The Washington Post:
That gap in the candidates’ ground efforts is mirrored around the country as the presidential contest heads into its final weeks, with Democratic campaign workers outnumbering Republicans nearly three to one, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign spending reports.
The numbers reflect a fundamental difference in the way the rival campaigns are deploying resources as they battle to capture the presidency. Obama is spending earlier and investing more in his state campaign infrastructure, putting a bigger emphasis on person-to-person contact with potential voters.
Romney and Republicans are focusing more on advertising and stockpiling funds, anticipating a significant and growing money advantage in the fall. The GOP candidate and his allies — the party and independent groups — have $105 million more sitting in bank accounts than the Democrats. For the period after the conventions, they could easily outspend Democrats two to one, with most of it likely to go to more television ads.
(...) Obama campaign manager Jim Messina countered that the Republicans have “already missed a year of persuasion on the ground.”
“At some point, people are going to look to their friends and neighbors about what decision they’re going to make,” Messina said. “We think that’s going to be a big chunk of how we win this thing.”
The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee have transferred $50 million to swing states around the country to open field offices and hire campaign organizers, new spending reports show. That compares to $8 million Romney and the Republican National Committee have sent to state parties.
RNC officials said that staff numbers do not reflect their volunteer support, saying the party has made 12 million personal contacts with voters nationally and is on pace to surpass the voter-contact number of all previous Republican campaigns.
“The Obama campaign is quick to tout how many people they have on payroll, but they don’t seem to be doing anything,” said Rick Wiley, the RNC’s political director. “It is really expensive to put field staff and offices in there. I can only imagine how much money they’re burning through.”
On top of its field offices, the president’s campaign has invested in a more sophisticated Internet strategy than the Republicans’ — creating, for example, a Web site called Dashboard where supporters can create profiles, join neighborhood canvassing teams, send event invitations and watch videos.
The Obama campaign also released a smartphone application that allows any supporter to pull up lists of nearby Democrats, who can then be targeted with appeals to vote.
(...) Ed Rogers, a Republican strategist and chairman of the BGR Group, said Obama is attempting to create “synthetic, steroid-driven turnout” because the “romantic enthusiasm” he had four years ago is gone. Rogers said the resources Romney has for advertising will allow him to chip away at Obama’s advantage as an incumbent.
“That’s the Obama plan to win a close one — to have superior turnout mechanisms,” Rogers said. “But doing that without much enthusiasm is hard.”
(...) Democrats maintain that voters will tune out the messages on television once they reach a certain saturation.
“Past saturation, twice as much does not mean twice as powerful,” said Jim Jordan, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). “And that’s especially true given Obama’s truly significant advantage in the ground and turnout game.”