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The old way will always be the best way

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Andrew Sullivan highlighted this WaPo WonkBlog post over the weekend, and I thought it was worth sharing. The excerpt is from an interview of Sasha Issenberg, the author of “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.” Most of the pros here will already know this stuff, but it always helps to repeat it

Two political scientists at Yale, Donald Green and Alan Gerber, went out and did a field experiment, which was a big deal at the time because political science lagged behind other social sciences in using field experiments to measure cause and effect in elections.

The first experiment was that they created a local GOTV [get out the vote] drive in New Haven and had voters get a reminder from a postcard, a canvasser, or paid callers, and then had a control group, who got nothing. And we learn there that the phone call group had no increase in voting, mail had a small increase, and there was a big boost from the in-person contact. It was hard to get the paper published because they made no theoretical contributions to debates going on in the discipline. It was almost embarrassingly practical. But it was the first time that anyone had developed a method for assessing the effectiveness of anything the campaigns spent money on.

The campaigns went out and did a bunch more of these comparative effectiveness studies, as opposed to mass media, where it’s really hard to isolate voters and implement controls. When you’re measuring turnout and registration rates, it’s very easy to select some people to get your mail. In that case, the dependent variable is whether they voted or registered, which is an easy thing to track. In the last few years it’s moved a lot to the behavioral psychology-informed bent, trying to demonstrate things that have been demonstrated in lab experiments about how to change motivations around voting.

In-person doorstep contact is more effective at mobilizing voters than phone calls. Volunteer phone calls are better than paid phone calls. Voters are able to sense the difference. We know that what people in politics now call “chatty scripts,” where the caller or canvasser is encouraged to have an open-ended back and forth, are much more effective than robotic scripts.

Now there’s been a whole body of work on which types of language are better at getting people to vote. Almost all of them have to do with changing the dynamic around voting. The best messages often don’t have much to do with the candidates or issues but with mobilizing voting and getting people excited for the election. Referring to people as voters has been shown to increase somebody’s likelihood of voting. We have a whole sort of body of research about the contact and the quality of contact that we didn’t 15 years ago.

This is one big reason why Republican candidates in Illinois are often at a disadvantage. They rely too much on robocalls and not nearly enough on in-person contacts. The House Democrats, on the other hand, make sure their candidates walk 40-50 hours a week for months. They have people in the precincts every day, not just bused-in folks for Saturday afternoon blitzes.

* I often tell the story of my paternal Grandmother, a lifelong Democrat. Back in, I think 1959, she met John F. Kennedy at a Teamsters Union event where he put his arm around her, kissed her on the cheek and told my grandfather that he had a beautiful wife. You just couldn’t say a bad word about JFK to her, ever - or a Democrat, for that matter. But Grandma voted for a Republican in a county race years ago because he came to her door and asked for her vote. She had known the Democratic candidate for decades, but he didn’t ask for her vote that year.

There is absolutely no substitute for physically touching voters. And there never will be. Talk all you want about technology. But unless the tech is directly related to helping a physical street canvass, then it’s mostly a waste of money.

And if you can’t touch them, using volunteers to talk with voters is the next best thing. Robocalls are cheap, which is why they’re so over-used. And while they might have an impact at the margins, they’re nowhere near as effective as real people telling real stories about why they are voting for a candidate.

This is one big reason why Joe Walsh was able to ride the Republican wave in 2010 and defeat what many thought was a fairly safe incumbent Democratic congressperson. Walsh had people in the streets. He walked. His people walked. His organization reached out and touched them. He won and blew the establishment’s collective mind. That same year, the Statehouse Democrats held onto their majority by doing the same sort of thing, without the histrionics, of course, but you get the idea.


  1. - Tommydanger - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:31 am:

    Couldn’t agree with you more Rich. Since running for my first office over 30 years ago and ever since, I have gone door to door. I estimated I have personally knocked on over 50,000 doors in local and countywide elections. I have won four countywide elections as a Democrat in a Republican county.
    More times than I can count I have had voters tell me they were going to vote for me because I knocked on their door or that they remember when I did so in the past. As personal human contact becomes more and more removed from our day to day communications, it becomes even more important to voters to have that personal touch.

  2. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:36 am:

    Amen, Rich.

