Sunday, October 31, 2004


With three days left until the election and much of undecided America attending church this morning and then doning away in front of football games this afternoon, we might as well throw all the polls out the window. At this point, Tuesday's outcome all comes down to GOTV, and ABC News' The Note gives a slight nod to the Kerry machine:

Readeth this all-too-typical-when-it-comes-to-this-topic quote from the President's strategy honcho, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times:

"Strategist Matthew Dowd called Bush's get-out-the-vote effort 'much, much, much more extensive than any other' run by the Republicans. But he quickly added: 'The question we have is whether our operation is equal to their operation. And I don't think we will know the answer to that until election day.'"

If there is anyone in the Democratic Party respected by Rove and Co., it is Michael Whouley.

And Steve Rosenthal.

And those two and others are heavily involved in a Democratic ground game that is clearly going to have to outperform the GOP if Kerry is going to win. And it just might do that.

As the Washington Post says this morning:

"What makes this presidential election so difficult to call is the intensity of voter interest, reflected in swollen registration totals and long lines for early voting, combined with the most aggressive voter-mobilization efforts either party and its allies have ever mounted. Democrats in particular believe that their ground game may be decisive in the closest remaining states."

And from the Los Angeles Times:

"For the Bush campaign, the final push has been engineered mostly by a single top-down organization that sets goals in Washington and relies on a vast network of neighborhood volunteers."

"Kerry, in contrast, depends on a conglomeration of party, labor and issue organizations that use multiple messages to target divergent audiences."

Why Democrats have confidence in their ground game:

Michael Whouley; Terry McAullife's database innovations; experience of union organizers and canvassers who've done this for years; anti-Bush passion among younger volunteers; a field program that's triple the size of 2000 (without ACT and the unions); America Coming Together (Rosenthal, Ickes, et. al); outside "non-partisan" groups whose effect will be to get Democratically inclined voters to the polls on Election Day; and experienced operatives running the key states.

Why Republicans have confidence in their ground game:

Four years in the making, with design inputs by Maria Cino, Karl Rove, Blaise Hazelwood, and Ken Mehlman; 250,000 spirited volunteers; more money to spend; more efficient voter targeting (i.e., no outside groups to share voters with); surveys that show more people in battleground states have been contacted in person by BC04 than KE04; confidence from the 2002 experience.

This from the Des Moines Register Poll is potentially really key for Iowa and perhaps beyond:

"Twenty-seven percent of Iowa adults surveyed said they had already voted. Kerry leads Bush, 52 percent to 41 percent, among that group of early-bird voters. Among the 73 percent who said they definitely would vote on Tuesday, Kerry and Bush are tied."

And/but, as Mr. Dowd says, we'll see on Election Day — which, in the journalism dodge, we express as, "only time will tell."

People from ACT tell me that in PA, 85% of their targetted voters have already cast ballots in early polling.

Onward to the Whitehouse!


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