In the nation's old-growth suburbs, which have emerged as key swing areas in recent years, he said that 88% of eligible adults are registered to vote. In the exurbs, it is 83%. Closing that small gap, Rove thinks, could make the difference for his party in a tight presidential race.
"The growth potential is much bigger on the Republican side in exurban counties than it is on the Democratic side in urban counties," said Bush's pollster, Matthew Dowd.
...Some have their doubts that Brodbeck and others approaching Grossman's booth speak for a meaningful number of voters. If many of the new exurbanites are changing addresses within their states — moving 30 miles, for example, from Cincinnati and its immediate suburbs to the Lebanon area — can that really be counted as a gain for Bush? And is the pool of unregistered exurbanites enough to make up for the newly registered Democrats that various liberal groups are courting in urban areas?
"It's certainly true that the exurbs around a lot of cities are relatively Republican," said Jim Jordan, a strategist for independent liberal groups raising money to register new voters and oppose Bush. "But it is a lot less clear that there are huge reservoirs of currently unregistered voters who can be quickly put on the rolls and then given orders to march for the president."
One anti-Bush group, America Coming Together, claims to have registered 65,000 new Democratic voters in Ohio alone — at least one-third of them in the liberal mecca of Cleveland.
But in and around Lebanon, at least, the GOP's exurban strategy seems on target. Weeks after Bush's visit, voter registration is up, and so is the list of party volunteers. Local Republicans say there is still excitement over Bush's trip, in which he rolled into town in a red, white and blue tour bus.
Monday, June 28, 2004
The LA Times looks at "Exurbs" and the potential there for GOP voters.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 5:33 PM