This morning, as our volunteer Neighborhood Team Leaders opened 5,117 get-out-the-vote (GOTV) staging locations in the battleground states that will decide this election, they began to execute the final phase of a ground game unlike any American politics has ever seen. These staging locations are even more localized versions of our field offices—set up in supporters’ homes, businesses, or any area that can serve as a central hub for a team’s GOTV activities in the final days.
From these hyper-local Obama hubs, volunteers have signed up for 698,799 shifts to get out the vote over the final four days of this campaign, a number that grows by the minute as organizers continue assigning supporters who have expressed an interest in volunteering. These volunteer-led GOTV staging locations embody what this campaign has been all about since we started organizing for change in 2007. The Neighborhood Team Leaders who are running our get-out-the-vote operation have been working in these neighborhoods for months, if not years.
Since we launched the re-election campaign in April 2011, those teams have been focused like a laser beam on three things: 1) expanding the electorate by registering new voters, 2) persuading undecided voters, and then 3) turning out our supporters. On all three fronts, these volunteers have blown away our most optimistic expectations.
Registering new voters
This cycle, our teams registered 1,792,261 voters in key battleground states—nearly double the number of voters the Obama campaign registered in 2008.
These new voters are already voting in early vote states. In fact, 28% of them—345,233—have already voted. In North Carolina, for example, 137,808 of the voters OFA-NC registered have already voted in a state the President won by just 14,000 votes in 2008, and that will come down to the wire again on Tuesday.
Persuading undecided voters
Our neighborhood teams have had millions of conversations with persuadable voters. Each battleground state has been running an aggressive and comprehensive organizing program targeted toward undecided voters. The all-of-the-above organizing program included targeted phone calls, door knocks, direct mail, individualized digital advertising, smart television targeting, and an integrated digital follow-up program to undecided voters. At the start of GOTV weekend, our volunteers have made 125,646,479 personal phone calls or door knocks—not counting robo-calls on auto-dialers, mail, literature drops, or any other non-volunteer, non-personal contacts.
Many field campaigns have historically favored quantity over quality; we do not. In each conversation we have with a voter, our goal is to make a difference. These are not phone calls made from a call center; they are done at the local level by our neighborhood team leaders, members, and volunteers, who are talking to people in their communities.
We have also instituted the largest and most sophisticated training program in political history. Building on what we learned in 2008, we set up a national training team in Chicago more than a year before the election, and then hired training directors in every battleground state to ensure our staff and volunteers are trained to run a campaign worthy of the presidency. Over the past two years we have held thousands upon thousands of local trainings throughout the country on everything from talking about the President’s accomplishments and his plan for the next four years to hosting phone banks and leadership development.
Our analytics team constantly evaluates our program so we can ensure these volunteers are making a difference in the conversations they have with voters, especially after graduating from our interactive trainings.
Turning out supporters
Finally, our teams have been focused on getting out the vote, a task that relies heavily on turning out those voters who support us but are least likely to make it to the polls. It includes turning out our newly registered voters, as well as getting “sporadic voters” to the polls—for example, citizens who haven’t voted in the last few elections. We know from the early vote numbers that our teams are succeeding extraordinarily in this turnout effort:
Among non-midterm voters, Democratic turnout is outpacing the Republicans’ turnout in every single battleground state with party registration.
In Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and Nevada, 1.4 million non-midterm Democrats have voted already, compared with just 840,000 non-midterm Republicans.
And in Ohio, more than 179,000 non-midterm voters from counties Obama won in 2008 have cast ballots, compared with just 91,000 non-midterm voters from Republican-leaning counties. Ohio does not have party registration, so how a county voted in 2008 is one way to measure this turnout.
Our get-out-the-vote effort—built over years and running at full speed today—is the reason President Obama will be re-elected to a second term and continue to move the country forward, create jobs and strengthen the middle class.
The math is clear: Our opponent is losing among early voters in nearly every public poll in every battleground state, meaning that if these public polls are right, he would have to win 65% of the remaining votes in North Carolina, 59% in Iowa and Colorado, 58% in Nevada, 55% in Florida and Ohio, and 52% in Virginia and Wisconsin.
The ground game
As our Neighborhood Team Leaders opened their staging locations this morning, they began logging into our state-of-the-art reporting system, officially launching their GOTV hubs. Unlike campaigns of the past, our volunteers are not driving to some large office miles from their homes and handed a phone and a call sheet. Instead, Canvass Captains, Phone Bank Captains, and scores of local volunteers will be knocking on the doors of the very voters they registered, have been talking to for months, and know personally. And they will be directing them to polling locations in their communities—the schools their kids go to, the places of worship they attend each week, and community centers they know well.
This is the difference between the Obama campaign and any other campaign we have ever witnessed. Ours is a people-centered, data-driven campaign that has built small, manageable neighborhood teams run by talented volunteers and supported by amazing field organizers who know the exact number of votes they need to win in their precincts.
Our team has expanded the electorate, persuaded undecided voters, and identified enough sporadic voting supporters to win every single battleground state. This weekend we start the journey of turning out those voters and keeping President Obama in the White House.