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And so the whole shootin’ match comes down to around 4 percent of the voters in six states. [...] Four percent of the presidential vote in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado is 916,643 people. That’s it. The American president will be selected by fewer than half the number of people who paid to get into a Houston Astros home game last year. [...]
That's Democratic strategist Paul Begala writing for the Daily Beast, bemoaning the campaigns' quest for swing voters and the outrageous sums of money that will be spent on convincing those few persuadables in the few states that can tip the election. In fact, according to his math, the $2 billion that will be spent on the election—in his mind, all of which is spent purely to sway those fewer-than-one-million minds—works out to $2,181 per swing voter.

Recent polling suggests that Begala isn't exaggerating too much, though. Swing voters have always been a small segment of the population, but at first glance it seems like there are fewer and fewer of them than ever. Polling back in spring of 2012, a point in the campaign where you might reasonably expect a lot of people to still be undecided, showed the vast majority of votes already locked down. Pew found that only 7 percent were truly undecided and not leaning in one party's direction or the other, while the first day of Gallup's tracking poll this year still found Barack Obama and Mitt Romney already taking over 90 percent of each of their party bases.

While it may be interesting to speculate on why there are so few swing voters any more—certainly the sorting-out of the parties into much clearer ideological and regional camps in the last few decades (with the gradual disappearance of conservative southern Democrats and moderate northeastern Republicans) has helped clear up a lot of people's uncertainty about where they belong, while the growth in news outlets with transparent partisan agendas helps reinforce existing political leans—the more important question becomes whether it's worth spending all that money on them. While no campaign should simply pretend swing voters don't exist and ignore them, eventually you reach a point of diminishing returns when trying to reach them (a point that's got to be somewhat lower than the $2,181 per swing voter cited by Begala), especially when there are other potential sources of votes which are not only potentially more cost-effective to tap but also potentially larger.

Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist from Emory University, is one of the most prominent swing-voter skeptics; he's come out with several articles in the last few months arguing that not only are swing voters are overrated as a voting bloc but that it's a better use of Democrats' time and money to focus on unregistered voters instead. We'll look at both of those arguments, starting with the idea that there are a lot fewer swing voters than we think there are (or at least than the news media encourage us to think there are).

To make this case, Abramowitz looks at a study from the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain. The study, by American National Election Studies, followed a panel of voters for more than a year to see when and how they made up their minds. In the first survey the panel took, they were forced to choose between Obama and McCain; there was no "undecided" or "other" option, but they were asked to indicate whether they were extremely sure, very sure, moderately sure, slightly sure, or not sure at all about their choice. Seventy-five percent were extremely or very sure ... but 25 percent were either moderate or slightly sure or not sure at all. That's a lot of swing voters, right?

However, very few of the voters in that second pool—who you'd think were likely to switch, since their hand had been forced in having to choose someone in the first round—wound up changing their minds. All the mind-changing was basically reversion to the norm; Obama benefited slightly, gaining only an additional percentage point in support along the way. As Abramowitz puts it:

Only 8% of respondents switched candidates between June and November. These switches basically canceled each other out: 9% of McCain supporters switched to Obama while 7% of Obama supporters switched to McCain. Ninety-two percent of respondents ended up voting for the same candidate in November that they supported in June. [...] Nine percent of voters in the swing states switched candidates between June and November compared with 7% of voters in all other states.
The people who were likeliest to switch were, simply, those persons whose initial choice was out of whack with their own party identification. Only 1 percent of Democrats who supported Obama in June wound up voting for McCain, while 4 percent of Republicans who supported McCain in June wound up voting for Obama. On the other hand, 32 percent of Democrats who supported McCain in June wound up voting for Obama, while 39 percent of Republicans who supported Obama in June wound up voting for McCain. In other words, the people who in June seemed likeliest to swing, by the end, wound up not swinging at all, but just coming home to their usual party.

