The Obama campaign announced today that their voter registration and early voting margins in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, and Florida are bigger than they were in 2008.
Obama leads Iowa early voting in vote by mail ballots cast, in person early voting, total voting and total ballots requested, and they lead by a bigger margin than they did in 2008 in ballots requested and ballots cast. In Ohio, the president leads in ballots requested and ballots cast, and is ahead of the lead he had over John McCain at the same point in 2008.
In Florida, Obama has improved his margin in absentee ballots by 175,000 over this point in 2008. In Nevada, Republicans led Democrats by 8,000 absentee ballot requests in the last election. In 2012, Democrats are leading Republicans. In North Carolina, Obama has shaved 5,000 off of the Republican lead in absentee ballot requests. According to Obama For America, “At this point in 2008, Republicans had an absentee ballot request advantage of 259,000 ballot requests in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Nevada. In 2012, Democrats have cut that margin by 75 percent to just 64,000.”
According to the chart below, Democrats have a more than 2.4 million voter registration advantage in swing states:
Democrats have also out registered Republicans in swing states over the past three months (via state Boards of Elections):
Lastly, there has been a double digit surge in Democratic Latino voter registration in North Carolina, Florida, and Nevada (via state Boards of Elections in FL and NC, and DNC voter file:
The Obama reelection strategy has always been based on using their superior ground game in targeted swing states to get the president over the finish line. What the national polls don’t account for it that Obama is running a different campaign than Romney. The president has zeroed in on a handful of swing states that he needs to win in order to get to 270 electoral votes, and so far the strategy is working. Even after the first debate, the president continues to lead in Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, Iowa, and is leading or tied in Florida. The only state where the polling consensus shows Obama trailing is North Carolina.
The fact that the Obama campaign is so heavily targeting swing states is why his supporters should not be overly worried about national polls. National polls may suggest the general direction of the political winds, but the swing states are where the real contested campaign is occurring in 2012.
While the Romney campaign and their supporting super PACs have concentrated their money on television ads, for about a year the Obama campaign has been spending their dollars on their ground game. The Obama camp understands that if they can pile up a huge advantage in early voting in places like Ohio, Iowa, and Florida, this election may be over before voters go to the polls on Election Day.
It is easy to see why Republicans fought so hard for voter ID and to limit early voting. Obama has a huge advantage in each of these areas. Things may actually be worse for Republicans in 2012 as the president’s campaign has also decreased the Republican advantage in swing state absentee voting.
Tonight’s vice presidential debate will help shape perception, but what is happening on the ground in swing states definitely favors Obama.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association