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Re: Michele Bachmann on Chris Matthews

What I find so interesting about the “patriotism/Flagpin/Anti-American” discussion is people are afraid to give definitions.


Understanding GOTV

GOTV (Get Out The Vote) is simply a collection of techniques used by political campaigns (and non-profits) to get voters to actually vote. The phone calls, lit pieces in the mail (or stuck in your door), the TV advertising and even townhall meetings are all forms of GOTV.

How effective are the various techniques?

There is a lot of information on this Yale site and a good book on the subject.


This study examines the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) and persuasion effects of partisan direct mail and phone calls on voter behavior. The conclusions are based on experimental field research from a 2002 state gubernatorial primary election. The study finds that neither partisan direct mail nor partisan phone calls, used independently or together, garner significant GOTV or persuasion effects. It also questions the common usage of self reported survey data as a means of evaluating the effectiveness of these types of communications. The findings in this study extend previous research on campaign communications by examining partisan communications and by looking at both the GOTV and persuasion effects of those communications. The results call for further examination of how to most effectively and efficiently communicate with and persuade potential voters.

(Emphasis mine)

I’ve done phonebanking before, and I’ve seen some evidence it works (the GOP has numbers which show phone calls, properly targeted, can help with certain groups of voters) but on the whole, if there’s no “ground game” there’s little chance of changing the outcome of an election. Which is why I generally ignore requests to do phonebanks. Sure, I’ll do them, but only if there’s a strong grassroots campaign to go with it. (And considering my BPOU has shifted over entirely to phonebanking this year, well…)

One can get lost in the dizzying amount of information out there in regards to political technology and GOTV efforts, but it should be remembered the best way to get a vote is for the candidate to meet with the prospective voter face to face.

(The Yale research site summarizes all their findings here, and it includes a lot of discussion on phonebanks)