Abramowitz uses the data to break the electorate down into four groups: the stayers (who didn't change between June and November), who make up 92 percent of the electorate, returning partisans (voters who initially planned to swing but reverted to their usual party) at 5 percent, and departing partisans (voters who initially planned to stay loyal but then swung to the other party) at 2 percent. That leaves truly "swinging independents" (the group that the news media would have you believe hold the nation in the balance), who accounted for a total of 1 percent of the electorate. Most self-described "independents," Abramowitz points out, started out with a preference and stuck with it, consistent with many other studies' findings that "independents" actually are partisans, just ones who don't want to get saddled with a partisan label.

Over the fold, we'll talk more about the contention that Democrats should focus less on those few swing voters and more on voter registration and mobilization.

For this analysis, Abramowitz looked at Gallup's March 2012 poll of 12 battleground states. Even at that early point in the game (the GOP primary wasn't settled at that point), only 8 percent of the registered voters sampled expressed no preference between Obama and Romney.

A look under the hood at this slice of swing voters (the 8 percent undecideds, plus the 3 percent who were only "leaning" toward a candidate) revealed that they were disproportionately middle-aged (38 percent were 30-49, compared with 32 percent among non-swing voters), female (63 percent, compared with 51 percent of non-swing voters), and white (89 percent, compared with 78 percent of non-swingers). The two most important numbers, though, are that they disproportionately also disapproved of Barack Obama's job performance (75 percent, compared with 44 percent of non-swingers), and had low enthusiasm about voting (58 percent, compared with 25 percent of non-swingers).

The good news is that these swing voters held Mitt Romney is similarly low esteem. Nevertheless, Abramowitz concludes that between the Obama approvals and the lack of enthusiasm, "These voters have a decidedly negative view of the President and are very unlikely to vote for him. The best the Obama campaign can hope for is that most of these swing voters will stay at home on Election Day."

On the other hand, he also takes a look at the demographic crosstabs on the unregistered voters that they survey reached. (It was a poll of 1046 adults, of whom 871 were registered.) This slice of the sample was disproportionately young (38 percent of unregistered voters were 18-29, compared with 18 percent of registered voters) and non-white (37 percent were non-white, compared with 21 percent of registered voters). In addition, they disproportionately approved of Obama (55 percent, compared with 49 percent of registered voters) and expressed a stronger preference for Obama (61 percent, compared with 50 percent of registered voters).

The one downside for the unregistered voters: They were just as unenthusiastic about voting as the swing voters were. Fifty-two percent reported "low" enthusiasm about voting, compared with 28 percent of registered voters. That points to the main challenge in finding and activitating them as a group: Even if they were successfully registered, that may still not get translated into a vote in November without a lot of follow-up. Here's that data in table form:


Demographic Swing voters Non-swing voters Unregistered voters Registered voters
Age 18-29 14 18 38 18
Age 30-49 38 32 38 33
Age 50-64 27 28 14 28
Age 65+ 22 22 14 28
White 89 78 63 79
Non-white 11 22 37 21
Obama approve 11 53 55 49
Obama disapprove 75 44 38 46
High enthusiasm 19 48 15 45
Moderate enthusiasm 23 27 31 27
Low enthusiasm 58 25 52 28

One other statistic gives some hope that it's still worth the effort of trying to activate these voters: Unregistered voters who support Obama express considerably more enthusiasm about voting than do unregistered voters who prefer Romney. Obama-backing unregistered voters report 17 percent high enthusiasm, 42 percent moderate enthusiasm, and 41 percent low enthusiasm, while Romney-backing unregistered voters report 14 percent high enthusiasm, 20 percent moderate enthusiasm and 66 percent low enthusiasm.

The difficulty in activating unregistered voters in likely Democratic demographics, or voters who are registered but are disengaged and rarely vote but vote Democratic when they do, is one of the factors that leads one of the Democrats' smartest strategists, Ruy Teixeira, to propose a whole new definition of "swing voter." It's a definition that's more inclusive than the traditional media definition that focuses merely on independent, centrist voters who might vote for one or the other of the two parties; instead, it should also include voters who are already partisans, for whom the choice is whether to vote for one party or to not vote at all. As he puts it, "Swing voters are scattered throughout the social structure."

