Early Voting: The View from the Obama Campaign and the Democrats
see also: The View from the Romney Campaign and the Republicans

MEMO from Democratic National Committee


TO:        Interested Parties
FROM: Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director, Democratic National Committee
DATE:  October 25, 2012
RE:        GOP Ground Game Bluff
Now that early voting has begun in many battleground states, Republicans are in full spin mode trying to overplay their hand and shape a narrative that puts them ahead of Democrats in the ground game contest.
To that end, the RNC released a misleading memo Tuesday on where the Presidential contest stands when it comes to early voting.
Like Mitt Romney’s tax plan – the early vote numbers from the GOP just don’t add up.
For example, when the GOP talks about early voting they are referring only to early vote in person and do not account for the fact that Democrats currently enjoy solid leads when early vote by mail is also included.  In Iowa data shows Democrats leading 45% to 30% in vote by mail requests, ahead by 18 points in returned mail ballots and outperforming Republicans by 15 points in total ballots cast.  Polling from NBC/WSJ and PPP show Democrats ahead 35 points and 29 points respectively among Iowans who have already cast a ballot either in person or by mail.
When the truth just isn’t in their favor, Republicans are choosing to make up numbers that fit the false narrative showing Mitt Romney ahead.  Republicans contend that Democrats have seen a 65% drop this year in our margin among Iowa early voters when compared to a similar period in 2008, resulting in a net swing for Republicans of 1.65%. 
Left unexplained by the GOP is how a 65% collapse in Democratic margin would result in only a meager 1.65 percentage point gain for Republicans.
But the GOP math isn’t just fuzzy in Iowa.  Public polling from several battleground contests all refute GOP assertions that they are outperforming Democrats in early voting.  Every single poll gauging support among those that have voted early and requested ballots in battleground states show President Obama and Democrats ahead as is evidenced by the charts below:
Polling Among People Who Say They Have Already Voted
(WI: Also Includes Those Who Say They Will Vote Early)  
State Pollster Dates Obama/Romney Margin
FL Mellman Oct 18-21 50/45 +5
IA PPP Oct 18-19 64/35 +29
IA NBC/WSJ/Marist Oct 15-17 67/32 +35
NV PPP Oct 22-24 61/39 +22
NV ARG Oct 19-22 57/43 +14
OH Time Oct 22-23 60/30 +30
OH PPP Oct 18-20 66/34 +32
OH CBS/Quinnipiac Oct 17-20 54/39 +15
OH SurveyUSA Oct 20-22 58/39 +18
OH Rasmussen Oct 23 53/43 +10
WI NBC/WSJ/Marist Oct 15-17 64/35 +29
Total Ballots Cast (Mail and In-Person)  
State D R Difference
CO 120,429 126,026 R +5,597
FL 362,384 413,644 R +51,260
IA 169,162 113,576 D +55,586
MI* 258,572 129,679 D +128,893
NC 412,144 243,750 D +168,394
NV 92,248 70,752 D +21,496
OH* 408,788 355,388 D +53,400
VA* 91,468 76,434 D +15,034
WI* 45,734 19,157 D +26,577
Total 1,960,929 1,548,406 D +412,523
*Note: Voters in MI, OH, VA and WI do not register with a party when they register to vote.  ‘D’ and ‘R’ in these states are defined as voters from precincts won by Obama/GOP in 2008.
Absentee Ballot Requests  
State D R Difference
CO 692,288 701,317 R +9,029
FL 1,008,962 1,046,119 R +37,157
IA 192,821 129,771 D +63,050
MI* 596,206 282,780 D +313,426
NC 58,185 105,780 R +47,595
NV 29,344 29,106 D +238
OH* 624,078 615,075 D +9,003
VA* 82,426 75,900 D +6,526
WI* 84,069 37,386 D +46,683
Total 3,368,379 3,023,234 D +345,145
*Note: Voters in MI, OH, VA and WI do not register with a party when they register to vote.  ‘D’ and ‘R’ in these states are defined as voters from precincts won by Obama/GOP in 2008.
-      Among non-midterm voters, Democrats lead Republicans 33% to 23% in mail ballot requests (211,069 to 145,021), 37% to 28% in mail ballots cast (18,678 to 13,857), 36% to 28% in in-person ballots cast (2,884 to 2,294) and 37% to 28% in total ballots cast (21,562 to 16,151)
-      The GOP’s traditional absentee ballot request advantage is down 86% compared with this time four years ago from 261,479 to just 37,157– a Democratic gain of D +224,322 ballots
-      Note that in 2008, Democrats won Florida by 3 points (D 51.0 to R 48.2)
-      Democrats lead Republicans in early voting: D 169,162 (47%) vs. R 113,576 (32%)
-      Democrats’ lead is up 14% compared with this time four years ago (increased from D +48,581 to D +55,586)
-      Democrats lead Republicans on every metric and with every group – ballots requested, ballots cast, in-person, mail, midterm voters and non-midterm voters
-      Note that in 2008, Democrats won Iowa by 9.5 points (D 53.9 to R 44.4)
-      Precincts that voted for Obama in 2008 are out-voting Republican precincts by a 67% to 33% margin (D 258,572 vs. R 129,679)
-      In ballot requests, Obama precincts lead GOP precincts 68% to 32% (D 596,206 to R 282,780)
-      Democrats lead Republicans 51% to 30% in early voting (D 412,144 to R 243,750)
-      Democrats lead Republicans on every metric: mail ballots requested (D 29,344 to R 29,106), mail ballots returned (D 12,861 to R 12,294), in-person early voting (D 79,387 to R 58,458) and total ballots cast (D 92,248 to R 70,752)
-      There is no party registration in Ohio, but counties and precincts that Obama won in 2008 are voting early at a higher rate than GOP counties and precincts
-      In counties that Obama won in 2008, 10% of registered voters have already cast ballots.  In GOP counties, only 7% of registered voters have cast ballots
-      Voters from precincts that voted for Obama in 2008 have cast 408,788 ballots (53%) in 2012 compared with just 355,388 ballots (47%) from GOP precincts
-      The difference (D +53,400) is 80% higher than the difference at this time four years ago (D +29,706)
-      There is no party registration in Virginia, but counties and precincts that Obama won in 2008 are voting early at a higher rate than GOP counties and precincts
-      In counties that Obama won in 2008, 3.4% of registered voters have already voted.  In GOP counties, only 2.8% of registered voters have voted so far
-      Obama precincts have cast 91,468 ballots (54%) to date compared with just 76,434 (46%) for GOP precincts
Even for a campaign that said it wouldn’t be dictated to by facts, the RNC is hard-pressed in making a credible case that they are winning the ground war in this election.
From the very beginning of this campaign, Democrats have made clear we would invest heavily in standing up the largest grassroots effort in history to mobilize our supporters to the polls and lay out the strong contrast between President Obama’s vision for a stronger middle class and the top down failed economic policies of the past Republicans and Mitt Romney want to return the country too.
We understood that our success resided in grassroots people power – not the special interest dominated campaign of our opponents.  With just 12 days to go until Election Day our investment is paying off and the American people are choosing to support President Obama’s vision for a stronger middle class built from the middle out and not the top down.

