Many voters have heard the term “ground game” the past few weeks, but few know what it means. It is only the last great hope President Obama has in order to win re-election. Ground game refers to the field offices, volunteers and call centers each campaign has in states all across the country. Their task: to register people to vote, convince them to vote for their guy and then to get them to the actual polls to cast that vote.

In the past, the Democrats have easily won the ground game due to the advantages they held in registered voters and volunteers. By nature, Democrats tend to be more activist-bent, younger and therefore, more likely to volunteer. In 2008, Obama dominated the ground game, getting thousands to the polls early, registering people who had not previously voted and even busing Americans to the polls on Election Day. A Gallup poll from Monday shows Obama has lost that edge in a big way.

Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney’s 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup’s Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.

As Breitbart’s John Nolte puts it, “at least according to Gallup, Obama’s early vote advantage has dropped 22 points when compared to ’08.” Nolte is referencing the numbers from the 2008 election where Obama held a sound 55%-40% lead among early voters. When you go from up 14 points to down 7, it adds up to a 22-point collapse. After a closer look at the 2008 data, Nolte dispensed more bad news for the President.

In other words, among those who actually voted on Election Day, Obama’s advantage over McCain was only three points. Obama won by seven overall because of the early vote margins he had accumulated. If Gallup is correct about 2012 and Romney being ahead by seven with early voters, that means Obama’s in very deep trouble. Even polls that show Obama with a small lead in states like Ohio confirm Romney will win among those who vote on Election Day.

Both sides are claiming their campaign has the better early voting numbers. The Dems do hold an advantage in field offices and feet on the ground, but the GOP is benefitting from Super PAC’s and their resources. Both the Romney and Obama websites are touting their own efforts in the battleground state of Ohio and how the other side’s data cannot be accurate. Politico’s Adrian Gray put out his opinion on the early Ohio numbers late last week, saying there’s some number fudging going on with the President’s camp.

I have always been a believer in data telling me the full story. Truth is, nobody knows what will happen on Election Day. But here is what we do know: 220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jaime Dupree sums it up in his usual, unbiased way.

This is part of a tit-for-tat back and forth that has been going on for days; one party will claim the advantage in early voting, and then the other party will fire back by mining its own data points from the exact same early vote/absentee ballot information, coming up with a completely different conclusion on which party has the edge.

One of them will be right next week. And one of them will not.

If you are an Obama supporter, you have to wonder if the swell of emotional support your man had back in 2008 will come through again in 2012. Early voting all across the country seems to be up, no matter the party or affiliation. In the words of Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail (with apologies to Breitbart’s Nolte), “People don’t wait in line to vote for the status quo.”

Original article authored by Dave Dorsey on