Activating the inactive across the spectrum takes a lot of work, which is why campaigns are loath to do it. It requires more manpower to find unregistered people, register them, and follow up with them to make sure they get to the polls. And it requires more and better targeting, with different pitches to different groups, instead of just coming up with one lowest-common-denominator, mass-mediated message and constantly repeating it with millions of dollars in ad buys behind it. Given the ever-escalating cost of reaching an ever-shrinking pool of persuadable centrists, though, it may start becoming a necessity.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I saw a swing voter today riding a unicorn n/t (13+ / 0-)

    I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:01:04 PM PDT

    •  Was he/she riding towards the rainbow (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, VTelder, Pluto

      or away from it?

      Oddly enough, your sig pretty much sums up the reasons this White House has slim chance convincing "swing" voters (especially all those ones who have not felt motivated enough to even register that David is holding out so much "hope" for) to get off their asses on Nov 6th and vote Dem.

  •  that's a better definition of a swing voter (10+ / 0-)

    Ruy Teixeira, propose[s] a whole new definition of "swing voter." ... instead, it should also include voters who are already partisans, for whom the choice is whether to vote for one party or to not vote at all.
    Those people are much more interesting.
    •  That's correct. The number of people who actually (7+ / 0-)

      swing between the parties is so small, its pointless to focus on them. I mean who actually knows somebody who voted Clinton Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama, Obama. I mean please. That doesn't even make sense.

      What you have is people who are independents who vote for the party they lean to, and indies who dont vote for the party they lean to.

      •  Do you really believe that? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, coffeetalk, Jerry J

        Especially when you consider that races include governors, Senators, etc.

        At all levels, I've voted for Democrats, Republicans, and assorted other party/independent candidates in nearly equal measure.

        And...

        I've know more than a few people who voted Obama in 2008 after voting Bush in 2004, and Bush in 2000 after Clinton in 1992 or 1996.

        Of course, I have to believe what they tell me -- just like the pollsters do.

        That darned secret ballot.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:46:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All the polling evidence, and ballot evidence (8+ / 0-)

          seems to indicate that most people are not like you and don't vote for the opposing party. I've never voted for a Republican in my life if we just want to go with anecdotes. And the Republicans I do know vote for other Republicans. Because it makes sense.

          Now there are a lot of people who are not loyal to any particular party, but have opinions and beliefs about things. If their buttons get pushed, they will vote to the party they normally align with. Or, they wont vote at all.

          But people who are truly "independent" and just come to some sort of subjective mysterious cyrstal ball of a vote? Those folks are few and far between.

        •  I'm sorry, but if you've voted for Republicans (3+ / 0-)

          and Democrats in nearly equal measure, I don't have the least interest in you, your opinions, or whatever it might take to win your vote.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:59:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I only vote for Republicans when (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Woody, kyril, UntimelyRippd, 207wickedgood

            the Democrat has a lengthy arrest record or has been indicted — and then only in county and local judicial contests where ideology doesn't come into play.

            Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

            by anastasia p on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:03:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. So anybody who is not committed to voting (5+ / 0-)

            for the Democratic candidate regardless of who he/she is -- that person is someone you have no interest in, and you have no interest in convincing for this election?  

            •  Was (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY, kyril, wishingwell

              No, they said "voted". They're talking about people who voted for the actual Republicans, Bush Jr/Sr and Reagan (and Nixon). And about the rest of the Republicans who've been elected in this country for generations. They're the ones talking about votes for actual people.

