The Romney team has been exuding confidence about Iowa, although public polling has been mixed. Right Turn has obtained from an Iowa Republican a copy of a campaign memo regarding the state of early voting there. As indicated by its reference to numbers as of Oct. 30, it is the most recent assessment from the Romney team’s perspective on the race in the state that launched Barack Obama’s presidential race in 2008:
• DEM lead of more than 44 points (16.91 to 60.99%) on 9/28 collapsed to 12.27 points by 10/30, an improvement of nearly +32 net points on the margin by Republicans.
• Republicans have already turned out 128 percent of our absentee and early voters from four years ago — nine percent more than the Democrats have done.
• Republicans have cut Democrats’ historic advantage in in-person early voting by 75 percent.
• At this time four years ago, Democrats led in-person early voting 70,484 to 41,927. Not only have Republicans turned out 10,000 more early voters than we did at this time in 2008, but more than 10,000 fewer Democrats have voted – a clear sign of their depressed enthusiasm and failure of their ground game to turn their voters out.
• The Obama campaign is panicking, and you can see it in the way they are turning out their most reliable, most likely voters long before Election Day. They are using their highest propensity voters to pad their absentee and early vote numbers. Incredibly, half of Iowa Democrats who have voted in all four of the last four general elections have been made to request absentee ballots or vote early by the Obama campaign.
• The upshot is that Republicans have twice as many reliable, high propensity voters available on Election Day. Republicans already have a natural advantage on Election Day – after all, we invented the 72-Hour Program – which will only be larger in 2012 due to our record-shattering volunteer voter contact effort and the Democrats’ foolish decision to cannibalize their most reliable voters to pad their early voting figures.
• Over 1.3 million volunteer voter contacts since absentee and early vote turnout began in Iowa.
• Republicans are already over-performing their share of absentee and early votes in 86 of Iowa’s 99 counties – including critical counties like Black Hawk, Cerro Gordo, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Johnson, Linn, Marion, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Sioux, Story, Wapello, and Winneshiek.
• Republicans are even over-performing their share of ballots returned in 71 of 99 counties compared to 2004, the first time a Republican candidate carried Iowa in a presidential election since 1984, and are over-performing 2004 statewide.
An Iowa Republican tells me, “I have seen polling from a third-party group, three congressionals, our state Senate campaigns and state House campaigns — all using different pollsters, and ALL of them have Romney rising, and ALL of them have Romney with a 1 to 2 point lead.”
Perhaps Democrats have other figures, and Election Day turnout is still a question mark. but these data make for a compelling case. Moreover, it is important to remember that simply doing better than 2008 will not be enough for Republicans. Obama won Iowa by 9.5 percent in 2008, a difference of more than 146,000 votes. In other words, who shows up on Election Day in Iowa will still determine the winner.
All of that said, we certainly don’t see a surge for Obama. For months the Obama camp has been telling the press that, unlike in prior elections, undecided voters would break more heavily for the president. There is no sign that is happening, at least not yet.
For an incumbent polling below 50 percent, that may be the most worrisome part of these figures.