This should strike fear into the armchair Republican: New polls show that both Florida and Ohio may be slipping away from Mitt Romney.
The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac University and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states. In Ohio — which no Republican has won the presidency without — Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney 53 percent to 43 percent in the poll. In Florida, the president leads Mr. Romney 53 to 44 percent in the poll.
The surveys, which had margins of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for each candidate, also included a Pennsylvania poll, where Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points.
We can question the source — the New York Times — and dispute the accuracy of these polls all day. I question all of that myself. We can surmise that the president is reaching a high-water mark heading into the first presidential debate next week. We can gripe about the Romney campaign, question its messaging, even go into a Peggy Noonan cocoon. Or we can get into the game and play like we’re behind and that our country is depending on us.
The question is, what can the average person, who has a busy life and may or may not live in a swing state, do?
You can join the digital campaign. You would be joining a massive effort to save your country from four more years of the most radical, most out-of-touch president our country has ever had.
I reached out to some of my contacts on the Romney campaign this week, and asked them how the mostly invisible parts of the campaign are going. According to them, the GOP ground game is going very strong. It’s far stronger than the Republicans’ efforts four years ago.
Nationally, more than 75,000 volunteers have knocked on more than 4 million doors for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the down-ticket GOP team, which is 16 times more than at this point in 2008. Volunteers have made nearly 6 times as many phone calls so far than at this point in 2008. The difference is even greater in the swing states. In Florida, volunteers have knocked on 67 times more doors than at this time in 2008. In Iowa, the GOP has already broken a personal record for voter outreach. In North Carolina, volunteers have knocked on 130 times more doors than at this point in 2008, and Ohio has seen over 30 times more. Virginia? Eleven times more. Wisconsin is 66 times more, Pennsylvania is 44 times more, New Hampshire is 8 times more, Nevada is 10 times more. They’re playing like they’re behind, which is good.
Now, there are three ways in which anyone, anywhere in the country can join the fight. Even if you’re not in a swing state, or a state that has a Romney/Ryan field office at all. Supporters in Texas or California may not be able to knock on doors in Wisconsin or Ohio, but you can still work the phones. Supporters anywhere in the country can now go online to the Mitt Romney “Call from Home” website, and volunteer to phone bank just like they would in a regular field office, but from the comfort of your home.
You can also help get the message out there through social media. The Romney campaign allows supporters to make “My Mitt” accounts, which they can loop in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts, which they can use to distribute Romney news to their friends and followers. Supporters can also raise money for Romney by setting fundraising goals and encouraging donations.
The Republican National Committee has a similar digital volunteer drive, called the GOP Social Victory Center, which helps supporters distribute news about the campaign and organize local events within their own communities. From the GOP Social Victory Center you can tap into and help spread the campaign’s latest messages.
You can also donate to help the campaign through the final push, here.
These efforts may seem small, but look again at those statistics above. It takes a whole lot of small efforts to add up to a big national campaign that can win.
So stop griping. Your country needs you in the campaign. You can campaign in a swing state regardless of where you happen to live.
So get to it.