Mitt Romney trails President Obama in a new Washington Post poll of Virginia voters, but the former Massachusetts governor does appear to have neutralized a key Obama advantage from 2008: on-the-ground organization.
Both the Romney and Obama campaigns have contacted about one in three voters asking them for their vote via telephone, face to face or online, according to the Post-ABC poll. Toward the end of the 2008 campaign, Obama amassed a 17 percentage-point advantage over McCain on voter contacts, 48 to 31 percent in an October Post poll (the 2008 poll did not ask about online contacts).
Are all of these contacts by the two campaigns having an impact? Ninety-four percent of registered voters contacted by either campaign say they’re “absolutely certain to vote” in November, compared with 84 percent of those who haven’t been contacted.
Romney will need to do more than match Obama’s ground game to overcome his current eight-point deficit in the state - most notably among women where he is losing by 19 points. Nevertheless, the parity in voter outreach demonstrates that Romney’s campaign has learned a clear lesson from 2008, one that will likely pay dividends if the race is close.