GOTV BLUSTER. Amidst undoubtedly worrying news for Democrats as the generic ballots tighten, there's a very surprising nugget tucked at the end of this USA Today article on the latest Gallup poll:
One reason: Both parties have been in touch. Among likely voters, 15% had been contacted by someone urging them to vote for a Republican, and 15% had been contacted by someone urging a Democratic vote. What's more, 27% had been contacted by both sides.
That throws some doubt on the effectiveness of the vaunted GOP turnout machine. "Contacts" are, to be sure, a crude metric, but they are one the GOTV community uses. Rebecca Sinderbrand, commenting on the GOP's operation in Montana, notes that the state party "has spent more than six months outpacing every other when it comes to the ground game, averaging about 20,000 voter contacts per day. The party made more than 200,000 calls alone in the month of October, in a state that's home to only 900,000. And this year, Montana Republicans are putting the RNC's storied 72-hour plan into effect for the first time."
Impressive numbers, to be sure, but possibly hype given that the Gallup poll shows equal numbers from both parties reporting GOTV contact. Indeed, because the country contains more self-reported Democrats than Republicans, that means the Donkey's GOTV machine has, in absolute terms, contacted more potential voters than the right's. To toss a bit of gloom on this analysis, the data has little to say about contact quality -- i.e, was it someone you knew? Who shared your accent? -- but it does suggest the Republican advantage isn't near so marked as it's been in the recent past. And as Markos and others point out, the 2005 election in Virginia saw the GOP's 72-hour turnout machine get stomped by the Democrats' operation. So, much of this grassroots stuff may be hype.
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