One reason Barack Obama might be able to turn Indiana Democratic this year:
But if Obama wins the state, more than anything it will be due to the best voter-contact operation Indiana has ever seen. Even Murray Clark, the Indiana Republican chairman, says with grudging admiration in his voice, “Obama’s done these things right. That’s how he nearly beat Hillary in the primary.”
Ignored for decades by presidential candidates, Indiana in 2004 boasted a dubious distinction — the lowest turnout rate among registered voters (57.4 percent) of any state in the union. Had the Obama campaign been pinched for cash instead of raking in a jaw-dropping $150 million in September, Indiana probably would have remained the Midwest’s leading flyover state. Instead, buoyed by the primary turnout, the Obama team saw opportunity amid the decades of neglect. As Emily Parcell, the Indiana Obama coordinator puts it, “Unlike Iowa, where every election is hard fought and where a good field operation can add only about 3 percentage points, there is a much greater opportunity for a good field operation here. Hoosiers are not used to Democrats coming to their door. They’re not used to being told about early voting.”
So, Obama can so overperform here because we have, well, underperformed. The lowest turnout rate among registered voters of any state in the union. That’s just sad.