How to Determine Who Is Likely to Vote in November by Brad Chism

By at September 27, 2012 | 3:18 pm | Print

How to Determine Who Is Likely to Vote in November by Brad Chism

Brad Chism Zata 3

Just ask them, right?

Actually NO. A study this year by Harvard professor Todd Rogers and a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner pollster Masa Aida found that a person’s previous vote history was a much better indicator of his vote probability than his response to a question about his intentions to vote.

Many persuasion calls to swing voters begin with the question of whether the person intends to vote in the fall. Traditionally, all those who said NO and in some cases those who said “unsure” were dropped from the persuasion call. Campaign strategists reasoned that it was a waste of money to talk to a person who confessed he wasn’t planning to vote. Similarly, many Persuasion GOTV calls to base voters begin with a question about intentions to vote with the No’s and Maybe’s culled from the list.

The Rogers/GQR analysis of nationwide data from the 2008 Presidential election, the 2009 NJ statewide races and the 2011 WI recall election suggest that this Will You Vote? question may be a waste of money. We agree and recommend that campaigns eliminate that “are you voting” question and use that time on the phone for a more interactive discussion with targets who have a solid vote history.

Here’s a useful chart with our suggested priority of base voter targets for GOTV calling, in descending order of the best bang for your buck. (Note that we distinguish between a media market and a state—parts of northern Red State KY are in the Cincinnati media market and will get the same deluge of TV commercials as do Ohio natives across the border.)

DPI

Turnout Score

Pres Race Media Mkt

Precinct Tendency

High

High

Red or Blue

High

Medium

Red or Blue

High

High

Swing

High

Medium

Swing

High

Low

Blue

Blue

High

Low

Red

Blue

High

Low

Blue

Red

High

Low

Red

Red

 

  1. Base voters who are not in swing media markets who have a high Democratic Performance Index (DPI) and a high turnout score. This is the least costly universe to turn out.
  2. Base voters in Solid Red and Solid Blue media markets with a high DPI but midrange turnout score need multiple touches. But their vote history makes them good GOTV targets.
  3. Base voters in swing states media markets who have high DPI and a high turnout score. They need a little nudge but nearly all know the election is pending.
  4. Base voters in swing state media markets who have a high DPI and moderate turnout score. They need multiple touches.
  5. Base voters in solid Blue states with a high DPI and a low turnout score who reside in “Blue Precincts.” (Click here for our discussion on Red Precinct Democrats).
  6. Base voters in solid Red States with a high DPI and a low turnout score who reside in “Blue Precincts.”
  7. Base voters in Solid Blue states with a high DPI and low turnout score who reside in “Red Precincts.”
  8. Base voters in solid red states with a high DPI and low turnout score who reside in “Red Precincts.”

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and we welcome your call or email about your particular race(s).

Brad Chism, Partner and Senior Strategist of Zata|3 Consulting. Zata|3 helps elect Democrats and advance progressive causes by integrating telephone voter contact programs with a campaign’s other messaging. Zata|3 offers a full range of automated and live calling programs, from the initial ID call to the final GOTV message. Other services to reach your targeted voters include: SMS (text) messaging, Zata|Forum™ Telephone Town Halls, Zata|Pulse® Interactive Automated Surveys, and, coming soon, web-based Zata|Live™ Video Forum Town Halls.

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