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View Diary: CT-Sen: Q-poll's eve (275 comments)

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  •  Why (6+ / 0-)

    Do we always, always, always hear stories like this about last-minute phonebanking operations? Is this just how it works - that people will get multiple phone calls despite best efforts? Or maybe that's even the goal?

    •  One of the other volunteers (8+ / 0-)

      said that Lieberman people had been calling every day.  So it could be that just one campaign that doesn't have its shit together to track who it has and hasn't called will skew things - people just know they've gotten a lot of calls about the election and don't stop to see who they've been from.

      It does lower my commitment to doing this, though.  Part of me feels like, they're the campaign, they know what they're doing and I should be there for it.  But when I get stuff like that, or like in Pennsylvania in 2004 where I was going door to door and people had taken the doorbells off their houses because they were so sick of canvassers...I wonder whether I'm doing more harm than good.

      •  WWKD? (0+ / 0-)

        What would Karl do?

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Wed Aug 02, 2006 at 10:17:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Microtarget (11+ / 0-)

          Down to the individual voter level, and keep assiduous track of how many "touches" each has received.

          •  Why is this so hard? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            matt le w, vox humana

            I am genuinely curious.

            Fake Canadians are total hosers.

            by theran on Wed Aug 02, 2006 at 10:39:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (13+ / 0-)

              Not speaking particularly about the Lamont campaign because I don't know anything about. Also, there are reports here that it is the Lieberman team who are making excessive numbers of calls.

              However, I will say that, in general, campaigns seem hugely unwilling to pay people to do stuff, and to do it right. Just about the only thing they'll pay for are expensive media buys (which line the pockets of they very consultants who insist on them - see Gates, Crashing The).

              Most campaigns seem to want to devote every last dollar to paid media. Everything left over is scraps. So you have people saying, "Oh, we can get some open-source software to do phonebanking for free! And we can get volunteers to do it for free!" Free free free.

              And of course, you get what you pay for. I'm not talking about the people who volunteer to make the phone calls. Those people work from scripts, and obviously aren't at fault for any programmatic failures. (Unless, of course, you have a Conrad Burns view of the world.)

              I'm talking about the people running the various GOTV projects. If you don't actually pay someone competent a decent salary to do a committed job, then you're going to wind up with crud much of the time. Until campaigns start re-focusing their spending priorities, I think we'll continue to see plenty of crap.

              I'm convinced that a big part of the reason that the GOP GOTV operation is so damn good is because they actually hire and pay for top talent.

              •  Excessive calls (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madhaus, xtrarich, hhex65, fugue

                This is interesting..  I wonder what's really going on.  Who benefits from low turnout?  Who benefits from a badly coordinated operation with a high number of volunteers who manage to call the same people over and over?  Who's messing with expectations by floating the rumor that the Q poll shows a Lamont blowout?

                Just sayin', this all seems oddly like history repeating itself to me.

                Where's my orange hat

              •  First I'll say (5+ / 0-)

                that that's a great comment.

                Second I'll say, to some degree you get what you pay for with volunteers doing calls.  Not really, of course.  You get a lot of great, dedicated people doing incredible work.

                But I did hear a lot of variation among the volunteers making calls this afternoon.  In some cases that was great - people sounded genuinely human and invested and you could tell they were doing it because they were passionate about the race and I'm sure it was harder for people to be rude to them.  In other cases...not so much.  Maybe people were half-following the script but cutting corners in ways that sounded a little less polite - not intentionally, just that they weren't thinking about how these were strangers and all.  Maybe people weren't actually following the script, were taking too long to get to the point, offering all kinds of pointless extra information about how they were sitting in Lamont headquarters blah blah blah.  (I'm not claiming perfection for myself, either - my liability on the phone or in person is a reluctance to seal the deal.  I ask people the first question and tend to wimp out on the follow-ups that might get actual action out of them.)

                I think this might point to a problem with the kind of huge last-minute push - that experienced staff don't really have the chance to train or even to evaluate volunteers and try to do a little triage, maybe push the less ept ones toward work where they won't be interacting with the public as much.  You know, you walk in, they plunk you down at a phone with 2 minutes of instruction, and you go to it.  

                But I think the degree to which we can find fault with campaigns for these kinds of things varies by the campaign.  Basically, did they have reason to believe it would be so tight at the end?  If they knew a tight one was coming, they should've been ready.  If, like Lamont, they had no reason to believe it would be this close until quite recently, then they just deserve our awed respect for keeping all these balls in the air at all.

                •  Right (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  That's why I kept my comments generalized. I have no idea what is going on specifically with the Lamont campaign (or the Lieberman campaign for that matter). But, in general, the extremely unwillingness of campaigns to pay for shit is a serious problem.

                  It sort of dovetails with what I might call the "Liberal Purity Fantasy" - ie, a real liberal works for free, 80 hours a week, because he believes in the cause. If he can't quit his paying job, or if he demands money, then he's a fraud and a failure.

                  Now, I don't think the consultant class harbors these views - to the contrary, they have no problem with money. The liberal purity trolls, rather, seem to be a fringe group - but one with suprising currency. My point only is that you have dual dysfunctions in the liberal world (the paid media consultant class and the purity trolls), which make it even harder for the idea of "paying good people for good work" to catch on.

                  •  The dovetail. (0+ / 0-)

                    Is it sort of a divide of people within the campaign full-time are expected to do it for below minimum wage, while money goes to people brought in from outside?  So you have your cake and eat it too - the campaign is pure and only has to deal with people impure enough to earn good money on a consultancy basis.

                    I guess in a weird way you end up replicating the US - some people making lots, some people making ridiculously little, very few people in the middle.  The question then is, is there a way to reorganize the structure so that more people make in the middle and fewer at the extremes?

