Republicans Tout Voter Outreach Efforts

The GOP has ramped up efforts to reach swing voters and maximize turnout ahead of Election Day.

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About six weeks from Election Day, Republicans are touting their ground game, claiming to be far ahead of voter outreach efforts than they were four years ago.

Republican National Committee officials said they have made contact with about 26 million voters across the country and, perhaps more crucially, identified more than two million swing voters, according to a memo distributed to reporters.

"They have not made up their minds on how to vote in this race and they remain highly persuadable," said Rick Wiley, political director for the RNC. "We continue to identify more swing voters, but now we are also able to do something of great significance – go back and deliver an advocacy message to those we have already located, tailored for specific issues and demographics."

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A key part of any campaign is the ability to identify your voters and mobilize them to the polls. The RNC, along with GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign, have ramped up efforts to compete with Democrats, who have long made grassroots voting efforts a large piece of their strategy. Traditionally, populations likely to vote Democratic, such as young people, the impoverished, and minorities, such as Hispanics and African Americans are also less likely to vote. Republicans often benefit from support from the country's most reliable voting blocs, such as senior citizens and more wealthy voters.

But Republicans have made strides in recent elections to maximize turnout, employing new technology to modernize their efforts and seeking, as Democrats have, to take advantage of the rising popularity of absentee and early voting laws. Every early vote cast means one less person to worry about mobilizing on Election Day.

"More Americans are expected to cast their votes early this year than in any previous election. Our ground game has been designed with this new reality in mind," said Wiley.

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And according to the Republicans, their efforts have already exceeded that of 2008, thanks to more than 73,000 volunteers.

"We've knocked on nearly two million more doors than in all of 2008 and we've made six times more phone calls than at this point four years ago," said Wiley.

The RNC memo also highlighted the added attention swing states, such as Florida, Ohio, and Virginia have received.

"In addition to our volunteer voter contact program, direct voter contact through an aggressive absentee ballot, persuasion, early vote and GOTV mail and phone program in our battleground states will ensure targeted voters are contacted dozens of times through our paid effort," Wiley said. "This coupled with our unprecedented volunteer voter contact effort adds up to the largest, most sophisticated turnout program ever put on the field in Republican politics."

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The Obama campaign is also working with the Democratic National Committee in coordinated voter outreach efforts. In many cases, the Democrats have more field offices in battleground states than their GOP counterparts. But the Obama campaign is notoriously tight-lipped about their specific on the ground efforts.

Republicans may also have chosen this moment to highlight their impressive ground game as a counter to new battleground polls showing Obama leading and Democratic enthusiasm building. A pair of new polls by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling shows Obama leading Romney by 6 percentage points in Colorado and by 4 points in Florida, both key swing states.

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at rmetzler@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter.

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