BLOG POSTING from Obama for America
October 24, 2012

Inside the early vote numbers
By Jeremy Bird, National Field Director
Our campaign is about inclusiveness, and we’ve always been focused on bringing new people into the process. As our supporters vote early in huge numbers around the country, we have the perfect example: we’re turning out voters who have been traditionally less likely to participate, sometimes called “sporadic” voters.
A common misconception about early vote is that both parties have a set number of voters, and all early vote does is let some of them cast their ballots before Election Day. That’s simply not true. What early vote does is help us mobilize sporadic voters by giving them more time and more convenient ways to make their voices heard. It also broadens the universe of voters and frees up more of our get-out-the-vote resources later, especially on Election Day. When you look inside the numbers so far, among sporadic voters it’s not even close.
More sporadic Obama voters are voting than sporadic Republicans in the battleground states. Along with the more than 20,000 people who came out to see the President yesterday in Ohio and Florida after he dominated the final debate, these trends are a sign both of enthusiasm for President Obama and our organizational strength.
Here are some numbers illustrating the progress we’re making:
Non-Midterm Voters: Across nine battleground states, Democrats have a 19.7 point advantage in ballots cast among non-midterm voters. More than half (51.5 percent) of non-midterm voters who have voted already are Democrats, while fewer than a third (just 31.8 percent) are Republicans.
For example, in North Carolina, 51.5 percent of those who have already voted are Democrats, compared with just 25.1 percent who are Republicans. That’s a major advantage. And among these non-midterm voters who have voted in North Carolina so far, 87 percent of them are youth (under 35), African-American, Latino or new registrants (registered after the 2008 election).
All Voters: Among all voters, Democrats have a 10.7 point advantage over Republicans. Just under half (49.6 percent) of voters who have cast ballots are Democrats, while just 38.9 percent are Republicans. In the only two states--Colorado and Florida--where Republicans lead right now in total ballots cast, Democrats are cutting into traditional Republican leads there; we’re doing better today than at this point in 2008. And once in-person early voting is included (it just started in Colorado on Monday and starts in Florida this weekend), Democrats will take the lead.
The plan we’ve been building from the beginning is modeled exactly for this – to broaden the electorate, and make sure as many Americans as possible have a chance to take part in this historic election. That’s why we’ve spent years building neighborhood teams that are stronger than last-minute, turnkey phone-bank operations. Our volunteer leaders will be getting  the people in their precincts  to the polls because they’ve registered them, called them, went to their doors – because they know them.
Overall, we’re winning early vote in the battleground states that will decide this election – a key part of our plan to get to 270 electoral votes. We’re outperforming our early vote margins in key states compared to 2008, and we’re ahead of where we were against John McCain – and most importantly, ahead of Mitt Romney.
You can’t fake a real ground game, and you can’t underestimate early vote. When more people get to vote, it’s a good thing.

