Republicans are known for their vaunted "72 hour" get-out-the-vote strategy, a massive operation that commences three days prior to a general election. It looks like Team Romney is preparing to kick off its 2012 GOTV effort in style; they've orchestrated a mammoth rally tonight at 7pm ET in West Chester, Ohio -- a suburb of Cincinnati. Who will be there? As far as GOP politics is concerned, the better question might be who won't be there.
It's like they're going to relive the entire Republican convention at a single rally, minus Chris Christie, who's a little preoccupied at the moment. As the Big Day draws near, signs of a ground-swell of Republican optimism and momentum are beginning to bubble up across the map. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru says high-level Republicans he's speaking to are finally starting to believe Romney is pretty well-positioned to pull this thing off, even as most liberals remain supremely confident (at least publicly) that Obama's headed for a win:
...They seem to really have confidence: more confidence, in fact, than I remember roughly the same group of people having at this point in 2004. The group I have in mind includes people who are often pessimistic about Republican chances, and mostly people who are outside the Romney campaign. It includes people who read Nate Silver a fair amount and respect him, but disagree with him. Their projections range from a toss-up to a strong Romney win.
Republicans are even over-performing their share of ballots returned in 71 of 99 counties compared to 2004, the first time a Republican candidate carried Iowa in a presidential election since 1984, and are over-performing 2004 statewide. An Iowa Republican tells me, “I have seen polling from a third-party group, three congressionals, our state Senate campaigns and state House campaigns — all using different pollsters, and ALL of them have Romney rising, and ALL of them have Romney with a 1 to 2 point lead.”
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