              I don't agree with them about not trying to get the votes that it takes to get elected, but I do respect their disgust at anyone who voted for those Republicans. I'm not willing to do what it would take to get those people's votes, either. But I do value those people who actually go out and do it. It's a dirty job that someone's got to do. I wish they'd do it better, but I'm not willing to do what it takes to do it myself.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:20:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This I can respect (5+ / 0-)

                I'm also disgusted that people voted for such horrible politicians as GW Bush. But people who say, essentially, "fuck you for ever voting for a Republican, we don't want your vote" are destructive to the prospects of Democratic candidates and would do better to hold their tongues. Fortunately, what people write on DailyKos has a negligible effect on election returns.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:27:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The comment stated that the person had (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tuffie

              voted for Republicans and Democrats all over the ballot in equal measure.

              The implication is pretty straightforward: Either,

              A. The person has rarely voted
              or
              B. The person has voted for a lot of Republicans.

              If that is true, then what it takes to get this person's vote is a policy program that is illiberal, anti-human, vicious, and stupid.

              So, no, I'm not interested in catering to said person. At all. Ever.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:54:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Bad move Ripped... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY, JamieG from Md

            It is now "all-hands-on-deck" season, not "time for a purge" season.

            And badboy,  we really should talk about ticket-splitting. I'm not sure you're really well-thought-out on this one...

            •  You can either try to win good-hearted (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LouisMartin

              and sensible people with good-hearted and sensible policies, messages, and GOTV.

              Or you can try to win this guy.

              You make your choice, I'll make mine.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:31:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd like to win them all (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

                by JamieG from Md on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 08:57:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I suggest you investigate the concept (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  conniptionfit, LouisMartin

                  of diminishing marginal returns.

                  Each additional vote from the illusory "moderate center" costs a lot: A lot of money, and a lot of compromise.

                  People just don't seem to get this, no matter how bad the situation gets. Republicans are quitting the Republican Party and joining the Democrats because the Democrats are now a right-wing party. This may represent an institutional victory for the Democratic Party, but more significantly, it represents a real and complete victory for conservative ideology, which is now well-represented by both major parties. Welcome to Bob's Country Political Bunker: We've got both kinds of political parties, conservative and ultra-conservative.

                  The war I need to fight is not the war between the Democrats and Republicans, it is the war between the left and the right, a war in which the right currently dominates on every battlefield except gay rights. The only way to fight this war is to take the Democrats back to the left, rather than further to the right.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 07:04:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  And we at DKE are not interested (8+ / 0-)

            in your lack of interest in possible voters for Obama. Fortunately, campaigns aren't dumb and don't say "If you've ever voted for a Republican, don't vote for us." Because if they did that, they'd always lose.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:24:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What exactly do you think it *takes* to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              conniptionfit, LouisMartin

              earn the vote of someone who says they have voted in equal measure for Republican and Democrat?

              No, don't bother to answer, I will tell you:

              1. Either a Republican candidate who is obviously insane or breathtakingly incompetent.

              or

              2. An odious right-wing platform (Though the commenter no doubt fancies himself a "centrist", taking a reasonable and balanced view of things.)

              Unfortunately, Democratic campaigns are too often run by either idiots or by power-lusting pricks, who are too happy to accommodate the self-styled "independent" by shifting policies rightward, rightward, ever rightward. Which is how our latest "social revolution" was to elect a black man on an economic platform somewhat to the right of Nixon, who then had to "compromise" with a bunch of Republican bullies and right-wing Democrats in order to enact a health care reform that was written by Republicans 20 years ago.

              No, thank you -- whatever it takes to get that guy's vote, it isn't worth it.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:00:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What it takes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bumiputera, LouisMartin
                What exactly do you think it takes to earn the vote of someone who says they have voted in equal measure for Republican and Democrat?
                I don't know, but you can be sure people working for the Obama campaign - who unlike me and you are professionals - have a pretty darn good idea. And you mention part of it here:
                a Republican candidate who is obviously insane or breathtakingly incompetent.
                The Obama campaign has been trying hard to disqualify Romney in the minds of voters as unfit to be President, either because his record is one of getting rich by destroying companies and putting Americans out of work, or/and because he advocates extremists policies people don't want. He doesn't have to be insane or breathtakingly incompetent to be disqualified in the minds of a sufficient number of voters, and polls so far have been showing how steep a climb he needs to make, after all the Bain ads.

