Posted by: SWL | November 3, 2012

Presidential Campaigns Could Find Undecided Voters in Rural Areas

Romney campaign in Winnemucca, NV

Last week Mitt Romney’s son Josh made a whirlwind 2-day tour across northern Nevada. I reported about the event I attended in Winnemucca.

It was nice that the area was getting some attention, but two weeks before the election, it was too-little-too-late. The rural Nevada counties are reliably Republican/conservative, and I think the Romney campaign has taken our votes for granted. While all the electoral votes go to the winner of the state, winning an individual county does not mean anything. Literally, every vote matters in Nevada (and each swing state), so I would think it especially important for Romney to try to find undecided voters in even the less populated counties. (Of course, the Obama campaign has not visited outside of Reno, but you would expect them not to bother with places where there is little hope of picking up votes.)

If I was advising the Romney campaign, this tour would have been the second or third in the past 6 months. And the events would have been publicized better. The problem was primarily short notice. I heard the manager or owner of the restaurant tell someone that the Romney campaign had called the day before and said they needed the meeting room. I received a robo call about the event approximately 22 hours beforehand. The afternoon of Josh Romney’s visit, I spoke with a friend who is still undecided about the election. She had not heard about the Romney visit and by that time had plans for the evening. Technology has really helped with contacting voters this election cycle, but it can cause campaigns to think voters are able to respond as quickly as the messages are sent over the phone or Internet.

President Reagan-Reno, 1988

In 1988, my young family went to see President Ronald Reagan in Reno. The event was publicized on the television news a week or two in advance and we had to call or write Republican headquarters in Reno for tickets. These allowed us access to the tarmac just north of the terminal at Reno-Tahoe airport where President Reagan spoke with Air Force One as a backdrop. (That scenario would never happen with today’s security concerns.)

For those of us who live hours away from a major city, something between the snail mail of the 1980s and the carelessness of today’s technology would be appreciated. Just racking up contacts will not guarantee votes.

If Mitt Romney loses Nevada by a very narrow margin, it might be because his campaign neglected undecided voters in the northern rural counties.

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