Rick Davis, Campaign Manager
October 31, 2008
The Final Push
The State of the Campaign
If your television is tuned…
…to cable news as frequently as ours are here at campaign headquarters, you have seen the pundits say John McCain and his campaign are done. And, if you’ve followed this race since the beginning, this is clearly a song you’ve heard before. I wanted to take some time today to give you some insight on the state of the race as we see it.
An AP poll released this morning revealed a very telling fact: ONE out of every SEVEN voters is undecided. That means, if 130 million voters turn out on Tuesday, 18.5 million of them have yet to make up their mind. With that many votes on the table and the tremendous movement we’ve seen in this race, I believe we are in a very competitive campaign.
All the major polls have shown a tightening in the race and a significant narrowing of the numbers. In John McCain’s typical pattern, he is closing strong and surprising the pundits. We believe this race is winnable, and if the trajectory continues, we will surpass the 270 Electoral votes needed on Election Night.
National Polls: Major polls last week showed John McCain trailing by double-digit margins – but by the middle of this week, we were within the margin of error on four national tracking surveys. In fact, the Gallup national tracking survey showed the race in a virtual tie 2 days this week.
Iowa – Our numbers in Iowa have seen a tremendous surge in the past 10 days. We took Obama’s lead from the double digits to a very close race. That is why you see Barack Obama visiting the state in the final days, trying to stem his losses. It is too little, too late. Like many other Midwestern states, Iowa is moving swiftly into McCain’s column.
The Southwest – It is no secret that Republican candidates in the Southwest have to focus on winning over enough Latino and Hispanic voters in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado to carry them to victory. John McCain has overcome challenges Republicans face, and has made up tremendous ground in these states with these voters. For these voters, the choice has become clear, and you have seen a big change in the numbers. John McCain is now winning enough voters to perform within the margin of error – putting these states within reach.
Colorado – Barack Obama tried to outspend our campaign in Colorado during the early weeks of October and finish off our candidate in Colorado. However, after our visit early this week, we saw a tremendous rebound in our poll position, and Colorado is back on the map.
Ohio and Pennsylvania – Everyone knows that vote rich Ohio and Pennsylvania will be key battlegrounds for this election. Between the two: 41 electoral votes and no candidate has gotten to the White House without Ohio. Senator McCain and Governor Palin have been campaigning non-stop in these key battleground states and tonight Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has pumped up our campaign at a rally in Columbus. Our position in these states is strong and undecided voters continue to have a very favorable impression of our candidate.
Obama campaign faces tremendous structural challenges in the final days of this campaign
Obama has a challenge hitting 50%: Barack Obama has not reached the 50% threshold in almost any the battleground state. He consistently is performing in the 45-48% range. When we look closely at the primary votes, we see a history of a candidate whose Election Day performance is often at or behind his final polling numbers. If this is true, our surge will leave Obama with even or under 50% of the vote on Election Day.
Early Vote: The Obama campaign has promised that their early vote and absentee efforts will change the composition of the electorate. They have sold the press on a story that first time voters will turn out in droves this election cycle. Again, the facts undermine their argument. In our analysis of early voting and absentee votes to date: The composition of the electorate has not changed significantly and most folks who have voted early are high propensity voters who would have voted regardless of the high interest in this campaign.
Expanding the Field: Obama is running out of states if you follow out a traditional model. Today, he expanded his buy into North Dakota, Georgia and Arizona in an attempt to widen the playing field and find his 270 Electoral Votes. This is a very tall order and trying to expand into new states in the final hours shows he doesn’t have the votes to win.
The Final Barnstorm
On Monday, we will have a 14 state rally with our candidates crisscrossing the country trying to turn out our voters and sway the final undecided voters. Governor Palin will hit Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and Alaska in the final day of campaigning, while Senator McCain will travel from Tampa, Florida, to Virginia, then Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico, Nevada and finish the night in Prescott, Arizona. The enthusiasm and excitement we generate on Monday will be the electricity that powers our “Get Out the Vote” efforts on Tuesday.
On the Ground
Our field organization has tremendous energy and is out-performing the Bush campaign at the same time in 2004. This week our field organization crossed a huge threshold and began reaching more than one million voters per day, and by week’s end will have contacted more than 5 million voters. Our phone centers are full and our rate of voter contact is significantly out-pacing the Bush campaign in 2004. We have the resources to do the voter contact necessary to support the surge we are seeing in our polling with old fashioned grassroots outreach.
On the Airwaves
In the final days of the campaign, our television presence will be bigger and broader than the Obama campaign’s presence. The full Republican effort – the RNC’s Independent Expenditure and the McCain campaign will out-buy Barack Obama and the Democrats by just about 10 million dollars.
In short: the McCain campaign is surging in the final 72 hours. Our grassroots campaign is vibrant and communicating to voters in a very powerful way. Our television presence is strong. And, we have a secret ingredient – A candidate who will never quit and who will never stop fighting for you and for your families.
In these final hours, Senator McCain and Governor Palin are counting on you – they are counting on you to knock on doors, to make turnout calls, to contact your friends and neighbors. Get our voters to the polls and help John McCain fight for your and for our country. This is our last mission on behalf of John McCain and I have no doubt I can count on your effort and energy to carry us across the line to victory.