  3. - boat captain - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:37 am:

    I never listen to robocalls and am often insulted by them. They are either so slanted toward their message they are supporting or anti the other candidate. I may be old fashion but like the meeting the candidate or their volunteers to get a feel of their position in person. And can ask questions of them in what I am interested in to get an idea of where their position is on issues that concern me.

  4. - Esquire - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:38 am:

    “But Grandma voted for a Republican in a county race years ago because he came to her door and asked for her vote. She had known the Democratic candidate for decades, but he didn’t ask for her vote that year.”

    Former Democratic House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill told an almost identical story in his memoirs. During one of his earliest races for the Massachusetts state legislature, one of his neighbors did not vote for him simply because he had never asked the woman for her vote. O’Neill automatically assumed that he would receive her vote. He said that this was a valuable lesson that he never forgot afterwards.

  5. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:42 am:

    Agree completley. In person contact the key - for anything the size of a Congressional District or smaller.

    For anything statewide, though, unless you have all the locals lined up for you, I think TV and mail is the way to go.

  6. - Wensicia - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:42 am:

    I switched from land line to cell phones about twelve years ago. The robocalls ceased. They’ve since been replaced by annoying, repetitive e-mails. Brad Schneider must have gotten my address from the Obama people.

    I appreciate face-to-face and will consider candidates who take the time to answer questions. I mean really answer them, not just switch to political talking points like they do when debating.

  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 8:53 am:

    Considering the general attitude of voters toward politics and pols, the mere act of a door to door intro shows a certain courage, or recklessness - but ambition for sure. They get points for that…

  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:07 am:

    4 votes a precinct in Cook, really just 2 houses in every precinct that did NOT vote for Brady or Quinn, in Cook County …and you get them to vote for Brady … Things would be SO different.

    What I love when talking to others in My party are the excuses … to why they don’t want to walk precincts.

    “It really doesn’t work”,
    “Voters HATE to be bothered”,
    “Voters lie to you at the door”,
    “Mail into a precinct is probably better contact, overall”,
    “Those are NOT our precincts, so wy even go into there”…

    4 votes.

    The impact of someone working a precinct for 8 weeks, and “owning” that precinct, and understanding where their “pluses” are and getting those “pluses”… to the polls to have the greatest impact, both percentage-wise, and raw vote wise, …is the greatest use of resources for a successful campaign.

    No one has even answered my question about “Call me, Maybe?” for the ILGOP and the Chicago Republican’s “Song and Dance Team” of HOW was all that calling was used to generate a successfull GOTV on Election Day, and further, ON Election Day, how many of those voters had contact IN their precinct to get out to vote on Election Day that both the ILGOP and the Chicago GOP contacted?

    Neither knows … do they?

    I got ripped for not “liking” the Chicago Republicans’ video about coming over, and eating pizza, and making phone calls, but no one explained the end game, or answered my question because the multi-million phone calls… were a waste, becasue no one had the mechanism to get people to the polls, and the ILGOP and the H&SGOP had no ground game weeks earlier to have the impact needed to ….”overcome” … the Map… because it was really “just” the Map that has been the problem …

    The best GOP model for the problems/issues for the GOP to overcome the lack of precinct “work” is the “W Model”, the Geo. W. Bush precinct level field operation used to get people involved at the precinct level. If you think you “understand” Field Operations, and never heard how they set up their Field Operations, or how they worked, then you are not follwing how Field Operations work.

    Work a precinct for 3 months, and watch how others on an Election Day try to come in and “work the polling place”, as you know the voters, know who are “yours”, know who has a yard sign up for the oppostition, who already voted early, or absentee, as the “other” guy is chasing Mr. & Mrs. Jones, who they never met, and already voted absentee, because you TALKED with them, and you know your Precinct.

    The GOP Candidate for Governor, come next Primary, tha thas the best Field Operation has the best opportunity to win, and then to win in November.

    There are going to be at least 4 candidates running, and fishing from the same pool of voters, and guess what? Some of the voters the last time, are not your voters this time …

    That will be the “Biggest” field mistake someone will make.

    As - Tommydanger - as posted, and as many “Republicans in Democratic areas” and visa-versa will attest when winning in areas the other party usually shouldn’t state…

    “I walked, every day, talked to everyone, and on Election Day, I was able to get to the voters who were going to vote for me, on that day.”

    I am going to watch very closely to see who can get it done Field-Wise. Remember, if we in the ILGOP have a winner in the Primary with no Field Operation, or even a “Field OPerational Plan”, how the heck are we in the GOP going to take out the Dem Nominee?

