In 2008, Obama had the GOP beat hands-down in this department. His motivated army of volunteers, including many college students, was knocking on doors, arranging to drive people to polling places and generally stirring up the enthusiasm. McCain’s people, on the other hand, were mostly just going through the motions.
In 2012, things are likely to be different, but the race may well turn on whether they are different enough.
College students — perhaps contemplating a lifetime of living with their parents in the depressed Obama economy — aren’t showing the kind of enthusiasm they showed last time around. Now it’s the Obama campaign that seems to be going through the motions.
Republican grass roots, on the other hand, are motivated. As someone I know said on Facebook recently in response to the latest press flap about an alleged Romney gaffe, “Is there anything Romney could say that would keep me from voting against Obama in November? Hell no.” That sentiment seems to be widespread.