            •  turf wars? (6+ / 0-)

              GOTV done by interest groups + turf wars (everyone has their own lists) = lack of coordination

              lack of a good central database + lack of a good data mining operation + lack of coordination amongst the groups doing GOTV = GOP wins

              See today (er, yesterday now) WaPo lead story on DCCC doing their own GOTV efforts because they don't have confidence in the DNC and so on

              I have no idea how we get out of this morass..

            •  Hey Dude! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              btw.  your wife sure is beautiful, and she has a lot of style.

              you must have a basket full of 4-leaf clovers!

              believe me, even if ya good lookin, we all need luck in life.

        •  He'd erect a Front to run smear commericals n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  I know! I know! (4+ / 0-)

          He'd create a house of cards that comes crashing down in November 2006. Am I right?

        •  he'd jam the damn Diebold (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Al Rodgers

          machines, don't cha know?

      •  I know what you mean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I did phone banking for MoveOn one year, and it was supposed to all be automated so I was the only one from MoveOn calling these people. So of course, it wasn't like that--I had the same experience, people asking me to stop calling.


        This space intentionally left blank.

        by BentLiberal on Wed Aug 02, 2006 at 10:22:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Landslides (0+ / 0-)

        This is going to be a landslide for Ned Lamont. When Labour won in 1997 by a landslide it was possible to feel the result a week or so before the election.

        On election night there was nowhere to go to get out the vote; it was all out - and it went on it's own, without being pushed.

        That's what happens in landslides; they pick up momentum and become unstoppable.

        November is beginning to smell the same way.

        Malcolm - apologising for electing Blair the Killer

        Men are from Mars, Women from Venus and Bush from Ur-anus!!

        by malc19ken on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 05:57:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Pros do that. (0+ / 0-)

      ...last year, digya get multple calls from Bloomie, and didn't David Garth oversea his campaign?

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        I'm on Vonage (which is automatically unlisted) and cell phone, so my numbers are not readily available.

        But then maybe this confirms my other possible guess - that campaigns do this intentionally, and that even if voters claim to be pissed off by these calls, it really still helps the campaign. Who knows.

        •  It's the 'three contact' theory (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DavidNYC, majcmb1, ChesCo Dem

          Contact a voter three times and they will usually turn out to vote.

          The corollary to this is "If you contact a voter too often, they might complain, but they won't hold it against your candidate."

          Both are more wrong than they are right. This is part of the Democratic CW that kills us. Voters often do need multiple contacts, but they don't need pestering phone bank volunteers calling them every other day. Voters are likely to respond better to multiple contacts, but they need to be of a differing variety. A phone call, then a lit drop/mailer, then a person-to-person canvass, and then either a robocall or another phone contact to get their ass to the polls.

          Too many phone calls will not usually turn a voter against your candidate, but they are A) a gigantic waste of resources and B) they may depress turnout. The second point is something of a theory but we have some evidence academically and locally , though with a small sample size, that this may be true. Always or likely turnout people make their intentions known fairly early in the process. They may need a giddy-up call (or canvass) late in the game, but they're pretty reliable. The people getting overwhlemed are often the undecideds (some people are obviously with your candidate, but will fool the less saavy volunteers), the leaners, and the unknowns. These people may get overwhelmed and decise that it's too traumatic to vote.

          I think the biggest challenge to an efficient ground game is a lack of coordination, which can be hindered by campagin finance laws, and poor or suspect information technology. Other candidates, of course, have their own plans, which complicates things even further.

          How do we make it better? Not sure just yet BUT we ARE working on it. This won't help Ned Lamont, but we're working on a ground campaign

    •  Had the odious (0+ / 0-)

      responsibility of organizing local dem phonebank in 2002 and affirm that they are a negative only because there are multiple entities phoning with the same message.  Organization, folks, is the key. Still believe local calls are the best, after face to face.

    •  Lots of phone calls on purpose (0+ / 0-)

      Here's the theory:

      being annoyed by someone calling or canvasing too much is not going to change your mind about voting.  Or at least is less likely to  turn you against than for.

      When someone says 'I will vote for you' it is very unlikely that you calling them over and over will change their mind.  They might get annoyed.  But the number of people who you get to vote who wouldn't have voted will be more than the number who get so annoyed they change their mind.

      If someone is 'undecided' then obviously they will be called constantly or door knocked a lot.

      I know that's the theory.  Lots of calls is not because of bad organization.

      Another reason for lots of calls is to 'kill the phones'  This means that if your opponent has something great they are trying to get out and you want to stop them, then you drown them out by making tons of calls.

      Lets say Lamont has a great phone script that is winning people over, or lets say that a big name does an endorsement and a targeted robo call (maybe its a name you don't want to put on air, but want to hit specific people, like Al Sharpton or something).  Now if Leiberman makes tons of calls then when someone realizes it is a political call they just hang up and the great message or endorsement is never gotten accross.  

      That's another reason.

      The reason's might be dumb, but my experience is that campaigns are fully aware when they repeatedly hassle people.

      On a side note: if you don't want to be called a lot in an election season always tell the caller that you are a die hard supporter of their opponent.  then there are no GOTV calls and no pursuasion calls.

      "You should run for office like you're one vote behind and if you get there, you should act like you won by one vote." - Tony Knowles

      by Snuffleupagus on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 05:02:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re:I Agree (0+ / 0-)

        When I've gotten canvassing calls from local Dems, I've always been happy to tell them they can count on my vote and my wife's.  If they call back, I just say the same thing and tell them to check off my name--they don't need to spend another second worrying about my vote.

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