The Maryland races for Governor and particularly for Senator are now all being boiled down to racial politics. The "Black Vote" we all talk so much about has become the major focus of both parties. However, which party has the best chance of reaching those voters with their message, and which party really benefits the most from a heavy Black turnout?
The answer in both cases is the Democrats. The Democratic GOTV operation in Maryland has been targeting Black voters for a very long time. The GOTV operations in PG county and Baltimore City are clockwork operations. They are well run, well funded, and staffed by people who are experienced in getting the Democratic vote out on election day. Ho much have we heard about the Republican GOTV effort as it applies to Black Democrats and independents? Not a whole lot. This isn't to say it isn't there, but can we really expect it to be at the same level as Democrats? I don't think we can, seeing as 2002 might have been the first time many of the Black voters crossed lines for Ehrlich/Steele.
A Steele victory rests on two things. He has to get as many "Steele Democrats" to the polls as possible (many of these folks will still be voting for O'Malley and the Democratic ticket) while making sure he doesn't push the Black Vote too high. It is rumored that if the Black vote tops 22%, Cardin and O'Malley are shoe-ins.
Now, tell me HOW Steele plans on getting out the "Steele Democrats" without getting out the Black Vote in general? It will be interesting to see his strategy here.
Basically, MD Republicans have a big task ahead of themselves, with very little time left. The endorsements in PG county for Steele may be a large part of a their GOTV strategy for Black voters. I don't think it will be enough to bring out those "select voters" who will be voting for Steele across party lines.
In the past two election cycles, the Black Vote has been consistently above 20%. I think it will be around 25% this time, and that will mean Democratic victory. I really do not see how Black turnout could go DOWN this cycle.
Now increased Black turnout could still lead to a Steele victory, but it would have to contradict every poll which only gives Steele only 10-15% of the Black vote. He needs about 25-30% of a high Black Turnout to win.
If Steele would have spent his whole campaign aggressively courting the Black vote, he would probably be ahead at this point. As it stands though, Steele does not have the Black support he needs for such a high turnout model, nor does he have enough time to garner it.
UPDATE: New SUSA poll
Lets see, this poll has the race tied. Tied, even when the model has 26% black turnout (makes sense) and 33% of Blacks voting for Steele (this is way off compared to every other poll on this race). Now, what does it say about Mr. Steele that even when things go his way in every way possible that I mentioned above, the race is still tied? It says Steele is not sitting as pretty as Republicans would have you believe. A solid GOTV operation by Democrats should give Cardin a good chance to win this thing.