    As Brady’s Crew, and the HGOP and the SGOP were measuring Drapes, or counting “wins”… Quinn Crew, the Unions, the HDems, the SDems … they were formulating how to get voters to the polls …

    Who won again?

    That’s what I thought …

    The OLD Ways work …

  9. - Anon - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:08 am:

    There is nothing like a freebee either. They love nail files and pens.

  10. - MrJM - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:11 am:

    Another positive side-effect of in person voter contact is that it inevitably improves the candidate. Nothing tests a candidates ideas and sharpens her message like walking away from a door thinking, “Good god, I never want to get bulldozed by THAT question again.”

    – MrJM

  11. - Bill White - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:13 am:

    I love this snippet at the end of the Issenberg piece:

    === “We’re [GOP] going to lose forever unless we figure out how to make our campaigns better.” That’s the first step.

    The second step is finding social scientists who want anything to do with the Republican party in the 21st century, and that probably won’t be solved on Tuesday one way or the other. That’s a bigger cultural problem. ===

  12. - Oakparker - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:32 am:

    I have found that not only do you pick up plus voters when you work precincts, but you can also recruit your avid plus voters to help do GOTV on election day. I can remember campaigns where I knew no one in a precinct when I started, but by election day had recruited a whole GOTV organization.

  13. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    There’s a place for all of the methods described above (let’s allso add the social media component to the list), but the biggest piece is individual voter contact. Personal voter contact does not necessarily need to take place on the doorstep (although that is probably the most effective place). Personally, I like Christmas Tree lightings, a diligent candidate and his team can hit hundreds of folks in the time it would take to walk 50 hours. Another of my favorites is business district trick-or-treat days.

  14. - ZC - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    The methods are fairly simple in concept (though not in rigorous implementation). The GOP doesn’t need social scientists to tell them how to do a randomized experiment (and in any case it has some, like Daron Shaw at UT Austin).

    It’s not so Illinois I know, but nationally, the GOP also has this temptation problem that their campaign consultants have far more access to tetchy billionaires willing to throw 10 million into a super PAC campaign. Who cares if your client wins or loses, or if it’s a smart use of campaign dollars, if you can claim 10% of that as a commission? Being in the GOP is all about capitalism and making money, right?

  15. - Bill Edley - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:35 am:

    Madigan’s staff held a candidate campaign seminar 25 years ago with Murray Fishel, a Political Science Phd from Kent State as the political consultant. It became known as the Fishel Method …i.e. that the hands down best voter contact is the candidate standing on the voter’s front porch asking for their vote. The next best is a local volunteer.

    Simple and direct.

    Interestingly, I’ve found the more campaign staff and volunteers in the campaign office that are drinking coffee and chatting on the phone, the more likely I’ve signed up for a losing campaign. Winners generally have one person answering the phone and everyone else out hitting the doors.

  16. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:35 am:

    When I was moving into my house 25 years ago, the first person to greet me was the Dem precinct captain, who’s lived on my street all his life. He brought two of his sons-in-law and they all helped unload the U-Haul.

    Later in the day, his wife brought over cookies.

    He’s long retired and in his 80s now, but he still works the precinct. Not just election time, but all year. He walks his dog and talks to everyone.

    He knows my kids’ names, how old they are and what they’re up to. He’s a pillar of the neighborhood. And around election time, he asks if he can count on me to vote Dem. I don’t always say yes, but he always asks.

    In those same 25 years, I’ll pulled a GOP primary ballot a number of times. The only contact — at all — that I’ve ever received from any GOP candidate or organization was mail from Jason Plummer when he was running for lt. gov.

    My precinct piles up big Dem numbers.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    ===Personally, I like Christmas Tree lightings, a diligent candidate and his team can hit hundreds of folks in the time it would take to walk 50 hours.===

    A “Stop and Knock” Blitz of a precinct or two works well, as do the others you point to, but the reality comes down to wether or not a candidate “contols” the precincts and the polling places when contacting the voter matters most, and if we in the ILGOP, or any Candidate in the GOP for any off the offices, can not see the value of a stable Field Operation, cultivating that now, months ahead of time, and understanding the numbers and how every single vote matters…

    Than the idea of even doing a “Stop and Knock” blitz may not bear fruit when you need the fruit most … Election Day.