MEMO from Obama for America Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CONTACT: Obama for America Iowa Press 

DES MOINES – Today Obama for America Iowa released a memo from State Director Brad Anderson highlighting our recent early voting accomplishments in Iowa.
Memo from Brad Anderson, Iowa State Director re: Early Voting in Iowa
The day after a strong final debate performance, Democrats are building upon the historic grassroots organization we built in Iowa in 2008, including our 67 Obama for America offices and hundreds of well-trained, experienced volunteer-led neighborhood teams in every corner of the state. As a result of that strong foundation and enthusiasm for President Obama, today we are ahead of where we were at this time against John McCain – and ahead of Mitt Romney. Unprecedented early voting numbers show enthusiasm for the President and the strength of OFA’s organization, while Republicans were caught completely unprepared for early voting.
Iowa Democrats Maintain a Significant Lead in Early Voting
·         Topline: Democrats have a huge lead in early voting, and that lead is growing every day.  Ten days ago, for example, Democrats led by D +52,681 in total ballots cast, and today that advantage has increased to D +54,968.
·         Winning Across the Board: Democrats lead on every early vote metric - Vote by Mail requests, mail ballots returned, in-person ballots cast and total ballots cast
  D R Margin
Vote by Mail Requests 188,359 125,148 D +63,211
Mail Ballots Returned 123,134 75,452 D +47,682
In-Person Ballots Cast 36,668 29,382 D +7,286
Total Ballots Cast 159,802 104,834 D +54,968
  D R Margin
Vote by Mail Requests 45.6% 30.3% D +15.3
Mail Ballots Returned 49.6% 30.4% D +19.2
In-Person Ballots Cast 41.9% 33.6% D +8.3
Total Ballots Cast 47.6% 31.2% D +16.4
·         Winning by More than 2008: In 2008, Barack Obama won Iowa by 9.5 percentage points.  At this time in 2008, we led by D +57,004 in mail ballot requests, D +29,513 in mail ballots returned and 44,686 in total ballots cast.  Our early vote advantage this year is bigger than it was at the same time in 2008.
·         Snapshot: In-Person Early Vote
o   Democrats are leading Republicans 36,668 to 29,382 in in-person early vote.
o   Students are voting early in record numbers, including 477 students voting at Cornell following the President’s speech on October 17th – 1/3 of the student body. 
·         Registration:  One of the untold stories of the ground game in Iowa is OFA’s historic voter registration effort this year.  Democrats lead Republicans in registered voters by D +17,486 (D 689,794 vs. R 672,308).  In the last three months alone, 16,257 registered Democrats were added to the rolls compared with just 2,428 Republicans.  As a result, the Democratic registration advantage increased from D +3,657 in August to D +17,486 today.  The Democratic advantage continues to grow every single day as new voters register, and will continue growing right up through Election Day. Since August, Democrats have added 22,406 active voters to the rolls and Republicans have added just 5,924.
Why OFA’s Ground Game Matters
·         OFA Iowa has 67 offices across the state, with hundreds of trained team leaders, leading thousands of volunteers.  OFA has volunteers in all 99 counties.
·         Democrats are winning the battle for early non-midterm voters.  Democrats lead Republicans among non-midterm voters in mail ballots requested, total ballots cast, mail ballots cast and in-person ballots cast.
Among Non-Midterm Voters Only
  D R Margin
Vote by Mail Requests 59,336 27,778 D +31,558
Mail Ballots Returned 27,115 12,798 D +14,317
In-Person Ballots Cast 8,823 4,092 D +4,731
Total Ballots Cast 35,938 16,890 D +19,048
  D R Margin
Vote by Mail Requests 43.4% 20.3% D +23.1
Mail Ballots Returned 46.1% 21.8% D +24.4
In-Person Ballots Cast 40.3% 18.7% D +21.6
Total Ballots Cast 44.5% 20.9% D +23.6
The Romney Campaign is Struggling in Iowa
·         “I see the early vote numbers, and I grimace a little bit. … It feels like an Obama state.” – former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson. [National Journal, 9/21/12]
·         Recent GOP early vote numbers do not show momentum, they simply show that the Romney campaign did a mass, “1-million person” mailing, according to GOP Romney operative Matt Strawn. 
·         Early Republicans tried to push early voting as Rep. Paul Ryan reminded Iowans during an event in September.  Iowa Republican operative Matt Strawn told a reporter in September, “Anybody that tells one of our volunteers that they’re supporting Mitt Romney, you bet we want that vote cast as soon as possible.”  Yet as numbers started to show a large gap between Democrats and Republicans the change their message as Megan Stiles- Communications Director for the Republican Party of Iowa said on October 1st, “Republicans tend to actually prefer to go to the polls and pull the lever so to speak on Election Day.”