                A very important consideration is that a lot of voters (including the ones who say they make decisions "on the candidate, not the party") simply don't like Romney, and a lot of voters make decisions based on how candidates rub them personally. Voters don't like the state of the economy, but many of them like Obama personally and trust him more than Romney, and that may by itself be enough for Obama to win.

                I understand your griping about how Obama hasn't been able (or perhaps inclined) to remake the US into a social democratic country, because I am a social democrat in Democratic clothing. But it's off-topic for DKE and would be better expressed in one of the interminable internecine snipe-threads elsewhere on this site.

                Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:19:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And will the Obama campaign be putting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  conniptionfit

                  a similar effort into painting all of the downticket Republicans as insane and/or incompetent?

                  Because if not, we would all be better served by a campaign that doesn't waste resources on loser votes, and instead focuses on getting out the voters who are going to provide senators, representatives, governors and state houses that are with the program.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:35:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Something to keep in mind: (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY, fearlessfred14

                  Neither Republicans nor Democrats come close to being a majority of the electorate.  If you really wish to throw away the votes of people who are not dedicated to your party, you will NEVER win.

                  BTW -- I have along the way, voted for Eugene McCarthy and Jimmy Carter.  Not exactly extreme right wingers.  I voted against Reagan twice.

                  But -- I do not call myself a centrist. I call myself a conservative.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:34:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Incorrect, in its substance (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Chi, conniptionfit

                    Generally (depending on whether it is a presidential election or an off-year election, or something else entirely), 40 to 80% of the electorate are non-voters.

                    Why should I -- a radical leftist, to the mind of the average Dkosser -- desire to chase a handful of conservative voters in some illusory middle when there are legions of folks who are much closer to my values, opinions and objectives, but who simply don't bother to vote? Why should I spend one dollar or one minute begging for the vote of somebody who will demand to be reassured that the candidate in question won't actually implement any policies that will accomplish the things I'm hoping will be accomplished?

                    And again, critically: Your vote is worth a lot less to me, if you're going to go into the box and vote for a Dem prez, but a Pub gov and senator and rep. In fact, your vote might be more of a negative than a positive, depending on local demographics.

                    Anyone could win a landslide just by turning out 1/5th of the stay-at-homes -- and that would be a landslide across the table.

                    Your vote(s)? Not of much interest to me. They are way, way, way too expensive. Hell, if the Democrats were willing to ensure your vote, it would be easy enough to do -- just run a sane, non-criminal candidate on a Republican platform, circa 1988.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:54:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Question, (0+ / 0-)

                    if you consider yourself conservative, how do you survive at this site?

                    •  Why wouldn't I? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MichaelNY

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 07:27:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

                        considering how so many people here considers conservatives the root of all evil I would thin it would be a little grating.

                        •  OTOH, many thoughtful and interesting people (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MichaelNY, bumiputera, fearlessfred14

                          here, so I can pretty much ignore the group you describe, no matter how large it may be.

                          This is pretty decent place for semi-intelligent discussions of the environment, not to mention people willing to admit that the American health-care "system" is badly broken.

                          Let's put it this way:

                          I might not agree with very many of the prescriptions advanced around here to address global warming, but can you imagine even trying to start a serious discussion on the topic over at some place like RedState?

                          Though I call myself (correctly) conservative, I am well aware that the term has been usurped to mean modern-day Tories -- those who see the US as nothing more than a colony to be plundered and destroyed for its resource so that overseas masters can grow richer and richer still.

                          All hail the People's Republic of China!
                          All hail British Petroleum!
                          All hail Royal Dutch Shell!

                          Personally, I'd like my children to enjoy an American that still has some green space, still has potable water, and provides  real oportunites for those who want them.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 08:10:46 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  I hope you will vote for Democrats (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MichaelNY, dinotrac

                    from now on.

