Focus In Iowa Turns To Those Who Might Not Vote

In the key state of Iowa, supporters of President Obama and Mitt Romney and talking to thousands of potential voters. In the last days of the campaigns, the hope is to inspire voters who might not otherwise go to the polls.

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SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: And I'm Sarah McCammon in Des Moines, where Republicans are fighting hard to get out the vote for Mitt Romney.

NATALIE LIEDMAN: Hi, Darlene. This is Natalie from the Republican Party. And I was just wondering if Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican ticket can count on your support in this November's election?

MCCAMMON: At the Romney state headquarters in the suburb of Urbandale about 20 volunteers are making phone calls, seated around several long tables pushed together to fill the room. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Liedman is a high school senior from West Des Moines, who's been volunteering several hours a week.

LIEDMAN: We're just making sure that because people requested absentee ballots at about few weeks ago, we want to make sure that they have received their absentee ballots and turned them in before Election Day.

MCCAMMON: Tom Szold is the Iowa spokesman for the Republican National Committee. He says the focus in these final few days is on what campaign types call low-to-mid-propensity voters; those who lean toward their candidate, but aren't always reliable about getting to the polls.

TOM SZOLD: We're making sure that all the volunteers can get in and do as much as they possibly can. Because, you know, that last-minute call, hey, don't forget to get out on November 6th, can be a difference-maker sometimes with some people.

MCCAMMON: So can those last-minute door knocks.

(SOUNDBITE OF KNOCKING)

MCCAMMON: Volunteers like Mike McCoy are also hitting the pavement in pursuit of votes for Mitt Romney. McCoy has been knocking on doors and talking with neighbors in the suburb of Clive, where he also lives.

MIKE MCCOY: Are you going to early vote, vote by mail Election Day (unintelligible) early vote?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Election Day. My husband is supposed to be but we're opposite parties, so I'm not encouraging him to go.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: His absentee is still sitting on the counter.

MCCAMMON: McCoy says he's getting a variety of reactions from voters. Many also have received been paid a visit by local candidates, or the Obama campaign.

MCCOY: So, some of them are getting tired of it; others want to engage you at the door and talk to you. It's taking its toll, I think, on all of us, those long presidential election years.

MCCAMMON: Republicans say they've made more than two million phone calls and door knocks in Iowa on Romney's behalf during this campaign season and say they're making another million over these final 10 days. Romney has 13 campaign offices in Iowa. That's compared with 67 offices for President Obama's Iowa campaign. Brad Anderson is the state director for the president's campaign in Iowa and says his team is also making a big final push.

BRAD ANDERSON: The way I look at it is our program that we've run all along but on steroids.

MCCAMMON: Anderson says Obama campaign volunteers are spreading out in shifts at offices across the state this weekend to knock on doors and make tens of thousands more phone calls through Election Day.

ANDERSON: So we're going to have people in those offices as well as in the surrounding areas of those offices, in places that have never seen canvassers.

MCCAMMON: With the race tight nationally and in key states like Iowa, both sides say they're fighting up to the last minute for every last vote. For NPR News, I'm Sarah McCammon, in Des Moines.

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