IOWA CITY VICTORY OFFICE IS NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION IN CALLS! #romneyryan2012— Mary Kate (@karykarymate)The local GOP has been claiming for a few weeks now that they are making some astronomical number of phone calls. Now, respect to everyone who volunteers on a campaign. But. I don't see any evidence on the ground of any results from all these calls the Republicans say they're making.
A good field operation will produce numbers: absentee requests, trends in voter registration. I've seen good Republican field operations. Terry Branstad had great absentee programs in the 1990s. Then Republicans abandoned that in the 2000s, preferring to teach their folks that absentee voting = fraud. But when he got back into the ball game, Branstad revived his strong absentee efforts in the 2010 primary and general.
There's still time for that, but here's what I'm seeing on the ground here in Johnson. Democrats have a 17 to 1 edge in absentee requests ("ABRs" in staffer speak). Republican mailings may close that gap later, but it'll be hard to get to the two to one ratio that registration and past results would predict.
Speaking of registration, the normal pattern in the fall of a presidential year in Johnson County is for both parties to lose percentage and for an increase in the no party percentage. Here's the numbers since mid-August, when the semester started and the voter reg drives got going in serious numbers:
|Date||Democratic||Republican||Green||Libertarian||No Party||County Total||D%||R%||G%||L%||N%|
The no parties are climbing as expected, and the Republicans have dropped. But Democratic percentages are actually increasing, even faster than the independents. And this is in a universe of young voters, the most likely to register independent. So much for the Youth Abandoning Obama myth.
That doesn't just happen. That's work.
No, the only evidence I see of all the Republican calls that are supposedly getting made are reports of push polling in House District 73. You know, would you be more or less likely to vote for Dick Schwab if you knew he wiped his feet on Nile Kinnick's jersey or ate kittens for breakfast or cheered for the Chicago Bears or some other horrible crime.
In an election with almost no undecideds, give the edge to the side that has the better field operation - and I like our chances there.