Team Obama has an intensity problem, they are losing ground, and they have a message problem in Florida, said Brett Doster, a top Romney Florida advisor.
Now Obamas team is staking all of their hopes on their grass-roots team, he said. But anyone suggesting that Obamas grass-roots teams are better than Romneys are completely out of touch with reality.
Doster points out that Republicans are voting their absentee ballots faster than Democrats, which he says indicates more Republican enthusiasm.
In addition to the 1.1 million Floridians who have already voted, another 1.5 million have requested their absentee ballots but have not yet mailed them in or voted them.
The Romney campaign boasts of 150 full-time staffers, 900,000 calls and mailers to voters last week and five times more phone calls and 47 times more door knocks than this time in 2008.
The Obama counters with the fact that it has 106 field offices throughout Florida while Romney has just 47. The Obama campaign says it held 2,827 vote-canvasses last weekend and operated 1,700 phone banks.
Also, Obamas campaign has a volunteer army that, it says, exceeds 200,000. It has also helped sign up more than 322,000 new voters.
But the Democrats also lost some of their voter registration edge over Republicans since 2008. The GOP trailed by nearly six percentage points four years ago, but is now behind by just over 4 percent.
The Democrats registered-voter lead over Republicans is about 500,000, down from 658,000 in 2008 when Obama carried must-win Florida by fewer than three percentage points, or about 236,000 votes.
Another major voter-registration change has happened in the last four years: The proportion of Floridas minority voters is increasing.
The voter rolls now have about 250,000 more African-American, Caribbean descendants, and Hispanics many of whom tend to be Obama-leaning Puerto Rican voters as opposed to Romney-leaning Cuban Americans.
Only 9 percent of the new Hispanic voters registered with the GOP; 41 percent with the Democrats and 51 percent as independents, the Obama campaign notes.
Black voters, a base of the Democratic Party, prefer in-person early voting to absentee-ballot voting by mail. And they plan to show up in force Saturday and Sunday as part of a statewide effort, linked to black churches, called Souls to the Polls, that would stretch from Miami to Tampa to Tallahassee.
Voter drives like that, independent of the Obama organization, could help decide the election in battleground Florida and therefore the nation.
However, the Republican-led Legislature shortened the number of early voting days this year (to eight from 14) and eliminated it on the Sunday before Election Day, when black voters have flocked to the polls.
Only 8 percent of the absentee ballots cast so far have been from African-Americans, and just 9 percent from Hispanics. About 65 percent of those Hispanics are from Southeast Florida a majority of whom are Cuban Republicans followed by more liberal leaning Hispanics in Central Florida (15 %) and Tampa Bay (12%). A whopping 79 percent of the absentee-ballot voters are white non-Hispanic.
Public opinion surveys show that Obama is winning the Hispanic vote, but hes badly losing the non-Hispanic white vote, which is the largest share of the Florida electorate. The last Miami Herald poll earlier this month showed Romney handily winning independents.
Romneys message of economic recovery is winning over undecideds in every media market in the state, Doster, the Romney advisor said. We will win Florida.
But Obamas national field director, Jeremy Bird, said the Romney campaign and the public pollsters are missing the fact that the Democrats are going after and turning out sporadic voters.
Were focused like a laser beam, Bird said. If you look at the registration advantages that Democrats have in Florida if those voters turn out Barack Obama will be president for a second term.
Trevor Aaronson is co-director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.