A Final Push To Get Out The Vote
If both campaigns are touting accurate contact numbers, the Obama campaign is indeed leading the Romney camp by a hefty margin on that count: Messina said that as of this weekend, Obama campaign volunteers have made personal contact with more than 125 million voters. (The RNC told Politico that includes unsuccessful contact attempts, such as unanswered phone calls and door knocks, in its voter contact estimate; the Obama campaign does not.)
But the Obama team stresses that, for all its impressive voter outreach stats, it's the quality, not the quantity, of contact that matters. For that reason, according to campaign officials, they've implemented a hyper-localized system in battleground states wherein volunteers work out of "staging locations," which are meant to be like smaller, super-localized field offices. The idea is that volunteers work in or near their own neighborhoods, in familiar communities, and know not only who is an undecided voter, but what issue he or she cares about most. According to the campaign, there are more than 5,000 staging locations across the battleground states, and volunteers have signed up for nearly 700,000 shifts of get out the vote efforts.
"Of course we're offering rides to the polls... of course we're making phone calls throughout the day and crossing names off our list," said the Obama campaign official. "But the advantage that we have is that hyper local approach. We know the people who will need that extra push."
The Obama campaign also touts individualized digital advertising - among which include the handful of quirky celebrity endorsements it's released on the web, most recently that of comedian Will Ferrell - smart advertising, and targeted follow-ups.
"We've built our get out the vote effort for years and it's running at full-speed today," said Jeremy Bird, on the weekend conference call. "It's the reason that President Obama will be re-elected."
The big question mark is the extent to which both campaigns are being realistic about their achievements. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a series of flawed but seemingly routine get out the vote efforts by both campaigns, and some of the Obama campaign's newest methodology has yet to be tested in a presidential election.
The RNC, for one, was particularly suspicious of the Obama campaign's assertions.
"Color us skeptical," said Kukowski, in an email blast addressing the Obama campaign's claims that it had personally contacted 125 million voters.
Ultimately, says Green, whichever party is bluffing will be revealed on election night - and not before.
"It's always unclear how much enthusiasm there actually is," he said. Nevertheless, the victorious party will almost certainly guide how all campaigns shape their efforts going forward.
"It's not just a fad to get out the vote that nobody knows how to do. It's actually a relatively well-established cause and effect relationship," he said. "There's a science to it."