                    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

                    by JamieG from Md on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 09:01:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I volunteered with a Republican for Obama just (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY, dinotrac, JamieG from Md

                yesterday.  Granted, she is planning to change her voter registration, she just never figured out how to that. So I am assisting her with that. But she is a very strong, very reliable Obama supporter as well as supporting our Democratic US Senator.   There is little doubt she has voted for Republicans in the past until they became too extreme.

                Who am I to condemn this woman out there with a cane to be able to walk, for working with us to elect Democrats especially the President.  

                My husband was once a Republican too who has voted for Republicans or did so 20 years ago.  He voted for a coworker who is a Repub for city council , I did not , so we cancelled out each other's vote anyway. LOL. But I am not going to judge him for his past votes.

                Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                by wishingwell on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:52:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't care whether anybody condemns her. (0+ / 0-)

                  If she's decided to work for Obama, good for her. If she wants to stay home and knit, that's okay too.

                  I'm just not interested in using resources to pursue such votes. I think it's a waste of those resources -- particularly since the primary means of pursuing such votes (per Begala) is a pointless, expensive media barrage that serves principally to enwealthen the consultants and the media owners.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:06:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow Rippd you seem weirdly angry (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wishingwell, sacman701, MichaelNY

                    and that border line sexist taunt of staying home to knit seems very out of place here at DKE. So since you don't care whether she is out walking precincts for Obama or absent from the process maybe you can tell us what you've done to register new voters who will move government policy to the left.

                    I am a social democrat and NDP member here in Canada and you remind me of too many of my fellow party members who seem addicted to losing and think any electoral success is a sign of selling out. Winning matters.

                    •  The "staying home to knit" remark came (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      conniptionfit

                      out of my mental picture of a Little Old Lady with a cane who had trouble moving around. It wasn't intended as a taunt, and I didn't say I didn't care whether she was out walking precincts, I said I didn't care whether anyone condemns her -- which should have been more precisely stated as, "I'm not condemning her, and I'm not asking anyone else to condemn her either."

                      What I did say was, "Good for her". And then I noted that I wouldn't condemn her if she weren't out walking precincts.

                      The real point was, is, and will remain that when only half of the people who already agree with you turn out, it is a loser's game to pursue the small fraction of undecided dimwits in the middle -- especially when by doing so you have to compromise your principles and alienate even more of the people who already agree with you.

                      And if you want to draw contrasts and comparisons with Canadian politics, you must start by recognizing that if you lived here in the states, your problem wouldn't be with your fellow social democrats, because no such party exists. Rather, your problem would be that the "pragmatists" in your party would be telling you to support candidates who back a social and economic plan that would be unacceptably right wing for Canada's Grits, nevermind the NDP; and those same pragmatists would be telling you that the only way to win is to go further to the right, in order to capture more of those voters who lie between the Grits and the Tories.

                      Think for a moment just how crazy that is. Imagine that the NDP dissolved tomorrow, and the next day the Liberals adopted a plan to shift all of their platform planks to the right. That is what we've got here in the US.

                      The solution for an NDP'er who is tired of the NDP's addiction to losing is simple: Join the Liberals.

                      The solution for a Democrat who is tired of the Democrats' addiction to losing is more complicated, but it begins with a key understanding: The party's economic policies are already so far to the right that it would be a right-of-center party in any other western democracy. The solution does not, cannot, will not reside further to the right. It must, to the contrary, reside in the enormous reservoir of unmotivated voters on the left.

                      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                      by UntimelyRippd on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 06:55:48 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  That's fine -- but I'll be you're not running for (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            office.  Funny thing about politicians.  The smart ones realize there's not much you can do if you don't win the seat.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:29:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The "smart" ones. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chi

              please.

              If they were smart, they'd realize that for every moron-in-the-middle swing-voter for whose vote they are pandering and squandering hundreds of dollars, there are 10 perfectly sensible potential voters whom they just need to get up out of the chair -- and each one of those voters represents a vote up and down the ticket, meaning said smart politician will have the necessary votes to get things done.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:37:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The smart ones are better at math than you are. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                When 90% of the electorate is set, the other 10% decides the election.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:43:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The smart ones are exceedingly bad at math. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Chi

                  I might suggest that you are as well, but I suspect that in your case, you simply know which side your bread is buttered on.