    Good points, - Cincinnatus -.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    - wordslinger -,

    Nothing is more depressing, than working a precinct AGAINST a precinct captain you described

    “How does Sally like College?”
    “How was the trip to the Dells last month?”
    “I saw you spouse at the store and said you would be voting today …”

    Yikes!… You got big troubles.

    I remember stories of the “Precinct Captain” coming to the house on the 18th Birtday of the child in the house and registering them.

    Like a Rite of Passage.

    That is Old School too.

  19. - mongo - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:47 am:

    A popular state senator used to (I don’t know if he still does) give away nail files with his name on them. I looked surprised when he showed me one, and he laughed and told me every woman in his county was saying his name in the bedroom.

    That made me laugh…so yes, don’t ignore the value of some very inexpensive thing that still is useful…

  20. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    You want my vote? Personally ask me for it. If you are a progressive, you get it, and if you are a conservative, you get it along with a fiscal contribution, yard signs, bumper stickers, and me walking the neighborhood for you.

    Any man or woman decent enough to come to my house and ask - gets my vote.

  21. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    ===Another positive side-effect of in person voter contact is that it inevitably improves the candidate. Nothing tests a candidates ideas and sharpens her message like walking away from a door thinking, “Good god, I never want to get bulldozed by THAT question again.”

    “Democrat, huh. So are you one of them babykillers?

    “Why? You got any in there?”

    Fine moments in being tired on the campaign trail.

  22. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 10:17 am:


    Great description of old time precinct captain. They are indeed a dying breed, but where they remain, man, they are unbeatable.

    Precinct captains used to be a pillar of every great city Ward Organization, and also made neighborhoods a nicer place to live. They made sure they streets and curbs were fixed, the garbage picked up, the trees trimmed, and the crime minimal. The saying is the precinct captain is the best neighbor on the block - regardless of your political persuation.

    Theres many reasons why there just aren’t that many of them around anymore. I sorta think its a shame.

  23. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    Though I can easily understand how it happens and don’t blame the callers, it’s weird getting cold calls from an organization a few weeks after having requested and not received information about their candidate’s stand on specific issues.

    If staff is available to make phone calls or knock on doors, it wouldn’t hurt to crosscheck requests for candidate views on specific issues and address those concerns BEFORE knocking or calling.

    Robo-calls should be banned.

  24. - langhorne - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    i cant verify the accuracy, but the story goes that illinois has elected precinct committemen because of mayor daley. he said he wanted them elected because if the guy couldnt get himself elected in his own neighborhood, he didnt want him working on the mayors campaigns.

  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 11:01 am:

    ===i cant verify the accuracy, but the story goes that illinois has elected precinct committemen because of mayor daley. he said he wanted them elected because if the guy couldnt get himself elected in his own neighborhood, he didnt want him working on the mayors campaigns. ===

    One problem with your story: Precinct captains are appointed in Chicago.

  26. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    =No one has even answered my question about “Call me, Maybe?” for the ILGOP and the Chicago Republican’s “Song and Dance Team” of HOW was all that calling was used to generate a successfull GOTV on Election Day, =

    Obviously, when it comes to Republicans–especially our young Republicans, there’s no pleasing OW.

    “Call Me Maybe” was designed to recruit members and volunteers who will stick with it over the long haul.

    Must be nice to be able to disregard all of the CYRs’ other efforts, which include alot of pounding the pavement.

    Jealous much?

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    OW will also probably be the last to admit that even though they started out as a “Right” group, they’ve managed to recruit and maintain members that are just as diverse at ILGOP itself is…or should we be speaking in the past tense now that “purists” like OW have taken over the mike?

  28. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    === Obviously, when it comes to Republicans–especially our young Republicans, there’s no pleasing OW. ===

    I think what OW is saying is that whatever it is you guys are doin… ain’t working. The old campaign field operation stuff does. I know that in many of the suburban targeted legislative races, there was no field operations… and those candidates not only lost, but lost big.

  29. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    No, Fred. OW finds a target because s/he has a bone to pick with certain people–that s/he probably has never met–and then begins to fire away.

  30. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    OOOOOOOkie dokie

  31. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    Do you know anything about the history of our CYRs, Fred? About where they started and where they are now–in Chicago, yet? Those young men and women have alot to be proud of.

