"We're Gonna Surprise You"
In a conference call, Sen. Claire McCaskill plays the expectation game, spinning that John McCain is the one actually losing ground in the Show-Me State.
CONFIDENCE IN THE GROUND GAME
State Director Buffy Wicks rattles off a slew of numbers to demonstrate the Obama ground game, in an effort to beat back the perception that Missouri may be slipping away from the Democratic nominee.
The call comes at a time when Obama has lost tracking in national polls, and when the most recent poll shows him down 5 points in Missouri.
Sen. Claire McCaskill warned reporters against assuming that Barack Obama can't win Missouri Friday and claimed that John McCain should be holding a bigger lead right now.
McCaskill made the comments in a conference call with reporters, in an effort to remind the media that Obama shouldn't be counted out in the Show-Me State. The call was also designed to showcase Team Obama's confidence in their groundgame effort with workers and volunteers.
"You'd think the polls would be going up, instead you see the polls going in the opposite direction," McCaskill said. "John McCain is losing ground."
But a look at the most recent polls taken in Missouri show McCain's lead has stayed relatively stable. Five out of the last six polls taken show that McCain has lead Obama by 5 or 6 points. Just one poll, by Public Policy Polling, gave McCain a 10-point advantage. A Rasmussen survey out Friday puts McCain up by 5 and the Real Clear Politics average gives McCain a 6.6% edge.
"He's been up as high as 7, 10 even 14," McCaskill said. "McCain has been in double-digits," she added, trying to raise the question of why McCain is losing ground.
When asked to provide any empirical example of how Obama is closing the gap, McCaskill said there has been "a lot of polling available to us, and not the public" in recent weeks. "I'm so proud the polling is closing in our favor. All of you thinking Barack Obama can't win Missouri, we're going to surprise you," McCaskill said.
THE GROUND GAME
Obama National Field Director Jon Carson said be believes the strongest factor in why someone may vote for his candidate is what they hear from neighbors. "Word of mouth, one-on-one conversations," Carson said. He called Missouri "one of the most important states," and added that they've sent some of the best field staffers to work here.
State Director Buffy Wicks said that they are basing their turnout projections on the 2000 presidential race and not 2004, because four years ago John Kerry pulled out of the state with three weeks to go, "and that's something we won't be doing in this state."
Wicks explained that each neighborhood in the state has five Obama volunteers that manages 8 to 12 precincts. Wicks said right now Obama's Missouri campaign has about 2,000 volunteers serving as team leaders. She said volunteers hit 30,000 doors statewide this past weekend alone. She also said the goal of Team Obama is to register 75,000 new voters in Missouri. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has reported 200,000 new voters have registered so far. Wicks thinks that's a good sign for Democrats. "We're not ceding any ground in this state at all. We're borrowing Sen. McCaskill's 2006 strategy. Of our 40 offices statewide, 27 serve rural communities," Wicks said.
It's clear that Obama has a larger, more sophisticated and more aggressive operation throughout Missouri. The question is how many points its worth to him come election day.