The Latest From The McCain Campaign

Since I hammered John McCain a couple of weeks ago for resting on his laurels instead of getting his national campaign ramped up, I thought it was only fair to include some excepts from this email the RNC is sending around from his campaign manager…

To: Interested Parties
From: Rick Davis, Campaign Manager
Date: March 21, 2008
Re: Campaign Update

…This week, Senator McCain has been travelling abroad, with stops in the Middle East and Europe. In Iraq, he was updated in his official capacity on the progress toward a stable Iraq. He finished his fact-finding tour of the Middle East with a visit to Jordon and Jerusalem to meet with heads of state. In Europe, he conferred with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and is scheduled to meet with President Sarkozy of France before he returns to the campaign trail in the United States. This trip has shown the world Senator McCain’s foreign policy credentials and highlighted the depth of his knowledge on international affairs.

When he returns, the campaign will be focused on re-introducing John McCain to a much wider swath of the American electorate. This re-introduction is important strategically. The transition to a general election campaign means two things: our geographic targets have greatly expanded beyond key primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina and Florida AND we have expanded our target audience beyond our base coalition of Republican primary voters.

Our strategic objectives will be to tell how Senator McCain’s life experience has shaped his values – values we firmly believe will resonates with these important Independent and swing voting blocks. Senator McCain’s life of service from his days at the Naval Academy, to his service in Vietnam and his public service as an elected official is based on what he learned from his family, from his education and from his experience. The campaign is eager to tell this story as a part of the Service to America tour where Senator McCain will highlight what he has learned through his service and how every American has a commitment to serve their community and nation. His run for president is a natural extension of this personal lifetime commitment and a continuation of his service.

From a strategic standpoint, Senator McCain’s personal story has positioned him well for the general election run. He is viewed very positively by voters across the political spectrum. On head-to-head ballot tests, Senator McCain has taken a lead – and more importantly has not fallen behind among Independent and swing voters. In stark contrast to either potential Democratic opponent, his ideology has always traditionally tracked very close to the electorate. He is, in short, an ideological match with America.

The volatility of the Democratic race has given us a strategic window to organize our general election campaign structure, to raise money and to be prepared for what will be a dramatic general election cycle. On the fundraising front, February and March have been banner months for our fundraising operation. Not only is our electoral base coalescing around Senator McCain, but donors are enthusiastically stepping up to provide the campaign with the resources it will need to compete with the well-funded Democratic nominee. Our fundraising events are all selling out and drawing crowds and our campaign is able to strategically bank money for the battle ahead. In addition, we are beginning our combined efforts with the RNC Victory program to pay for the political organization we are assembling.

…A recent Gallup poll shows Senator McCain’s image as positive as it has been since the 2000 presidential primary. Sixty-seven percent of voters have a favorable opinion of him, while only 27% have an unfavorable opinion of him (net positive image +40).

Senator McCain’s image is better than Barack Obama’s image AND Hillary Clinton’s image today. In addition, he is well positioned among key swing voting blocks. Sixty-two percent of voters have a favorable image of Obama and 32% have an unfavorable image of him (net positive image +29). Hillary Clinton has the most polarized image, with 53% of voters viewing her favorably and 44% viewing her unfavorably (net positive image +9).

…Senator McCain also has a strongly favorable image among Democrats and left leaning Independents: 52% favorable. Obama and Clinton are not similarly strong with Republicans and right leaning Independent voters; 39% of Republicans and right leaning Independents have a favorable impression of Obama and only 20% of Republicans and right leaning Independents have a favorable impression of Hillary Clinton.

…The Fox News study released today shows Senator McCain well positioned among key Independent voters. He has a 16-point lead versus Hillary Clinton (47% McCain to 31% Clinton) and an 8-point lead versus Obama with this voting block (45% McCain to 37% Obama).

…Senator McCain remains competitive in many of the states that have been key to deciding the elections. In public polls, Senator McCain leads in Florida and Pennsylvania. He is within the margin of error in states like Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. And, Senator McCain leads in Oregon and Washington versus Hillary Clinton and is within the margin versus Obama.

The general election has not matured and targeting decisions will remain in flux for the time being. However, if the election were held today, Senator McCain is well positioned in the states that will decide the election.

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