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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Senate Race GOTV

Here's a well written analysis of the Senate race and the GOTV. For those of you who don't eat, sleep, and drink politics GOTV means Get Out The Vote. It's your election day strategy to make sure your voters get to the polls. For Republicans it also means making sure Democrats don't. They use some clever tactics to do so, and have some recent criminal convictions as a result.

At any rate this analysis concludes, as I did in the Labor Day Sunday article by Carrie Budoff, that the race will likely come down to the GOTV efforts. Here are the numbers that concern me:

Look at the difference between the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004
in Pennsylvania. George W. Bush received about 693,000 more ballots in 2004 than
he did in 2000 - but still lost the state. The reason: John F. Kerry received
452,000 more ballots than Al Gore had received in 2000.

In other words the GOP developed a GOTV effort that brought them almost 700,000 new voters in 2004. That's huge folks. We Democrats were ecstatic about those 452,000 new voters but were outworked by the Republicans. They have a very good strategy for election day and they're prepared, though probably not at the 2004 level, for a very strong turnout. We have to assume so at any rate. We cannot bet the Santorum people didn't learn from Bush's success.

So what is Casey's team doing to get as many of those 452,000 new Dems out to vote November 7th? According to Ms. Budoff's article they're relying on local Party committees, unions, and the Rendell campaign. Wow, so much for do it yourself.... The bottom line is the Casey camp has NO GOTV effort. Zilch. They decided to run the standard DSCC media campaign rather than a grassroots field operation.

A field campaign is what Kerry/Edwards ran in 2004 that got those extra 452,000 Democrats to the polls. They had campaign offices set up around the state and targeted thousands of precincts for canvassing and phone banks. They identified who their voters were then had an election day strategy to make sure those voters got to the polls. I know because I helped organize their GOTV effort in Berks County.

The bottom line is, if you don't know who your voters are you cannot get your voters to the polls. You can't simply assume if someone is a "D" they're your vote and an "R" is for Santorum. You have to determine that by voter contact. Casey isn't doing any voter contact. They won't know if your Aunt Sadie is a Casey supporter or for Carl Romanelli. If she calls her local Democratic office for a ride to the polls it's even possible a committee person might be giving a ride to the polling place for a Santorum voter. No offense to Aunt Sadie but that's just stupid. There's too much at stake for stupidity to reign on election day.

I don't have a good feeling about this folks.
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