Team Obama conducted nightly surveys of 9,000 likely voters in 10 battleground states. Because of those surveys, campaign manager Jim Messina told the gathering, "We thought we knew exactly where the electorate was." The campaign's targeting was so tight that national field director Jeremy Bird was able to see support slacken at Ohio State University and respond by multiplying the campaign's presence. Messina claimed, "We knew exactly who we had to go get."
The Obama campaign continually asked not only for people's votes but also for their time and engagement. Call your friends, the campaign would urge supporters, and make sure they vote for Obama, too. Digital campaign maven Teddy Goff boasted that an astounding 99 percent of the campaign email list voted.
Political consultants like to think of themselves as the secret ingredient that wins or loses races. The Obama campaign, to the contrary, depended upon volunteers and field workers. In 2008, the campaign sent out regular "state-of-the-race memos," then-campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in his book, "The Audacity to Win," because, "It could not have been more important for our supporters to understand how we saw the race and to know why their money and time were so important." The campaign saw grassroots supporters "as full partners and had designed a campaign with the belief that they could make the difference for us."
You could call the 2012 Obama operation a successful marriage of old-style ward-heeling to state-of-the-art numbers-crunching and milking social media. The journalist moderators asked Team Romney if GOP candidates would have to moderate their positions on, say, immigration, to win in 2016. Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades regretted the campaign's decision to hit Texas Gov. Rick Perry's support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants as well as Mitt Romney's call for illegal immigrants to engage in "self-deportation."
The GOP ticket's share of the Latino vote has fallen since George W. Bush won about 40 percent of that vote in 2004. John McCain garnered 31 percent of the Latino vote, Romney 27 percent.
Ron Paul adviser Trygve Olson suggested that the party might want to channel some libertarian ideas to attract enthusiastic young voters.
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