by Shawn Scanlon
Colorado seems to be heading for a breakup with the Republican Party. Rather than look at the demographics or address the policy preferences of each party, (which we’ve already done in class) why not compare Kerry 2004 to Obama 2008?
We’ll be comparing campaign bureaucracies. In 2004, I was a member of the Kerry-Edwards campaign team, so I speak with a bit of knowledge on the organization. Statewide, we had 9 regional campaign offices. There were a half-dozen “satellite” offices that were more or less affiliated, but Kerry-Edwards had 9 offices. Each office was large, and had a lot of resources to muster. The strategy was simple: each of the 9 regional offices would assign organizers to a district within the region to recruit volunteers. The problem: this strategy made the campaign seem top-heavy and clunky. My assigned district was 25 minutes from the office that I worked out of.
Fast-forward to 2008. The Obama-Biden campaign has 50 offices in Colorado. Most of the Obama offices are much smaller than ours were in 2004, but this campaign structure appeals to activists. Each field organizer is never more than 10 minutes from their assigned district, and volunteers have a myriad of options to choose from when deciding where to volunteer. Rather than renting one very large office, (half of the office building I worked in was rented by Kerry-Edwards) Obama-Biden is renting smaller spaces, and spreading the wealth.
Let’s look closely at JeffCo, where there was only one campaign office in 2004. In 2008, volunteers have the choice of 5 campaign offices: Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, Littleton or Morrison. It is much easier for volunteers to give their time to the campaign. Plus, there’s a bit more energy for Democrats:
There remains a significant enthusiasm gap between the candidates: While 67 percent of Obama supporters are enthusiastic about their candidate, just 31 percent of McCain supporters are enthusiastic about theirs – a drop of six points. (via CBS News)
This may seem like a small issue, but having and army of volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls contributes to success. Once early voting ends on Friday, the real ground game begins. Obama’s small-scale approach may make a large difference in Colorado’s breakup with the GOP.