Republican Mitt Romney and allied organizations are off the airwaves in Pennsylvania’s television markets for now, raising questions about how much the challenger is willing to contend for its 20 electoral votes.
And yet Romney and his allies with the Republican National Committee are reaching out to voters in Pennsylvania (and other swing states) with a ground game that is far more intensive than the party was able to muster in support of John McCain four years ago.
So far, Romney volunteers have made nearly two million voter contacts by phone call and door-to-door canvassing, said Kate Meriwether, state spokeswoman for the Romney campaign. She said that 250,000 of those contacts had been door knocks.
That was nine times more phone calls and 64 times more door visits than the John McCain campaign had managed in Pennsylvania within two weeks of election day 2008, Meriwether said.
Last Saturday, which was the monthly “Super Saturday” for the Romney GOTV effort, volunteers knocked on about 50,000 doors and made more than 130,000 phone calls.
On Wednesday, the state’s top Republicans, Gov. Corbett and Sen. Pat Toomey, said that they believe Pennsylvania is competitive despite what the polls have said.
“My sense is that the polls reported on in the press diverged completely from the polls I had internally,” Toomey said in a conference call with reporters. “I am just skeptical of the polling data I have seen.”
Corbett said that private GOP polls, which he did not detail, “ lead me to believe that this race is much closer” than the 7.7 percentage point advantage Obama enjoyed in the average of all public Pennsylvania polls compiled by the Real Clear Politics website.
The governor also suggested that voters are inured to 30-second spots. “Television ads have been on in this race for over a year now – a lot of people see (an) ad and turn it right off,” Corbett said.
“If we keep our head down and keep hitting these numbers, it’s going to be a real shock to Team Obama in late October,” Meriwether said.