Obama campaign launches voter-turnout initiative
President Obama’s campaign announced Thursday it is launching an get-out-the-vote initiative designed to motivate its base constituencies — including Latinos — to increase their participation levels in the 2012 election.
The strategy, titled “Project Vote,” will target demographic groups that supported Obama by wide margins in 2008, such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, gays and lesbians, women and youth.
“Project Vote will drive our campaign strategy – from paid media, to digital outreach, to grassroots organizing and voter registration efforts,” the campaign said.
Buffy Wicks and Michael Blake, both of whom are veterans of Obama’s 2008 campaign, will lead the effort.
The campaign’s aim is to boost the level of participation among the targeted groups, which typically vote in smaller numbers than whites, hoping that will improve Obama’s chances of victory in 2012.
For example, Latinos made up 7.4 percent of the voting population in 2008 — their largest share ever — with 49.9 percent of eligible Latinos participating, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Sixty-seven percent of Latino voters chose Obama over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.
But with the latest Census numbers showing rapid Latino population growth and a greater number of younger Latinos becoming eligible to vote, Obama officials want them to turn out in even larger numbers in 2012.
Obama campaign officials have rejected the idea they are worried about base support in 2012, despite signs that some constituencies are frustrated about the lack of progress on some key initiatives during the president’s first term.
But Republicans claimed that the “Project Vote” effort shows that they are, in fact, concerned about the level of base turnout next year.
The Republican National Committee on Thursday dubbed the effort “Project Damage Control,” saying that Obama has lost ground with every base constituency mentioned in their announcement.
The committee cited data from The New York Times’s polling guru Nate Silver that shows approval of Obama going down with base voters.
“Another group with whom Mr. Obama has experienced an alarmingly large decline are Hispanic voters — also about 10 points since the start of the year,” Silver wrote last week. “Although the margins of error on subsamples of Hispanic voters can be especially high because of language barriers and other issues, that could complicate Mr. Obama’s efforts to win states like Colorado and Nevada.”
Other data from the Democratic-leaning polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP), shows Obama leading his primary GOP challengers by wide margins with Latinos.
In addition to “Project Vote,” the Obama campaign is assisting efforts to block legislation on the state level that requires photo identification to vote and promote early voting in more states — both actions are meant to encourage minority voting.
Internally, Obama’s campaign hopes that by using grassroots efforts early on, they can head off any drop in support from their base in 2012.
“Project Vote will communicate with and engage targeted constituencies by reaching them where they are, in their communities and neighborhoods, and having one-on-one grassroots conversations about the issues they care about most – jobs, health care and education,” the campaign said.
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