On Wednesday, AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka boasted of his organization's aggressive ground game in the key states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Nevada. Noticeably missing from Trumka's list were the pivotal swing states of Virginia and Florida where recent polls show Mitt Romney surging into a lead over President Obama. Also missing was Pennsylvania, previously considered safe for Obama, where one recent poll showed Romney in the lead:
Last week, the AFL-CIO looked at three must-win states—Ohio, Wisconsin and Nevada. Those states could well determine the outcome of the presidential election and provide an inside view of the fight in all the battleground states.
Specifically, we polled a sample of AFL-CIO members and the voters in those states who have been contacted by our on-the-ground political program—including Working America, the AFL-CIO’s community affiliate; and Workers’ Voice, the labor movement’s PAC. . .
We’d like you to come along with our 128,000 volunteers for the final stretch. Together, we’ll knock on 5.5 million doors, make 5.2 million phone calls, hand out 2 million leaflets and deliver 12 million pieces of mail.
Unlike 2008, where the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO had a significant ground game advantage over a dispirited and anemic Republican get-out-the-vote effort, the ground game momentum in 2012 has shifted to Obama's opponents.
In key swing states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania a coalition of area tea party groups, independent "red state" tea party volunteers traveling to help, and, in some counties, local GOP organizations, are matching and exceeding the Democratic Party and union get-out-the-vote efforts.
The tidal wave of volunteers and enthusiasm has come as something of a surprise to the AFL-CIO, which has re-evaluated its original plans. Now, by focusing on Ohio and Nevada, both of which have long been considered swing states, and Wisconsin, which only recently has moved from "lean Obama" to swing state, the AFL-CIO has effectively decided it's time for a "triage" approach to try and save the flailing Obama campaign.
Most pundits and observers on the ground now believe that Virginia and Florida have swung to Romney, and Pennsylvania is, surprisingly, in play. The AFL-CIO's triage move seems to confirm that perspective.