Permalink to Amid All the Good News, One Ominous Note, Or, Calling Rick Wilson

Amid All the Good News, One Ominous Note, Or, Calling Rick Wilson

 

Since feeling confident almost two weeks before Election Day seems so odd to me–after all, I’m a lifelong Republican–I’ve been searching for a good reason to temper my mood. As it happens, such a reason exists.

Molly Ball, writing in The Atlantic:

While Obama’s office in Sterling is one of more than 800 across the country — concentrated, of course, in the swing states — Romney commands less than half that number, about 300 locations. In the swing states, the gap is stark. Here’s the numerical comparison in what are generally considered the top three swing states — Ohio, Florida and Virginia:

Ridden with anxiety all over again–that’s me. Right back to normal.

Rick Wilson, you’re a political professional, and you’re on the ground right there in Florida. What do you make of this?

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Members have made 79 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    Take a few deep breaths, Peter. It’s not the number of the offices, it’s their effectivenss.

    A political campaign is not a jobs program to maximize employment or rental space.

    Productivity is not measured by the number of people, it is the output divided by the manhours.

    • #1
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:29 am
  2. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member

    It’s part of Obama’s full employment plan, and probably was done to enhance the October job numbers.

    • #2
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:31 am
  3. Profile photo of Schrodinger's Cat Inactive

    Seems to me the TEA party is working under the radar and will offset BO’s advantage in offices. Also, GOP enthusiasm will get people out w/o GOTV.

    Let’s not be anxious or over confident.

    • #3
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:32 am
  4. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Arahant: Take a few deep breaths, Peter. It’s not the number of the offices, it’s their effectivenss. · 0 minutes ago

    Not much comfort in that thought, either, I’m afraid, Arahant. More from Molly Ball’s article:

    These basic characteristics were repeated in all the offices I visited: The Obama offices were devoted almost entirely to the president’s reelection; the Republican offices were devoted almost entirely to local candidates, with little presence for Romney. In Greenwood Village, Colorado, I walked in past a handwritten sign reading “WE ARE OUT OF ROMNEY YARD SIGNS,” then had a nice chat with a staffer for Rep. Mike Coffman. In Canton, Ohio, the small GOP storefront was dominated by “Win With Jim!” signs for Rep. Jim Renacci. Obama’s nearest offices in both places were all Obama….

    In a technical sense, the Romney campaign actually does not have a ground game at all. It has handed over that responsibility to the Republican National Committee….

    • #4
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:32 am
  5. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    My answer is on the member feed. I think I anticipated you, Peter, by about 20 minutes. “Let your not your heart be troubled.”

    • #5
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:33 am
  6. Profile photo of wmartin Inactive

    Thanks a lot. I was already worried and depressed enough about Richard Mourdock’s effect on turnout for suburban white women, now I have something new to obsess over.

    • #6
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:34 am
  7. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    I bet effiency of manpower and financial resources is fairly compatible with most democrat government programs. Until a week or three ago they were unenthusiastically trumpeting a sure victory and giving little effort. Now they must prowl like zombies door to door and act like their big brained debating dummy is awesome? Think of them as the Chinese Army in the Korean war and the human waves falling before accurately firing soldiers.

    • #7
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:35 am
  8. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    Peter, Obama is our get-out-the-vote spokesman.

    • #8
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:37 am
  9. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    ~Paules: My answer is on the member feed. I think I anticipated you, Peter, by about 20 minutes. “Let your not your heart be troubled.” · 5 minutes ago

    Not the first time, Paules, that you’ve turned a corner before I even saw it. Thanks, man. Will now hop over to the Member Feed.

    • #9
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:39 am
  10. Profile photo of Hang On Member

    They’re out of Romney yard signs and this is a bad sign?

    And Romney is integrated into local Republicans while the President stands alone. Excellent. Republicans want Romney along. The other Democrats don’t want Obama along.

    Why are you worried? Seems like excellent news. Didn’t you ever learn to read Pravda?

