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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 12, 2012

 
More GOTV won't help the GOP, Part II

by David Atkins

I mentioned earlier that despite the insistence of many conservatives that the problem isn't their message but rather the lack of a voter turnout operation to match that of the Democrats, it just isn't true:

Because, simply put, there are many more progressive voters in this country than conservative ones, and conservative voters are much more reliable. If we could guarantee 100% turnout, Republicans would never win another national election.

As effective as the Obama ground game was, Democrats still have a great deal of room to grow our vote among the young and the economically disadvantaged who traditionally vote much less frequently. Republican voters are a smaller (and shrinking) share of the electorate and effectively turn themselves out to vote. Also, as Digby has noted here in the past, most of the conservative "cusp" voters are social conservatives whom the evangelical and hardcore Catholic churches are already working hard to turn out. Ralph Reed didn't just go away.

Then there's the fact that money just isn't as good at buying a ground game as it is at buying TV. A good ground game is much less effective if the people working the ground don't really believe in the cause. Paid precinct walkers are notoriously unreliable and constantly fake data if their hearts and souls aren't in the game.
Despite some high-profile failures, we're starting to learn just how significant the real Republican voter turnout operation was:

And yet, in the end, evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Romney — even matching the presidential vote of Mormons: 78 percent for Mr. Romney and 21 percent for Mr. Obama, according to exit polls by Edison Research.

“We did our job,” said Mr. Reed, who helped pioneer religious voter mobilization with the Christian Coalition in the 1980s and ’90s, and is now founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. He said that his organization outdid itself this year, putting out 30 million voter guides in 117,000 churches, 24 million mailings to voters in battleground states and 26 million phone calls.

“Those voters turned out, and they voted overwhelmingly against Obama,” Mr. Reed said. “But you can’t be driving in the front of the boat and leaking in the back of the boat, and win the election.

“You can’t just overperform among voters of faith,” he continued. “There’s got to be a strategy for younger voters, unmarried voters, women voters — especially single women — and minorities.”
Much as Republicans might fantasize, better GOTV won't fix this problem. They don't have a tactical problem. They have a values problem. A majority of the American public simply doesn't want what they're selling.


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