Both sides agree the 2012 presidential election has the potential to be a nail biter. In such a contest ground game efforts often prove to be a critical, sometimes even a deciding, factor.
To that end the Republican National Committee is getting out into the crucial battleground states early with a National Volunteer Day this Saturday. RNC officials say they expect to make contact with tens of thousands of voters in each of 12 states this weekend.
The states in question are familiar ones to political reporters and operatives: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Mexico.
The RNC is also pushing their volunteers to new Facebook app that works as a go-to hub for event information.
The idea is to identify voters, Republican, Democrat or Independent and use that information to come up with an equation about in which states and counties to focus the most attention and effort this fall. RNC officials say they also use that information to get out absentee ballots and early voting sites to Republicans and track them throughout the process.
RNC Political Director Rick Wiley points to the 2004 Bush re-election campaign season as the gold standard for the 72 hour ‘get out the vote' campaign. "During the 2004 election we made about 24 million [new] voter contacts. In 2010, a midterm election, we increased that to 44 million."
RNC officials admit that the Obama campaign buzz swamped GOP grassroots efforts in 2008, but Wiley adds, "In ‘08 we didn't have staff on the ground in battleground states until June. We're getting our people out there earlier this cycle."