The website www.fivethirtyeight.com, which has gained a reputation this year as being very accurate regarding polls, is reporting that the Obama campaign is putting 300 paid staffers in Ohio. If this is true, this represents a huge investment of the Obama campaign's resources.
Here is a quote from the article:
Amid on the ground reports that McCain is outspending Obama on the air at least 2-1 in places like Missouri, we learn that Obama’s team is betting on a different strategy – overwhelming ground organization early and often.
In Missouri, Obama will have 150 paid organizers and maintain a 12-1 paid organizer edge in my native state. Show-me, indeed. In Michigan, Obama will put an unprecedented 150 field organizers on the ground. In Ohio, why not go for 300 field organizers? That sounds like a nice, absurdly large, round number.
The Obama campaign is betting that personal contact with voters will do more to switch votes than 30 second television ads; that voters are tired of electronic camapigning and will respond to contact with a real person. For years, organized labor has depending on ground organization to get out the vote in support of its candidates. The Bush campaign in 2004 mounted an extensive ground operation, especially among evangelical voters.
One advantage that the Obama campaign has over the McCain operation is that it is more battle-tested. Since the primary campaign with Clinton went into June, the Obama campaign was forced to keep campaigning for months after McCain had wrapped up the Republican nomination. The disadvantage was that it cost money, but the advantage was that it allowed the Obama campaign to continue to refine its operation.
There will be a lot of skeptics among the political chattering class about this tactic. These, of course, will be people who have never done what Barack Obama has done and that is take on and beat the Clintons in a political campaign. No matter who you supported in the primary season, you have to respect what the Obama campaign has accomplished to date. It has a right to be confident about its campaign strategy.