registration forms and making sure no mistakes are made.
OFA's target is to have a 500,000 vote lead when early voting ends.
You thought 2008 was a model of volunteer enthusiasm making a difference? There are many more volunteers this time. Activity in the office is about twice what it was in 2008. Every time I'm in the office doing phone banking, people walk in asking what they can do. Most are put to work immediately, others are scheduled. It's something to behold.
On a recent week night, a training session for GOTV volunteers was held. OFA hoped to get 100... they got 150.
OFA used the "commit to vote" strategy in 2008, and are doing it again in 2012. Asking people to promise to vote, then reminding them of their promise, increased turnout by 6% (compared to precincts without that strategy). In phone canvassing and door-to-door canvassing, voters are asked to commit. The follow-up phone scripts (not yet being used, because early voting hasn't started) are remarkable detailed. What day do you plan to vote? What time? Who will go to the polls with you? OFA intends to try to make voting a group exercise; make it a party; go together and vote.
Door-to-door GOTV canvassing is the most effective of all, increasing turnout by 9%. The campaign here stopped it's persuasion canvassing early, judging that it wasn't effective compared to identifying and follow-up with Obama voters. Canvassing teams are being built, staging areas have been identified, and the plan is detailed.
If this election comes down to the ground game, President Obama will win North Carolina