Republicans are counting on turnout and enthusiasm to win Tuesday’s elections–and if the overflow crowd at a Los Angeles call center today is any indication, they have plenty of both.
The Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) call center, set up by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), was completely full, and additional volunteers had to call from the hallway outside.
Initially, I had been under the impression that the volunteers would be calling voters in neighboring Nevada, where the RJC has a strong organizing presence.
Instead, the volunteers were calling Pennsylvania, which has suddenly become competitive after recent polls showed Republican Mitt Romney pulling even with President Barack Obama.
By the time I arrived at noon, the call center had been open for two hours and the volunteers had made nearly 12,000 calls, en route to a total of 20,000 by 2 p.m. The RJC’s Los Angeles branch has made roughly 400,000 calls during the 2012 election cycle, organizers said.
The RJC is targeting Jewish voters, who traditionally vote Democratic in large proportions. This year, support for Obama may fall, due to discomfort among Jewish voters with Obama’s record on Israel and his poor economic performance.
There are roughly 300,000 Jews in Pennsylvania, just under 3% of the state’s population. Journalist Rom Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has estimated that a drop in support for Obama from 75 percent to 65 percent among the state’s Jews could cause a swing of 41,500 votes to Romney.
In addition, 3,500 Pennsylvania Jews have voted absentee from Israel, where Romney is thought to be winning by a margin of 85% to 14%. In 2008, John McCain also defeated Obama among American expatriates in Israel, though by a smaller reported margin of 76% to 24%.
Similar GOTV efforts are under way all across the country, with heavy participation among conservative activists, including large attendance at rallies headlined by Romney and running mate Paul Ryan.
With just over 60 hours left before the first polls open, Republicans are sprinting to the finish.