    • #10
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:40 am
  11. Profile photo of Albert Arthur Coolidge

    Didn’t Rick Wilson answer this very question on the Ricochet Podcast a few weeks ago?

    • #11
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:43 am
  12. Profile photo of Arsenal Thatcher

    Read the RNC memo on early voting that came out yesterday. Yes, it’s the RNC and, yes, they spin things hard. But numbers are numbers and these numbers indicate that our EV/AV numbers look good relative to 2008 and relative to the Dems EV/AV numbers. This is, in large part, due to the effectiveness of our field offices.

    • #12
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:43 am
  13. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Albert Arthur: Didn’t Rick Wilson answer this very question on the Ricochet Podcast a few weeks ago? · 1 minute ago

    He did address this point, saying the Republican ground game in Florida looked darned good. That’s why I called Rick out on the post. What Molly Ball reports and what Rick sees just don’t seem to square.

    Rick, Rick? Are you there? Albert and I need to hear from you, man!

    • #13
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:46 am
  14. Profile photo of Doc Inactive
    Doc

    A little off topic of field offices, but Romney raised 111.8 million this month as of Oct 17.

    • #14
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:47 am
  15. Profile photo of Albert Arthur Coolidge

    Also, Mr Robinson, take heart:

    Foster McCollum White Baydoun (FMW)B

    , a national public opinion polling and voter analytics consulting firm based in Michigan and representing the combined resources of Foster McCollum White & Associates (Troy Michigan) and Baydoun Consulting (Dearborn Michigan) conducted a telephone-automated polling random survey of Michigan registered and most likely November 2012 General election voters for Fox 2 News Detroit to determine their voting and issue preferences for the presidential election. An initial qualifying statement was read to respondents asking them to participate only if they were very likely to vote in the November General Election.

    Thirty five thousand (35,000) calls were placed, and 1,122 respondents fully participated in the survey. The margin of error for this total polling sample is 2.93% with a confidence level of 95%.

    The 2012 United States Presidential election will be held on November 6, 2012. Who are you most likely to vote for in the election?President Barack Obama 46.92%Republican Nominee Mitt Romney 46.56%another candidate 2.30%Undecided 4.23%

     

    Michigan, Mr. Robinson. Michigan.

    • #15
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:48 am
  16. Profile photo of KC Mulville Member

    Can’t wait for Rick to answer, but until he does …

    This happens every election with an incumbent.

    If I understand it correctly (and it’s entirely possible I don’t), the funds you use to set up the “ground game” can’t be released until the candidate is named. Also, when you create the field office, your first step is assemble your staff and field workers – a restriction that doesn’t apply to a sitting president. You don’t create these offices for the primaries, at least in the same scale as for a general election.

    So this head start for the incumbent is normal, and it doesn’t reflect any underlying support for the president over Romney.

    It is, however, an advantage for the incumbent that really is worth worrying about. I agree that it’s a serious concern no matter why it exists; I just don’t think it says anything more than that.

    • #16
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:51 am
  17. Profile photo of Yeah...ok. Member

    Peter, you’re an honorary Texan. Stand tall for a couple of weeks.

    • #17
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:55 am
  18. Profile photo of Brian Member

    I would expect the two camps and parties to have very differant physical elements in place and perhaps implimentation of very new ideas about turning voters out. The only way to know a campaigns real effectiveness in terms of ground game is at the final stretch and on voting day.

    The final stretch is underway and, when compared to 2008, there is a better early voter turnout among Repubs. Ohio is looking more and more like a rigged game for/by Obama…..but Romney is still neck and neck.

    • #18
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:57 am
  19. Profile photo of PJ Member
    PJ
    Hang On: They’re out of Romney yard signs and this is a bad sign?

    And Romney is integrated into local Republicans while the President stands alone. Excellent. Republicans want Romney along. The other Democrats don’t want Obama along.

