"Most of the early vote doesn't happen until the last week of the election," McDonald said. "While there are some people voting now, of course, people who are undecided aren't going to cast their vote until they're certain of their vote and they're certain who they're going to vote for in the down-ballot races as well."
The Obama campaign's strategy is to bank as many votes as possible before Election Day, freeing up campaign workers on Nov. 6 to focus on a smaller number of potential supporters, making sure they get to the polls. It is a strategy that worked well in 2008, when the campaign compiled massive amounts of information about voters in every state.
Since then, Obama's political organization and his re-election campaign have been building on the work they did in 2008 in an attempt to reach even more potential early voters.
Asked about Romney's operation, Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign's field director, said: "Are they better than John McCain? Sure." But he added: "Are we better than Barack Obama in 2008? Absolutely."
The Romney campaign's strategy is to target supporters who don't necessarily vote in every election, putting a premium on getting these voters to cast early ballots, Beeson said. If the campaign is successful, most of Romney's remaining supporters would be people who are much more likely to vote, regardless of whether they are contacted by the campaign.
McCain employed a similar strategy in 2008 and it failed miserably. Beeson, however, said Romney's campaign has far more resources than McCain's campaign. And, he said, Republican voters are much more energized than they were in 2008.
"Democrats had a huge intensity factor and a huge funding advantage," Beeson said. This year, he said: "The intensity gap is in our favor. Candidate Obama has now become President Obama, and you can only run on hope and change once."
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