Red Precinct Democrats by Brad Chism

By at July 30, 2012 | 3:37 pm | Print

Red Precinct Democrats by Brad Chism

Brad Chism - Red Precinct Dems

Voters who consider themselves the political minority in a community- that their choice of candidate differs from a majority of voters- are less likely to believe that their ballot choices remain confidential. And the more crowded the polling place, the more apprehensive these “minority opinion” voters become about ballot secrecy. This is true for both Democrats and Republicans according to a Winter 2011 study in the Public Opinion Quarterly. This lack of faith in the system had a chilling effect on “minority opinion” voter turnout.

The explosion in voter profile data and advanced microtargeting make it easy to find potential Democratic voters in heavy Republican precincts. Given the financial advantages of most GOP campaigns this year, progressives cannot afford to ignore the “Red Precinct Democrats.” And in light of this research, campaigns in search of these “RPD’s” may want to consider three steps to boost voter turnout. To read more about this study click here.

  1. Field operations should accept that these RPD’s are likely to be more apprehensive about going to the polls than their friends in majority Democratic precincts. These canvassing and phone scripts to RPD’s should include reassurances about ballot confidentiality and ballot integrity.


  1. Democratic campaigns should appreciate that volunteers at the polls are even more important in “hostile” territory. The study found that “minority opinion” voters didn’t get as alarmed about the official poll workers as they did about large numbers of “majority opinion” voters. Rules vary by state and election type on the distance that partisan pollworkers must keep from the polling booths. But campaigns will agree that the closer the better and will look for workers with skill in troubleshooting on ballot integrity issues.


  1. Third, where the field operation involves rides to the polls, canvassing teams are likely to have more success convincing RPD’s to visit the polls in slower hours—rubbing shoulders with as few Republicans as possible.

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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