    Why are you worried? Seems like excellent news. Didn’t you ever learn to read Pravda? · 9 minutes ago

    Edited 9 minutes ago

    Yes. I live in Virginia, and we got a Romney yard sign, but they would only give us one because they are running low. MANY more Romney signs this year in my neighborhood (a pretty swingy Northern Virginia neighborhood) than McCain signs last time.

    • #19
    • October 25, 2012 at 8:57 am
  20. Profile photo of Cuban Mike Inactive

    Does the number of campaign offices directly correlate to effective ground game? Can we look at past elections as precedent? Did the campaigns with the greater number of field offices win their respective elections, did they do so consistently?

    The way I see it:

    Romney = decentralized delegation.Obama = centralized control.
    Peter Robinson:

    In Greenwood Village, Colorado, I walked in past a handwritten sign reading “WE ARE OUT OF ROMNEY YARD SIGNS,” then had a nice chat with a staffer for Rep. Mike Coffman. In Canton, Ohio, the small GOP storefront was dominated by “Win With Jim!” signs for Rep. Jim Renacci. Obama’s nearest offices in both places were all Obama….

    18 minutes ago

    There are two ways of viewing this. I’ll leave it up to you. Personally, I’m optimistic, if cautious.

    It’s time to redouble our efforts. Contact your local Romney field office and see what you can do to help and volunteer. Hand wringing won’t get us much more than heart burn.

    • #20
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:02 am
  21. Profile photo of Strategoist Member

    1st the narrative is “Romney can’t beat the polls” then he starts beating the polls and is flirting with wave election territory by reaching 50%. So now the story is “polls be damned, the ground game will win it for us!”. Direct evidence suggests that republicans are more active in early voting this year than 2008…Obama had no opposition in ground game in 08 because McCain gave up with 6 weeks out…these articles are designed to keep Dems from giving up the ghost…they indicate a desperate loser, not a triumphant victor.

    • #21
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:10 am
  22. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member
    Peter Robinson: Since feeling confident almost two weeks before Election Day seems so odd to me–after all, I’m a lifelong Republican–I’ve been searching for a good reason to temper my mood. As it happens, such a reason exists.

    Jeez, if you and Long had been in charge of the Normandy invasion, we’d still be waiting for the weather to clear.

    • #22
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:10 am
  23. Profile photo of ChrisC Member

    They are out of yard signs because the demand was so high. I have an acquaintance involved with Romney’s GOTV effort in Ohio and he says that they have the best GOTV effort – ever. They are approaching exceeding their metrics by 100%.

    • #23
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:11 am
  24. Profile photo of Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Member

    Does it really matter? Although local results matter, the campaign is a national one. How many people ever actually go to a local campaign office, or interact with local campaign workers? I’d wager that the vast majority of people get their information from nonlocal sources, like the media, the Internet, and campaign advertising.

    I’m pretty sure Romney can get his message out regardless of whether he has rented a storefront in every town.

    • #24
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:35 am
  25. Profile photo of Arahant Member
    Illiniguy Jeez, if you and Long had been in charge of the Normandy invasion, we’d still be waiting for the weather to clear.

    In the spread of the American Revolution, the French and Spanish joined the fray against England. The French sent a fleet out of Brest prematurely, before they had all their stores, because of fear of being trapped by an English blockade. The plan was to join with the Spanish fleet and eliminate the English Channel Fleet so they could then pick troops up in French ports to invade England.

    They were to meet the Spanish fleet off Sisargas. They sat waiting for months as the Spanish waited for the weather to be just right and leave their ports. The French fleet had to deal with disease, starvation, and other problems as they awaited the Spanish. The English found out and decided to play a different game. When the fleets finally combined and came up towards England, the English admiral led them on a merry chase rather than engaging. In the end, there was no invasion, let alone a successful one.

    Be not afraid! Our invasion of the polling places will be a success. Normandy, not Sisargas!

    • #25
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:38 am
  26. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    I have two points here.

