Could New Hampshire hold the key? Romney and Obama take no chances.
Both Obama and Romney are squeezing in last-minute visits to New Hampshire this weekend, and their campaigns are running at full speed. And all for 4 electoral votes.
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Ads from both sides, as well as ads for tight races for governor and Congress, are saturating the airwaves. But “it’s the get-out-the-vote efforts that are going to be key to the final outcome,” says Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center.Skip to next paragraph
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Slightly more voters say they’ve been contacted by Democrats than by Republicans, but “the Romney campaign has got a ground game that’s a lot better than previous Republicans in New Hampshire,” Mr. Smith says.
Surrogates for both candidates have been making the rounds, too, trying to keep volunteers energized through the final days of knocking on doors and dialing the phone.
On Saturday, Caroline Kennedy is making a number of stops in what’s being billed as the “Granite State Women Decide 2012 Tour.” On Friday, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz kicked off that tour.
Since the spring, part of Obama’s strategy has been to “put social issues of concern to women, like access to contraception, on the front burner,” says Professor Scala.
That’s one of several issues that resonate in the state in part because of the controversial positions conservatives have pushed for in the legislature here, says Holly Shulman, spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in New Hampshire. These include defunding Planned Parenthood and limiting women’s contraception options.
“Granite Staters pay very close attention to their local politics, and Mitt Romney’s positions mirror that of the extreme legislature here,” Ms. Shulman says.
Women are also making the case for Romney, saying he’s focused on the issue that’s of biggest concern for women: the economy.
“In my circles, the economy, jobs, and quality education are on people’s minds,” says Laura Dodge, a stay-at-home mom from Bedford, N.H., who is volunteering for Romney. She knows people whose husbands have lost their jobs, and “they’re in a tough predicament…. Mom’s faced with the decision [of whether] to go back to work, but it’s hard when you’ve been out of the work force for so long.”
Other than the abortion issue, Ms. Dodge says she doesn’t see much difference between the candidates on women’s issues, but she likes that Romney “has been called up to situations before when he’s been able to turn things around,” such as the Olympics.
Dodge was part of a standing-room-only group of Romney supporters who came to Manchester Thursday afternoon to hear Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Marco Rubio of Florida. Both parents of young children, they painted a dramatic picture of the choice voters would be making Tuesday – and urged people to work hard to ensure they chose Romney’s fiscal responsibility and projection of US military strength.