Behold the strongly worded memo from Strickland campaign manager Aaron Pickrell:
Today, the Ohio Newspaper Poll confirms the race between Ted Strickland and John Kasich is very close. Our strategy has always been to make this a choice between these two candidates and not a referendum on the national economic status quo. It is becoming that choice. As voters get to know Kasich better and as differences on job creation, education, seniors’ issues, and the budget dominate the debate, the race will continue to move our way.
“Internal polling shows that voters trust Ted and feel like he is fighting for them. Negative impressions of Kasich continue to grow as voters get to know him better. As early voting begins, our campaign also benefits from the strong infrastructure of the Ohio Democratic Party. Our grassroots operation ensures that our voters will participate in this election – diminishing any so-called ‘enthusiasm gap’.
Our polling has the race even closer than this poll as we continue to expand and solidify our support - Kasich’s support continues to erode.
SUMMARY OF LAST TWO WEEKS
The Strickland-Brown campaign has been building momentum over the last two weeks and is moving into the next phase of the campaign in a strong position. On September 16, Governor Strickland and Congressman Kasich held their first debate. This was the first time many Ohioans were able to see Strickland and Kasich contrast their visions for Ohio. The debate appears to have led to a precipitous drop in support for Kasich. As more Ohioans learn about his plans and his history of outsourcing jobs and working on Wall Street, the less likely they are to support him. While the Governor laid out a passionate defense of the state of Ohio and his leadership during a global economic recession, Congressman Kasich put in a disastrous performance that was less than persuasive to Ohio voters.
We have also moved into another phase in campaign where we are talking about what the Governor has done to ensure Ohio comes out of the recession strong and what he and his running mate, Yvette McGee Brown will do to create jobs and build a stronger Ohio moving forward.
Our polling shows that voters think the Governor is the candidate who is fighting for working people, improving education, and who is worthy of their trust. Our job is to make sure voters know what he has done and will continue to do to create jobs, and we are doing that now.
Yesterday, Governor Strickland, Yvette McGee Brown and the rest of the Democratic ticket, kicked off a weeklong bus tour of Ohio to build momentum as we move into early voting on September 28. We are very well positioned for early vote, due to the strength of our field operation.
A ROBUST COORDINATED CAMPAIGN
The key to victory is ensuring a strong turnout from our Democratic base – by mail, in person or at the polls on Election Day. To achieve this, the ODP has not let up since the 2008 Election and has invested heavily since early 2009 in grassroots organizing capacity and is now turning it up strongly for the final weeks of the campaign. Democrats have a competitive advantage compared to the GOP in the early vote period and we are out-organizing them on the ground as well as layering in hundreds of thousands of paid, direct communications to persuade voters and ensure our base remembers to vote.
Since summer, the ODP and its field organization have made nearly 2 million voter contact attempts by volunteers-door knocks or phone calls. In September volunteer numbers and voter contact has exponentially grown exponentially, and once the early voting period begins every day ODP will be "GOTEVing"-getting out the early vote.
This is in comparison to the Ohio Republican Party’s field infrastructure – much of it is being outsourced to third party organizations.
So we know that the OFA has made nearly 2 million voter contact attempts by door knocking or phone calls. Just like the ODP has told us, we’ve seen a spike in volunteers in September after Labor Day.
Yesterday, Strickland told anyone who would listen that their internal tracking now has it as a two-point race, a statistical dead heat. Given that outside polling has confirmed that their internals have been reliable in the past, I have little reason to doubt that the race is still tightening right before the early vote.
After much reflection, I think I would rather have the GOP believing that their candidate is sitting on a double-digit lead based on the aggregate while our supporters believe in the majority of the recent polling showing us slightly behind but within striking distance if we could just get our votes out.
Heck, if young people turn out better than the pollster project, that ALONE could be enough to turn this race around.