    1) Reince Priebus knows what he is doing. The RNC is flush with cash; if there is a piece that was overlooked, it is handled in a hurry. And Obama’s approach to this stuff is like his approach to stimulus and economics- indiscriminately throw piles of cash at the problem and tell yourself that bulk of inputs equals results.

    2) If there is one thing that a candidate can control, it is how the ground game is handled. You can’t control debate questions, Andrew Sullivan rants, or NYT stories, but you can rent offices and hire people if that is called for. If Romney has been a successful executive for 30 years, is there any possibility that he doesn’t know exactly where every possible voter in Oiho is, how s/he drives to the polls, etc?

    • #26
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:49 am
  27. Profile photo of James Of England Moderator
    Peter Robinson
    Albert Arthur: Didn’t Rick Wilson answer this very question on the Ricochet Podcast a few weeks ago? · 

    He did address this, saying the Republican ground game in Florida looked darned good. That’s why I called Rick out on the post. What Molly reports and what Rick sees just don’t seem to square.

    Rick, Rick? Are you there? Albert and I need to hear from you, man! ·

    There is no contradiction; Mitt’s efforts are bigger and more expensive than any GOP GOTV operation in history. The physical doorstepping has been increased to levels far higher than ever before, and the phone calls somewhat higher. Most importantly, the software and support for people making phone calls has been overwhelmingly improved, meaning that people can make a huge difference in the swing states from anywhere in the country.

    A lot of this is more expensive because we haven’t done it before. The Democrats have the experience, the workforce that doesn’t need training, the union footsoldiers, and a host of other reasons that less money buys them more paid staff.

    Plus, Democrats are volunteering more. Conservatives just aren’t putting in the time. It’s heartbreaking.

    • #27
    • October 25, 2012 at 9:59 am
  28. Profile photo of bagehot99 Inactive

    Field offices don’t vote.

    • #28
    • October 25, 2012 at 10:04 am
  29. Profile photo of James Of England Moderator

    One other thing; if you watch an Obama speech at any of these events, he will always ask people to make calls and to donate. Mitt asks for support sometimes, but sometimes doesn’t even do that, and rarely gets specific about how you can support him. When he does, or when people get calls asking for donations, many conservatives treat this as weakness and recoil from it. I don’t know why Democrats respond so much better to requests for personal efforts, but it seems to be a useful thing (it was also true of all the Democrats and all the Republicans whose events I attended in 2008).

    One might have thought the TEA Part would have helped us get over it, but apparently not. One commonly held explanation is that we don’t like to be told what to do. Maybe.

    Anyway, we know that this thing is in our hands, that the margins are incredibly tight in state after state after state. If we don’t make the campaign calls, if we, individually, choose to abandon the fight or not to start it, at this time, the person to blame is ourselves.

    • #29
    • October 25, 2012 at 10:05 am
  30. Profile photo of Rick Wilson Contributor

    Peter: 

    To mangle slightly a phrase my colorful Southern grandmother was fond of, field offices are like tits on a goose: interesting, but not important.

    The Republican program springs from a more modern model: how many voter contacts are made, regardless of modality. We don’t care if they’re phones, mail, email, person-to-person, doors, etc. We’d rather, as a rule, spend money talking to voters than staffing offices and burning money on overhead. 

    The Democrat field program is, for all its trappings of modernity, still a bit of an artifact of a mid-20th century union/community activist model. Top-down, bureaucratic, trades efficiency for base-mediated rah-rah. Obama’s time as a community organizer also shaped the current system they use.

    I’m not arguing field offices are useless, just that they’re not decisive And as a metric, not terribly indicative of success. The real metrics to follow now are early and absentee votes,and net voter contacts. In those regards, we’re doing very, very well, not only in comparison to 2008, but in terms of every recent election.

    Oh, a final note: Barack Obama’s last visit to Florida was today.

    • #30
    • October 25, 2012 at 10:06 am
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