    Unlike another group I can think of that claims to have a “big tent” policy and then spend every waking minute ripping the others apart because they’re so enamored with being the “tough guys of politics.”

  32. - Statesman - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    The ILGOP- has never had a problem raising campaign money (or spending it). The problem is -candidates are laiden with consultants that sell them ‘widgets’ that will never be a substitute for good old fashion ’shoe leather’.

    Far be it from Repubs to go out and pound the payment- they’ve earned their dues after all. But, time and again- I’ve seen them get out maneuvered in the trenches by the democrat operatives. The d’s master the basics of blocking and tackling with the R’s are all about the hail mary passes. The election results- speak to the effectiveness of each approach.

  33. - Statesman - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    As Brady’s Crew, and the HGOP and the SGOP were measuring Drapes, or counting “wins”… Quinn Crew, the Unions, the HDems, the SDems … they were formulating how to get voters to the polls …

    Who won again?

    That’s what I thought …

    The OLD Ways work _Oswego Willy

    WORD! Ding Ding!

  34. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    I honestly don’t know a thing about the CYR’s, and Im sure they have come a long way in recent years. Just from my reading of the comments, it seems like OW was talking about doing what it takes to win elections.

    I don’t want to single out the CYRs. All I am saying is that in this past cycle, the GOP in IL did not had a good field operations plan in place for targeted legislative races. As a result, there weren’t many GOP victories last fall.

  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    Well, Fred, then tell me this. Can’t Willy make a point or provide constructive criticism or advice without ripping someone else apart–especially other Republicans?

  36. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    I have been very constructive to what can be done, what are some options, heck I even expressed what I had hoped COULD be done, hit the “Google” key.

    You ever answer that Oberweis/SSM agreement question?

  37. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    - Fred’s Mustache -

    Yes, thanks for reading my posts correctly. I am, indeed, talking about what it takes to win.

    Appreciate that.

  38. - Fred's Mustache - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    === Well, Fred, then tell me this. Can’t Willy make a point or provide constructive criticism or advice without ripping someone else apart–especially other Republicans?===

    It sounds like I may have interjected myself into a personal dispute without knowing it. Maybe Willy should be the one responding to your questions. Ill let you guys hash it out.

  39. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:52 pm:

    =You ever answer that Oberweis/SSM agreement question? =

    Yes, I did.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Well, enlighten us … what was it?

  41. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    I agree the personal touch is always the best. And things like the Christmas Tree Lighting also work; I first met my current Senator at one of those when he took the time to chat with a number of us.

    The other key item is to always ASK for the vote. So many people forget that. And it’s not just in person. I can’t tell you the number of ads I’ve heard and watched that failed to cinch the deal by closing with a request for a vote.

  42. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    I’m sorry you missed it all, Willy. Hit the “google key.”

  43. - Midstate Indy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    Personalization is the key. How better to personalize an election than to interact with voters personally…

    Knocking doors, visiting church groups, attending meetings of the retired teachers organization are all great ways to both add and deepen a point of contact to targeted voters. It’s a great story to tell that Grandma got a hug from JFK, and I’m sure she kept telling it. That personal contact, whether on the doorstep, in the union hall, or at the YMCA fundraiser is still personal contact, and must be made to be a successful candidate. Some people vote on issues, everybody votes on perception…give them personal contact and a chance to talk about issues & people frequently legitimize a candidate in their own minds & establish a perception of success about the candidate. If the organization is adept, this then creates momentum, which then creates a win.

    Regarding the tactics of the CYR’s, I had to google that video, and it’s depressing on several levels. As a young center-right’er, if you want to make a parody video, get a job with comedy central…If you want to be proactive, vote, run for office, and challenge the failing leadership in your party. Create momentum.

  44. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 1:05 pm:


    Go hide in the shadows.

    If you have any dorect questions, I will answer.


    Not jeaouls at all of the CYR, they are doing great! I hope that the ILGOP and the H&SGOP coordinate with them to be as impactful as possible.

    BTW, I read back some of that, you never said, that you agreed or disagreed with Oberweis… Maybe you should check back with us all when you find it.

    It says alot about someone who can;t answer direct questions. Pretty embarrassing.

  45. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    – I can’t tell you the number of ads I’ve heard and watched that failed to cinch the deal by closing with a request for a vote.–

    I agree. A lot of political ads seem to be made for the agency’s reel, and not the candidate.

