Battlground: Arizona

Mark my words. When on November 7, pollsters are looking at each other wondering what went wrong with their "likely voter" models, it will have one predominant answer: the underestimation of the Latino vote. The latest Rocky Mountain poll shows the presidential race tied in Arizona, with Obama having a slight edge.  Hmm, what could possibly turn Arizona, the state with a Papers Please law so unconstitutional that even this Supreme Court threw out most of it, into a purple state? This:

The number of undecided voters in this poll is a bit staggering, but if true, it could spell real trouble for Romney. Whether or not this poll is an outlier, that Latino voters number, at least, is not a fluke. Just days before the release of the Rocky Mountain Poll, a Latino Decision/America's Voice poll gave the President an 80-14 lead among Latino voters in Arizona.

But let's concentrate on the Rocky Mountain Poll for a second. There are a few things I want to talk about in this poll. The sampling demographic breakdowns were not released, but what was released in terms of the internal numbers is remarkable, and this is where Democrats need to concentrate: if you look at who is most likely to vote, the Republican groups are heavy. While Latinos favor the President by a 67 point margin, they are also the most likely to skip the polls. Here's how that plays out at the current moment:

These internals may be rather questionable  given the overall sample size of the sample, 523, which means the subsections are much smaller, and thus prone to much more error. But here's the basic translation: In Arizona, would-be Obama voters are far more likely to admit they will probably skip the polls than Romney voters. But this is both good and bad news. The bad news is obvious. The good news - the really good news is that the president is edging Romney even when this is factored in, that is, he's edging Romney in Arizona among likely voters, which in this poll are voters who say they will definitely vote.

So, what now? How do you turn people who aren't likely to vote, but if they vote, they vote for your guy 8 out of 10 times? Two words: ground game. I have talked before about the importance of ground game. Arizona is voting right now (if you are in Arizona, go vote early). The Obama campaign has definitely been looking at competing in Arizona, including on air, but neither presidential campaign really has, and in that context, a strong ground game to get out all of our voters - young people, Latinos, women - can rock the political world on election night.

The President's campaign hasn't been dormant in the state. I typed in a random Phoeniz zip code at OFA's and Romney's volunteer event finders, and well, here's what I came up with.

This might just be anecdotal and maybe the Romney campaign just doesn't want to advertise their campaign events on their own website. But if this is any indication, ground game can definitely produce an election day surprise. This is what the Obama campaign is good at. Just like the president himself, his campaign is ready and willing to outwork any adversary. On election day, that is how we will win, maybe along with the Grand Canyon State.

The battleground just expanded.

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