This is why the work on the ground in terms of registration is so important: in August alone, the Obama campaign registered 49,000 new voters in Virginia:
State election officials told the campaign Friday that 49,000 new voters signed up in August, a sharp increase from the 36,500 who signed up in July and the 28,000 who registered in June.
The goal of the Obama campaign was 150,000 total by the time the October 5th deadline rolls around, which leaves one month to get the remaining 36,500. Hats off to all VA Democrats who must have been working so hard on this. Much more below:
There is no way of knowing how many of the newly registered will vote for Obama, especially since Virginia does not record voters by party affiliation. But the campaign is encouraged by the demographic profile of the new voters -- about 40 percent of those who registered in August are aged 25 or under.
Yes, the campaign is registering everyone who wants to, and there's no guarantee that they will vote Democratic, or vote at all. But it's encouraging to see how much they've targeted the right demographics. What will this mean in terms of meaningful impact in the fall?
The campaign predicts that if it can add 150,000 new registrations before early October, it will net about 60,000 votes out of that in November, assuming that 80 percent of the new voters are for Obama and that they turn out at a rate of 75 percent. Those votes could add up to about 1.75 percent of the anticipated state vote -- not enough to make up for the eight-point edge George Bush had in 2004, but possibly enough to tip the state Obama's way if he can also make gains with existing voters.
So, if 80% of the new voters are for Obama, and the voters turn out at a 75% rate (which strikes me as a tad high, but feasible), then that could add up to 1 3/4 point to Obama's total. Perhaps more realistically 1 point, but still, in a close race, expanding the electorate to add 1 point could make a big difference.
But there is a word of caution there that's very important. This is an incredibly impressive effort, and the Obama campaign and its volunteers have been at it diligently for months now. The end result could add 1-1.75% to the Obama side. But Bush won the state by 8 points in 2004. Therefore macro factors that influence the overall electorate are still essential.
So what it comes down to is this: kudos to everyone who's been working so hard, and it's absolutely essential. But Kossacks, don't get complacent about this victory just because of the ground game. We need everything to work together to deliver the victory we need.
Keep working hard, changing minds, and signing up new voters. And of course, DONATE!
But this reminds me of a diary back from the primaries that said something to the degree of, "Even if we lose in the fall, we win with Obama as our nominee." Almost everything I've seen from the candidate and the ground organization reinforces the truth of this statement. And the 49,000 additional voters added to the rolls in Virginia in August alone attest to that fact.
CROSS-POSTED AT STRATEGY '08