GOTV FOR YOU...

GOTV FOR YOU AND ME. With the GOP engaged in an implosion so total that one imagines it must be purposeful (did Bill Frist really call for rapprochement with the Taliban? I mean, he's actually right, but yikes), there are few refuges left for electoral pessimists like myself. But of those remaining, the GOP's vaunted GOTV advantage looms largest. As the story goes, their deployment of corporate marketing techniques -- merging different databases to identify Republican voters within Democratic strongholds, or microtargeting -- combined with their 72-hour program offers them a nearly unbeatable advantage on election day. Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallstein's One Party Country -- the bible for electoral pessimists -- argues that the Republican Party's microtargeting abilities have grown so great that traditional polling is almost useless in predicting voting outcomes. The GOP can turn many, many more of their voters out to the polls, so even if both parties have 49 percent of the theoretical vote, the GOP will get ballot from 95 percent of their 49 percent, while the Democrats will languish in the 80's (or something).

Over at The Democratic Strategist, Alan Abramovitz throws some cold water on this thinking. He analyzes Ohio in 2004 and finds that, lo and behold, the Democrats actually turned out more new voters, with a lower error rate, than did the Republicans. His data is very convincing, and too voluminous to effectively summarize here. The obvious counterargument, of course, is that the Ohio GOTV effort was largely spearheaded by Americans Coming Together, a well-funded 527 that has ceased to exist on the Democratic side. But then, I would bring that up, wouldn't I?

--Ezra Klein

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