    It’s appropriate, in some cases, as in introductory image advertising not to have a call-to-action, but that’s rare.

    Advertising 101: AIDA (this pre-dates Mamet’s Alec Baldwin rant in “Glengarry.”

    A — Attention

    I — Incentive (why should I keep listening/watching)

    D — Detail

    A — Action (as Alec would say, “always be closing.”

    One caveat: I’d love to see any post-air research on Schneider’s spot last cycle featuring LBJ talking about Medicare. I thought it was riveting (it certainly got my attention), but I wonder if it moved the needle at all. Which is the purpose of the exercise.

  46. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 1:12 pm:

    ===The other key item is to always ASK for the vote.===


    If they are a “Yes”, “Would you like a Yard Sign?”

  47. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:08 pm:

    One more comment: always listen (or at least pretend) to the voter in front of you and try to address the issues being presented. One time Mrs RNUG went to a ‘women only’ get together for a alderman candidate we thought we wanted to support. She had a healthy sized check already made out in her purse. After the candidate blew off her concerns, she came home with that check …

  48. - markg8 - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    NFL Films has a video of Jon Gruden as head coach of the Bucs the year they won the Super Bowl over his former team, the Raiders back in the early 2000s. It’s the third quarter and he’s talking to his coaches upstairs thru his headset wondering out loud why Oakland isn’t running such a such play. Says they’d kill us in the defense we’re in. Then he has an “aha!” moment. He realizes for whatever reason, Gannon’s arm was sore, the tight end was gimpy they CAN’T run it. He’s overjoyed and practically yelling into the mic, “they can’t do it, they can’t do it!”

    I had a similar epiphany about Republicans. I wondered why they didn’t try to build an organization like OFA after 2008. Then I realized what would happen if they sent an army of door knockers into the field with their heads full of FOX News nonsense. Where I live one of their best and brightest is the right hand man of the township chair. He must weigh 350 lbs and while younger than me would probably break a hip if he tried walking a precinct. But the worst part of it is his knowledge of politics and policy is relegated to silly lies like Obama’s dog has a $100,000 a year handler and poor people caused the financial crisis.

  49. - reformer - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    Regarding the Walsh victory over Bean in 2010, there was one more important factor: the Green Party candidate siphoned 6,500 votes away from the Democrat. Walsh won by 290.

  50. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:37 pm:

    ===Walsh won by 290.===

    A good field operation “finds” votes, and Bean ran a very DC, incumbent, “Rose Garden” canpaign while Walsh was constantly walking and knocking.

    Bean has no one to blame but herself, and Walsh won it in the Precincts with the Tea Party.

    290 is less than a vote a Precinct for a Congressional seat…

  51. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:47 pm:


    I’ve ended with a yard sign or two exactly that way!

  52. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    - RNUG -

    Back in the day, that might be “drink tickets” per sign at a fundraiser …

    We all aren’t inventing the wheel, but its cool how we all know how the wheel works …

    Good stuff, - RNUG -

  53. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 5:37 pm:

    Well, the study just confirms the best way to approach a campaign, if you can and it’s small enough and like someone above said, much bigger than a Congressional District, however, is usually too big to go door to door with the respectful, down-to-earth, we need/can I ask for your support for _ _ _ _ “in-person” approach, unless just about everybody State-wide is pretty-much strongly backing one endorsed candidate over another. And live, informal phone calls are always superior to the artificial-feeling robo-calls. Finally, when the candidate him/herSELF actually greets/chats with the voter, as in your Grandma’s case–by far the Candidate may’ve often struck gold in garnering another vote…

  54. - Madison - Monday, Mar 11, 13 @ 9:24 pm:

    I believe the “old way” is the best way, but on an organizational basis is being killed off. The patronage system is under attack, which both parties depended upon to recruit precinct captains.

  55. - bored now - Tuesday, Mar 12, 13 @ 3:41 am:

    interesting to see people agree, especially the people here who were arguing that bloomberg had this tremendous influence on the 2nd special even though robin kelly had more “pluses” (1s and 2s in the modern vernacular) than her closest opponent and was the only campaign in the race to run a real election day operation.

    what does one conclude from that? well, besides the fact that voter contact works, tv (or money) still has that seductive magic that focuses the common man’s attention away from the real campaign activity going on. hard to imagine that republicans in illinois really have a chance while they remain seduced by the “magic” of money and television…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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