by Marvin King
Lost in the shuffle of this week’s Iowa caucus dead heat win (barely) by Mitt Romney is how well Barack Obama’s reelection efforts are proceeding.
While attention naturally focused on the Republican side, Obama did make appeals to Democrats in the state to counter the months of criticism he has taken at the hands of the Republican nominees – and roughly 25,000 Iowans caucused in support of him that Tuesday.
While I expect the long-term trends to help Obama in 2012, the election should be closer in 2012 than in 2008, regardless of who the Republicans nominate. Therefore, even Iowa’s six caucus votes will be hotly contested, which is why Obama has already opened eight offices across the Hawkeye State.
This staff and organization advantage will pay dividends in the fall campaign, especially considering that Obama is investing his money now in organization and field teams across the country and not burning it on expensive television ads.
More importantly for Obama is his lead in fundraising. The GOP candidates all have a pretty high burn rate, spending money as fast as they take it in on television. And, the longer the campaign goes, the harder it will be to match Obama’s fundraising totals. Of course, Romney knows he will not raise as much money as Obama, so he will turn to Super PAC’s to make his case (these are already giving Newt Gingrich fits). But, the use of Super-PAC’s goes both ways. I expect Obama to have more money than his GOP opponent, but how much more remains to be seen.
As GOP candidates chase the most conservative voters (whether it is social conservatives in Iowa, fiscal and social conservatives in South Carolina, or libertarian conservatives in New Hampshire), it’s moderate Republicans and Independents that are being ignored at their electoral peril. Let’s not even mention the contempt for black voters. This gives plentiful opportunities for the Obama campaign to collect lots of ammunition for use in the fall campaign.
The Republican message is to just bash away at government, but lost in the shuffle is that there is a surprising amount of trust in government. The Republican field cannot acknowledge that government can do any good – to do so would be an apostasy. But, the reality is all their primal ranting and raving against government will not play so well in the fall when they try appealing to moderate voters.
Marvin King received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Texas and is now an Associate Professor of Political Science with a joint appointment in the African American Studies Program at the University of Mississippi. He conducts research into how political institutions affect African American politics. Marvin is available for public speaking engagements and you can follow him on Twitter @kingpolitics