For the first time since monster storm Sandy threatened the northeast, the Presidential campaigns are back in full-swing. All the major players are in battleground states with the exception of President Obama who continues to visit the areas affected by storm damage from Sandy.
Mitt Romney is campaigning in Florida with Governor Jeb Bush while Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan is campaigning in Wisconsin. Romney and Ryan are hoping to capitalize on their accelerating momentum evident in recent battleground and independent voter polls.
Former President Bill Clinton is stumping for Obama in Iowa and Joe Biden is holding events in Florida hoping to stem the tide of likely voters moving towards Romney in the final days of the campaign.
The Obama campaign has spent tremendous amounts of time and money to get the Democratic base to the polls early while the Romney camp has focused on getting not-so-committed voters to vote in early polls. The effect these two different techniques has on the election may be critical.
By pulling in his most-committed voters for the early vote, Obama is front-loading his base to pad his early vote numbers. While this will pad early voter totals, it leaves the campaign hoping that less-motivated voters turn out for long lines on election day. The tactic is likely an attempt to create a false wave for bandwagon voters to jump into. Obama hasn’t seen any positive momentum in months and may be working to create the appearance of a turn-around in the week before the election.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has been working to get under-motivated voters to the polls for early voting. Shorter lines and the choice of several days to avoid inclimate weather give those voters fewer reasons to avoid the polls. Romney’s approach seems to be hinging on the idea that his base will turn out on election day no matter what, but others may not.
So far, Obama’s strategy is scoring him some numbers in Iowa – but, that’s it. Nationwide, Romney has a 51% to 46% likely voter advantage vs. Obama according to Gallup. In Ohio, the early voting numbers are about even between Republicans and Democrats and recent polls show Romney taking a slight lead in the Buckeye state by a 50% to 48% margin.
According to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, voter registration totals as of October 22nd were 626,508 Republican, 621,401 Democrat and 686,649 unaffiliated. The largest voting block in the Hawkeye state is independents among whom Romney leads Obama by 16-20 points in recent polls. The Iowa Secretary of State’s office is also reporting that 531,996 people had voted through October 30th with Democrats casting 43.7% of the ballots vs. 32.2% by Republicans and 24% Independents. The totals show that 232,462 Democrats, 171,272 and 127,620 Independents have voted so far. That leaves a much larger contingent of likely Romney voters yet to vote in the 2012 election. With up to 20% of independents leaning to Romney, the race in Iowa is still quite close and tipping towards Romney as election day approaches.
Romney’s momentum is carrying into early voting and voter enthusiasm is clearly in his favor, but the election will only go his way if all of the likely voters show up to vote.