Mike Kueber's Blog

November 1, 2012

The Romney campaign in Ohio

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:58 pm
Tags: , ,

Although I only spent seven hours volunteering for the Romney campaign in Ohio, I learned the following about how a highly organized, well-financed campaign is run on the ground (not the advertising):

  1. A detailed analysis of every voter’s historical voting record is invaluable.  The Romney campaign knows when each voter has bothered to vote in the past several years.  In Ohio, the voters must self-identify as Republican, Democrat, or independent, but in other states the same information can usually be determined by noting whether the voter participated in the Republican or Democratic primary. 
  2. Based on this voting analysis, the Romney campaign can identify reliable Republican voters, unreliable Republican voters, and swing voters, and then handle them accordingly.  Reliable voters can be taken for granted (at least at GOTV time), unreliable voters will be the focus of the Get out the Vote (GOTV) efforts at the end of the campaign, and swing voters will be subjected to informational/persuasive approaches.
  3. Creating a network of volunteers is essential.  The volunteers are deployed primarily to make door-to-door or phone contacts.  Campaign rallies are a prime location for finding volunteers.

Because I reported to the Romney campaign eight days before the election, it had recently shifted to its GOTV.  Because I feel that telephone calling is intrusive, I volunteered to do the door-to-door campaigning.  The Romney campaign gave me a list of voters in a neighborhood who usually voted Republican, but voted infrequently.  My job was (a) to put a door-hanger on every door in the neighborhood and (b) to actually knock on the door of the infrequent Republican voters and ask them two questions that were designed to make it more likely the person would eventually vote.  The two questions were:

  • Are you planning to vote early, absentee, or on Election Day?
  • If you are voting on Election Day, will you be voting in the morning, afternoon, or evening?

I also had a tertiary responsibility to let the voters know that Ohio Governor John Kasich and Ohio Senator Rob Portman would be speaking at a rally at our local headquarters in two days.   My campaign boss, who moved from KY to Columbus four months earlier, said that she wanted to pack the rally, not only to generate excitement and commitment, but also to enlist new volunteers for the last few days of the campaign. 

Obviously, this sort of organization is effective in generating more votes for the candidate.  But the problem is that it is really expensive (especially when you add in the advertising), which means that candidates must sell a part of themselves to people with money.  America would be better served if there were public financing of campaigns, with the candidates having only a modest budget that would not finance this type of overkill.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] if the Times had asked me, I would have told the reporter, as I have previously blogged, that the Romney campaign in Ohio was employing the same tactic on sporadic voters that the article […]

    Pingback by The Obama campaign’s academic dream team « Mike Kueber's Blog — November 14, 2012 @ 11:54 am | Reply


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