Skip to comments.Dispatch from the Ohio Front
Posted on 10/30/2012 1:36:51 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Just over a week ago, I along with fifty other Tennesseans boarded a charter bus and began a five hour trek to the front lines of the 2012 fight for the Presidency. We arrived in southwestern Ohio at roughly 10 PM EST that Friday night. Upon our arrival to our hotel, we received our room assignments and initial instructions. Then we bedded down for the night.
The next morning a slight drizzling rain and colder conditions greeted us. We again boarded the charter bus and left for the Butler County Victory Center located 15 minutes away. We received a quick tutorial on the art of door knocking. It was difficult to hear our instructor. The Victory Center was overflowing with local Ohio volunteers, our 50+ strong Tennessee contingent and several volunteers from Kentucky. The vast majority of our volunteers were College Republicans but there was a good mix of ages and occupations represented: a physician (urologist), a small business guy (tech industry); two retired ladies in their seventies; two farmers (man and wife) both in their seventies interspersed with 50 college Republicans. Let me just pause right there. I have campaigned in dozens of local and national elections (including Bush 04 and Perry 12), and I never recall witnessing older Americans in their seventies pounding the pavement to door knock. I may have seen a handful of seasoned citizens phone banking, but never door knocking. Quite an astonishing phenomenon to observe. An ominous sign for the President if there ever were one: two elderly country farmers opting to leave the farm for a weekend, travel five hours to Ohio to campaign for the Presidents opponent. Imajean did most of the talking. Bill was perfectly content to let Imajean handle the conversing, while he studied the walk list and prepared to navigate. Bill spoke 2-3 sentences all Saturday, until we asked him about his farm. Then he let loose. Both he and Imajean told me one of their biggest concerns was receiving a phone call that their cattle had gotten loose. I had heard from a farmer friend of cows escaping, running loose in the rural community they lived and wreaking havoc. Im certain it was a little nerve wracking for Imajean and Bill to leave their home and business behind for the weekend. But these two were committed, and it was obvious they cared deeply about their country. Incidentally, they were two of the kindest and most determined American patriots I met on our Ohio excursion. So thankful our paths crossed.
I quickly found myself on the same GOTV van as the seniors and began trying to coach them on the art of door knocking as we traveled en route to our assigned neighborhoods. In Butler County, we were in John Boehners district, so we enjoyed campaigning in friendly territory. However, we engaged low propensity voters in accordance with the Romney campaign strategy. We targeted Ohioans who voted in perhaps 2 out of 3 presidential elections or 3 out of 4. Our RNC leaders instructed us to skip the houses with Romney yard signs. These were highly motivated Romney supporters; no need to expend resources and waste time chitchatting. I believe it to be a very shrewd strategy. Republican turnout is very high on election day in Ohio and in most states. Why not spend some resources and time trying to convince low propensity voters to utilize the convenience of early voting? The RNC appeared to attempt to cast a larger net with this strategy. Many Republican voters we engaged seemed wary of early voting, especially older Republicans. We tried to convince as many as we could to early vote or mail in an absentee ballot. Most were receptive to early voting after we talked with them. We convincingly and truthfully explained the incessant phone calls from the GOTV effort would likely come to a complete stop if they bit the bullet and early voted.
We divided up into groups of two. I had invited an old high school buddy Pete to make the trip with me, so we set out with steel gray clouds above dropping a light misty rain on us. Soon, the sky opened up and the sun warmed things up a bit. Many Ohioans werent home or opted not to answer the door. We left some Romney and Josh Mandel literature along with a quick little note: Sorry we missed you! Hope we can count on your support for the GOP ticket! Bethany & Justin Wax. I opted to sign my wifes name to it, because she was definitely with me in spirit, although physically she was back in Tennessee making sure our kiddos behaved themselves. She made the Florida trip in 04 for Bush but that was 2004 BK (before kids). Further, I just thought it weird to sign it Justin & Pete. Didnt want to give folks the wrong idea. Pete agreed with this approach and signed his wifes name to his notes.