                  Continue to plead the case for your relevance. You are not my ally, and you never will be. Nor am I yours, nor ever will be. To the contrary -- we are enemies, fighting for control of the Democratic Party's agenda. Your victories are my defeats, every single time.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:58:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hmmm. Don't understand this representative (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MichaelNY, bumiputera

                    democracy thing, do you?

                    I, frankly, don't care that much about the agenda of any party.  I'm not a politician.

                    I care only about the welfare of my family, my community, my country and my planet.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:14:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  yeah, right. (0+ / 0-)

                      pretend i don't understand.

                      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                      by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:19:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How can you believe that people holding differing (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        MichaelNY

                        views are your enemy and understand representative democracy?

                        On second thought, there is an alternative explanation -- a belief in authoratiarian rule.

                        Admit it -- your idea of the perfect world is one in which you function -- benevolently, of course -- as absolute dictator.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:24:06 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  if you don't realize that dick cheney (0+ / 0-)

                          is your enemy, i wonder what you do realize, peculiar interpretation of "representative democracy" notwithstanding.

                          "representative democracy" isn't an alternative to institutionalized enmity -- it is institutionalized enmity.

                          just because we're stuck together within a single political framework, and just because that political framework provides an explicit "legitimate" venue within which we are to battle over our competing interests, and just because we agree to work within that framework rather than by arming ourselves and shooting up each others' neighborhoods, does not mean we are pals. my observation that you and i are enemies isn't some sort of wacked-out proxy for an authoritarian manifesto, it's a straightforward recognition of a truth so simple it is almost a tautology.

                          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:36:32 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Your belief that differences = enemies as (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            MichaelNY

                            tautology is not consistent with any non-authoritarian world view.  You must tolerate the rest of us because you lack the resources to eliminate us.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 05:49:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "differences"? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            conniptionfit

                            "differences" is disagreeing over whether the town should put up christmas lights.

                            i don't have "differences" with dick cheney. dick cheney is a monster whose entire career has consisted of gathering power unto himself in order to work evil in the world. what exactly motivates him, i don't know. clearly, he's exceptionally greedy, so yes, i expect simple personal wealth is part of it; but somehow that doesn't seem to be what it's mostly about. mostly, it just seems to be about exercising power for the sake of exercising power -- as the character in 1984 puts it, "The object of power is power."

                            i don't have "differences" with the billionaires who manipulate our financial systems to the detriment of almost all of us. those who ruin one family after another, leaving them homeless, scrambling for food and shelter (nevermind hope and dignity): those people are my enemies, and wherever and whenever we struggle -- including in politics -- it is not a friendly game, it is a matter of life-and-death, because when they win, people suffer and die.

                            i don't have "differences" with those who fight in the political arena so as to deny pre-natal care to the poor, while defending a deadly health care system whose first and foremost function is to provide rent to the superrich. such people are my enemies -- deadly enemies, whose victories bring misery, sorrow, suffering and death to my fellow citizens.

                            fantasizing that the structures of representative democracy somehow eliminate such fundamental enmities is a strange (to me) sort of naivete. those structures are in place to (barely) constrain the takers in the world: the sanctifiers of power, who are always, always, always working to use, abuse, exploit, and coopt whatever institutions are at hand for exercising power, to create a self-justifying system in which they are the aristocrats.

                            and if you've voted for half as many republicans as you suggest you have, you've voted in favor of those takers, time and time again -- voted in favor of their hate, and their power, and their evil. what else could you possible be, but my enemy? how can Scott Walker, whose policies impoverish my neighbors, and set them one against the other over such phony bullshit issues as who is paying for how much of whose pension, all in order to enwealthen a handful of sociopathic string-pullers, not be my enemy?

