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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Getting Out the Facts on Getting Out the Vote

By Alan Abramowitz
An op-ed by Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger in Sunday’s L.A. Times gives the impression that the GOP now enjoys a clear advantage when it comes to voter mobilization. However, the evidence from the 2004 election simply doesn’t support this view. According to the 2004 National Election Study, both parties dramatically increased their voter mobilization efforts in 2004 but Democrats did a better job of contacting voters than Republicans. According to the NES survey, the percentage of voters contacted by the GOP increased from 26 percent in 2000 to 29 percent in 2004 while the percentage contacted by Democrats increased from 23 percent in 2000 to 32 percent in 2004.
Ohio in 2004 is often cited as an example of the GOP’s superiority in the ground game but, again, the evidence doesn’t support this view. Between 2000 and 2004, the Republican vote in Ohio increased by an impressive 21.7% but the Democratic vote increased by an even more impressive 25.4%.
Democrats will need to work hard to match the Republicans’ GOTV effort in 2006, but the evidence from the 2004 election shows that the much-vaunted GOP advantage in the ground game is largely a myth.

One comment on “Getting Out the Facts on Getting Out the Vote

  1. John McCutchen on

    I am not sure of the internaals of the system. A friend who must remain nameless said it was not what it was cracked up to be in LAT article pre-election ’04
    I am fuzzy on the dttails now, but I recall reading a number of news articles – sources obvious – that contrasted and compared GOTV systems and all I recall I my conclusion, filling in the gaps from extensive low tech GOTV.
    My conclusion was pretty much what this LAT reports, ie by 2006 the system would be up and running nationwide. 2002 – test in selected districts. 2004 – full operation 2006 – the party would have developed sufficient experience with the system and enough volunteer resources (GOP has trouble getting walkers) and bad news if the Democratic party doesn’t have similar
    The reason we do not have similar is that we have had no national organization building and the reason we haven’t had that is that we have relied on labor, women’s rights groups etc. to do the work for the Party


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