We had good responses most of the day. After lunch, an Ohio small business owner of a construction company joined our team. Pete and I enjoyed getting to know him. His business had been hit very hard by the Obama economy. He was very appreciative wed come from Tennessee to campaign in his community. Inadvertently, the RNC had assigned us to door knock in a private retirement community. After the third youre not supposed to be soliciting here comment from a senior citizen, we took the hint and opted to leave the neighborhood and help another GOTV team finish up their walk list. Overall the response was very encouraging. One gentlemen told me he had patiently waited three years to vote against Obama. Another lady said she was very enthusiastic about voting for Romney and still working on her college-age son. We coached her a little on breaking through to him. Another couple said we could put a Romney sign in the yard and an empty chair if we had one (a Clint Eastwood reference to Obamas empty chair Presidency). We laughed at that one. As we walked alongside a narrow busy two lane highway, a SUV pulled up to us. The driver rolled down the window and said, Just want to say we appreciate what you guys are doing. Then he took off.
After returning to Tennessee, friends and family asked for my gut feeling on the election. I agree with the estimable Michael Barone, although Im sure Ive examined far less data than he has. Romney is going to win. It wouldnt surprise me to see him end up with 300+ electoral votes. My Ohio anecdotes were great, but I attempt to numbers crunch when it comes to publicly telling people where I think an election is headed. I spent several hours Friday night studying Ohios previous elections and trends in Ohio. Voter registration amongst Democrats is down significantly (almost 500,000), particularly in the Ohios most populous counties: Hamilton, Cuyahoga and Franklin. Meanwhile the number of independents has surged by nearly 500,000. The University of Akron study on early voting in Ohio reveals that most early voters (roughly 50%) wait until the final two weeks of early voting to cast their ballots. This figure would not seem to bode well for the President, especially with how fast Obamas job approval rating plunging 7 points in a 3 day period in light of the Benghazi scandal. Josh Jordan at National Review recently provided an excellent analysis explaining how the Ohio polling methodology shows a heavily inflated early voting component. Dan McLaughlin at RedState also eloquently explains how Romneys double-digit dominance with independents will likely translate into a solid win for the former Massachusetts governor. I find no fault in either argument.
Very good. Thanks for posting this.
I’ve also read of GOP Californians busing into Nevada to help with their ground game.
“One week from Election Day, the presidential race has tightened dramatically in Ohio, which appears more likely than any other state to decide who will win the White House.
A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday shows Mitt Romney overtaking President Obama in Ohio for the first time since May, with 50 percent support to Obama’s 48. This follows a Cincinnati Enquirer/Ohio News poll over the weekend that showed the candidates tied at 49 percent.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls still shows Obama ahead, 48.6 to 46.7 percent, but that spread might flatter the president’s current position because it includes a CNN-ORC and Public Policy Polling survey, released last week, which showed him up by 4 points, and a Time magazine poll giving him a 5-point lead............”
I read a piece on that as well. Makes good sense.
By the way, that article on Romney’s strategy with low-propensity voters (Daily Beast) was also a good read. I did a FR search on “ground game” and didn’t see it. I know I haven’t seen it posted here yet. Consider posting it. You’re better at article posting than I ever will be.
Very well written and some nice news!
It is good information....
Thanks for this report. I had heard Romney was “targeting low propensity voters” but was unsure of the mechanics of how that is done.
Here’s what I don’t understand about registration numbers. Every two years, we get fantastic numbers of people registering to vote. If I were to go back eight or twelve years and added them up, it would be in the tens of millions.
Where are these people coming from? Do that many people move to different districts every year? I can’t imagine we are in an age where so many people are so disconnected from public life that they don’t ever go to a library, a DMV or even a welfare office once in a while? I even remember seeing flyers for voter registration in the hospital ER and at the train stations they even do it in schools.
I can see a few hundred thousand to a million or so people want nothing to do with the world and live isolated or with limited contact, but that is a small minority. Every two years, we have these registration numbers that almost defy reality.
College students that have graduated and left the state altogether.
Snowbirds (live 6-8 months in another state like Florida) and hasn't cancelled their in state registration.
Woman who have married and haven't changed their maiden name to their married name in their registration.
People who have moved to a new address with no forwarding one (probably trying to escape bad debts)
Moved out of state because your company left and haven't cancelled their registration
Cheaters from ACORN in the last election.
I'm sure you can think of a few more but you get the gist of it.....