Friday, October 24, 2008

Plouffe quietly confident

Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe had one of his periodic talks with reporters about his assessment of the state of the race. Halperin reports that Plouffe believes McCain's challenges in Pennsylvania are daunting:
The Obama camp manager says McCain would have to win 15% of the Democratic vote, 95% of the Republican and 60% of the independent vote to take the battleground.
Scott Helman of outlines a number of points from the conversation, including this one:
The campaign believes it can hold all the states John Kerry won in 2004, and that Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, and Virginia (all states Bush won) may be in the bag. They like their position in Nevada, Ohio, and Florida, and believe they could also pull off wins in Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Montana, and West Virginia.
It sounds like they have put together tiers of probable wins. If this is the case, it seems the tiers are these; note that Tier One is sufficient to win the presidency:

Tier One (Most Likely)
Kerry States
New Mexico

Tier Two

Tier Three
North Carolina
West Virginia

I'm glad that, given their insider knowledge, they seem to have relatively high hopes for Ohio and Florida. With all the attention we've been paying to it, I think it's interesting that they should place North Carolina in the same category as Indiana, Montana, and West Virginia. I have been thinking it was in the same category as Nevada, so I wonder if this is a signal from the campaign that our hopes for the Tar Heel state have dimmed a little.

Helman also says that Plouffe made these points:
-- Obama's unprecedented groud organization claims 1.5 million active volunteers and 770 offices across the country.

-- Since Labor Day alone, the campaign says it has had conversations with 1.3 million voters in Florida, and 1.5 million Ohioans.

-- Those big crowds Obama keeps drawing? Well, they're not just listening. They're being put to work. Out of the roughly 120,000 people who came to see Obama and his wife this week in Florida, for example, the campaign says it got 40,000 volunteer shifts covered.
Reading between the lines, it seems to me that Plouffe is hinting we're meeting our goals for volunteers and voter contacts.

Finally, Helman says that Plouffe made this observation:
The early voting numbers favor Obama in a host of important states, with Democrats voting at higher rates than they did in 2004. And many of them are new voters: The campaign says that 20 percent of all Democrats who have voted by mail in Colorado have never voted in a general election, and that 18 percent of Democrats voting early in North Carolina are new voters. The takeaway: Democrats are voting early in greater numbers, and many of them are first-timers, suggesting that there will still be plenty of more practiced Democrats to cast ballots on Nov. 4.
To be honest, of everything he said, I think this may be the most important insider information. If underperforming voters are voting en masse and early, we're going to be very happy on November 4.


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