Please Help Indiana's Democrats!

If there's anything that Hillary voters, Edwards voters, Obama voters and all other Democrats can agree on, it's that we need more and better Democrats in office throughout the nation.  This year, we have a huge chance to change the face of Indiana for the next decade.

In 2008, Barack Obama is going to make a real play for Indiana.  He's in the process of opening two dozen campaign offices.  He's running ad after ad.  He's leading John McCain in public polling.  Indiana Democrats stand to benefit from his organizing in the state.

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McCain's Organization Gap Persists

There has been a good deal of talk about the enthusiasm gap facing John McCain, which potentially makes it significantly more difficult for him to be able to keep the White House in Republican hands this fall. But as important, or even perhaps more important, is the substantial organizing gap his campaign faces.

I have noted that the Obama campaign is on track to have something like ten times as many organizers in Missouri as the McCain campaign -- a number that underscores why this year the state looks more purple than red. The numbers around the country don't look too different. Here's the The Indianapolis Star:

The election is four months away, but for now the score in Indiana is Barack Obama, 6; John McCain, 0.

Zero campaign offices, that is.

Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has opened five campaign offices -- in Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Muncie and South Bend -- and will open a sixth in Bloomington on Monday.

Jonathan Swain, a spokesman for Obama's campaign in Indiana, said plans are to have 25 to 30 campaign offices in the state.

It's part of a push by Obama to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Indiana's electoral votes since Lyndon Johnson did so in 1964.

Here's Marc Ambinder:

A Michigan source sends along a memo from the Obama campaign's Michigan state director, Amy Chapman -- an "update," she calls it, on what the campaign is doing. And what they are doing is bringing jobs to Michigan:

To date, the campaign has hired more than 90 paid staffers and plans to hire another 80 by the national convention. There will be five full-time "constituency voter coordinators" who work with coalitions and affinity groups, like women, gays and veterans. All in all, the campaign plans to pay more than 200 people in Michigan. That's about twice as many staffers as the Kerry-Edwards effort did in 2004.

And here's what's happening in Florida from The Orlando Sentinel:

John McCain's Florida problems may be growing: Democratic voters have out-registered Republicans by a nearly 7-to-1 margin since January.

State totals show Democrats gained a net of 106,508 voters from January through May, compared with 16,686 for the GOP -- a shift that could muddle any McCain campaign math that banks on a Florida win to gain the White House.

New Democratic registration outnumbered Republicans in six Central Florida counties -- even heavily Republican Seminole County.

There's a reason why polling out of a state like South Dakota, which the Republicans tend to win by about 20 points in presidential elections, shows Obama within 4 points. There's a reason why the polling in Indiana, a state that the Democrats haven't carried in more than 40 years, shows Obama tied or leading. Organization matters. Having boots on the ground moves numbers. And for as effective as television ads are, as well as a national media strategy, having actual people actually meet voters makes a difference.

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Governor rankings: Four races stay heated, but only one toss-up remains


The 2008 gubernatorial races were never meant to be the cycle's most suspenseful contests, but my March ratings found that the top four races had gotten unexpectedly more competitive, with three making their way to the toss-up rating. Yet, things have quieted down over the past few months. For one, heated Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina were resolved and it will take some time before the general election in these states reaches full speed. Meanwhile, Missouri's Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon is expanding his lead over his two potential opponents in what is looking like it could be a runaway race.

Originally posted on Campaign Diaries.

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IN-Pres: Campaigning Matters

When news emerged that the Obama campaign was running ads in and sending a key staffer to Indiana, the first reaction from some was that this might be a "head-fake" designed to trick the McCain campaign into wasting resources in a state that will likely follow its tradition in 2008 by voting GOP on the presidential level. Maybe not. Here's SurveyUSA:

In an election today in Indiana, Barack Obama takes 48% of the vote, John McCain 47% of the vote -- a statistical tie -- according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WHAS-TV Louisville and WCPO-TV Cincinnati. Obama's 1-point lead is within the survey's 4 percentage point margin of sampling error, and these results should be reported as a tie. Among men, McCain leads by 5; among women, Obama leads by 7 -- a 12-point gender gap. Among voters age 18 to 49, Obama leads by 5; among voters 50+, McCain leads by 3. Obama leads by 22 points among voters under age 35. 16% of Republicans cross over to vote for Democrat Obama; 19% of Democrats cross over to vote for Republican McCain; Independents favor Obama by 7 points. Among those voters who say they have already made up their minds, the two candidates are tied; among the 25% who say they could still change their mind, Obama leads by 2.

Think this poll is a mere aberration, an outlier that shows Obama unusually and incorrectly strong in his neighboring state of Indiana? The trend estimate, which tracks all of the recent polling from the state, doesn't, showing Obama leading by an average of 48 percent to 47 percent. Neither does Real Clear Politics, which shows Obama up 47.0 percent to 46.5 percent, or Five Thirty Eight, which shows Obama up 46.5 percent to 45.4 percent and gives the Illinois Democrat at 55 percent shot of carrying Indiana (a state it now calls a "tossup").

These numbers underscore a couple of important points. First, the maps from previous years cannot be taken for granted as the starting point for this fall's election. They just can't. The country has changed and moved a significant amount during the last four years, and the internal politics in a number of states have shifted dramatically during this time (think states like Ohio and New Hampshire tending to move towards the Democrats, or a state like Louisiana moving towards the GOP). Second, campaigning matters. Nate Silver suggests this point as one explanation for the latest Indiana numbers: "Apart from Obama being a Midwesterner, the explanation for his results in Indiana may be as simple as this: the Democrats had never really bothered to compete in the state before, until the presence of an important primary there forced them to." That's spot on. You campaign somewhere, you move numbers (but not necessarily always upwards -- see: Rudy Giuliani). If you cower away and refuse to play in states you think you'll lose, you're going to lose those states.

Does this mean that Obama has Indiana in the bag because he waged a competitive primary there, because he has sent a top political staffer there, and he is willing to invest advertising dollars there? No. But at the same time, the Obama campaign has now put Indiana, a state the Democrats last carried during the 1964 presidential election and only won four times during the 20th century, into play, a big achievement that almost undoubtedly increases his shot at winning the White House come November.

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SUSA Indiana: Obama 48 McCain 47

That according to a poll just released.

As a stalwart republican state, Obama having any lead in the state at all bodes very well. I wouldn't rule out his taking  the state, although I think it more likely he ends up about 3-5 points behind.

Nevertheless, a most encouraging result. No let's hope SUSA doesn't get in too much trouble for robopolling in Indiana, where the practice is legally forbidden.

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