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Mitt Romney Looks to Close Ground-Game Gap

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Romney’s social media outreach has also been integrated with the campaign’s ground game, which is run in concert with the Republican National Committee. 

Campaign aides for Romney and the RNC are excited because they believe their ability to locate demographic and issue blocs of sympathetic voters and turn them out — without accidentally pitching and turning out voters inclined to support Obama — has been refined to the point where it’s close to error-free. Beeson likened the campaign’s microtargeting to being able to isolate grains of sand, saying they have “never had the level of granularity we have now.”

Conceding that Romney is fielding a more effective turnout operation than McCain, the Obama campaign said there’s no way Republicans could replicate the president’s effort, given that they built theirs in less than a year. Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said Chicago spent the several months Romney and the RNC were ramping up keeping a “conversation going with undecided voters,” and he said that would make a difference Nov. 6.

“It’s one thing for the Romney campaign to build a turnkey turnout operation in the states, especially compared to the minimal field organization Republicans mustered in 2008, but they missed the biggest window for persuading undecided voters and will now be playing catch-up,” Fetcher said Wednesday.

Fetcher declined to comment on the Romney campaign’s claims that its Facebook and Twitter followers are more engaged than Obama’s. But some digital strategists questioned Boston’s argument that higher engagement rates compensate for having fewer followers. Additionally, not all digital consultants approved of the Romney campaign’s Internet advertising strategy, saying Obama’s broader online presence could pay dividends.

The Obama campaign dismissed figures on voter contacts that are regularly released by the RNC, suggesting that the numbers are manipulated and that in any event, a contact doesn’t equal a vote. The RNC’s latest numbers claim 35 million voter contacts, including nearly 2.5 million alone last Saturday, with 30,000 volunteers participating on that single day. 

Republicans lead among early vote ballot requests in Colorado 35.1 percent to 33.5 percent; in North Carolina 52.01 percent to 26.86 percent; and in Florida 43.4 percent to 38.97 percent. The Obama campaign has helped Democrats maintain their voter registration edge in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania. 

And in Iowa, Democrats are handily winning the early vote battle, leading Republicans by 46,000 in ballots mailed in; by 3,700 in in-person votes and by 67,000 in total ballots requested.

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