                            every day he is in power, he is working to destroy my community. to degrade the lives of the people around me. to diminish the education of their children. to claim seigneury over the bodies of women. to bring physical ruin to our natural resources. and, ultimately, to make us de facto slaves of the rentiers he represents.

                            he is my enemy.

                            and unless you are very, very wealthy, he is your enemy too, though you apparently don't realize it.

                            and to the extent that you use your vote to empower the people who think like the Cheneys and the Walkers of the world; or even to blackmail folks like me into "honoring" your "conservative" values by, for example, sanctifying property rights over human rights, or making rent from unspent income the primary social benefit of civilization; or whatever-the-hell-else might be motivating you to vote for these very, very, very bad people; in other words, to the extent that you are actively engaged in reducing the economic security and personal liberty of the great mass of your fellow citizens (nevermind fellow humans): To that extent you are the very real enemy of a large fraction of your fellow citizens, whether you care to own up to it or not.

                            and there is nothing in the theory or practice of representative democracy that alters this fundamental relationship.

                            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                            by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 06:25:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree that Dick Cheney is evil (0+ / 0-)

                            and he should be currently in prison for life for crimes including genocide. However, I don't consider someone who voted for GW Bush, even twice, and then voted for Obama in 2008 to be my "enemy." As a matter of fact, I have friends who are Republicans and probably never voted for a Democrat in their lives. I don't like their politics, but I do like them. It's your choice if you prefer to see everyone who has ever voted for a Republican as your enemy. Include me, too: I voted for Bloomberg (on a different line) in the last Mayoral election in New York, so though I'm actually a social democrat who simply thought his Democratic opponent was incompetent, I must be evil incarnate to you.

                            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

                            by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 09:01:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. Considering all of that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, MichaelNY, dinotrac

          I've voted for both Democrats and Republicans, depending on the office, the candidates, and the alternatives.  

          I'm a lawyer and I think I'm not alone among my law partners, for example.  One difference however, is that I usually vote, even if I don't like either candidate much.  Some I know in my position sometimes simply choose not to vote when they don't like either alternative.  

          •  Very few people (5+ / 0-)

            actually show up to vote for people they don't like.

            Now, if they can be persuaded into the ballot box by one candidate they do particularly like (or one who makes it particularly easy to show up) then they might fill in some up- or downballot boxes while they're at it. And those boxes might be ticked for either party, though it's usually going to be the one they lean to.

            But most people just won't show up without a push, either from enthusiasm or from intensive mobilization/outreach.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:31:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I was a swing voter many years ago ..... (4+ / 0-)

          .... when I was growing up in New York State during the 1970's and early 80's ... because our Long Island representatives (especially in the state legislature) from the GOP were often moderate, (b) sometimes the Democrats were machine candidates (and you had to hope they'd lose in a Democratic primary) and also (c) the times were so, so different.

              But for the past twenty years, it's rare that I voted for a Republican (unless it was for, say, a non-partisan office such as clerk or registrar) ... the only time in the past twenty years was when a Democratic official sent me a nasty-gram after reading my blog post ... no way was that jerk getting my X mark.

          "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

          by Ed Tracey on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:17:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed. Look at Illinois 2010 (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coffeetalk, cocinero, MichaelNY, dinotrac

          Our state elected Kirk to Senate over that gas bag Gennoulias.  Yet, they still voted in Quinn for governor, even after he promised to raise taxes.

          I really think die-hard Dems of the kind that inhabit Daily Kos believe that everyone who voted for Obama in 2008 are his to keep forever.  That is insane talk.  A LOT of people who previously voted for Bush voted Obama in 2008 because they were sick of Republican rule and wanted to send a message.

          Those voters cannot be counted to vote for Obama in 2012.  They have been disappointed by the broken promises.

          •  Can you imagine if Obama refusing to accept (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jerry J, fearlessfred14, MichaelNY

            votes from anybody who had voted for Bush?

            He's a lot smarter than that.  Say what you will about Illinois politicians and their propensity for winding up in jail, they know what it takes to win an election.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:39:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I voted for Goldwater and McGovern (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, wishingwell

        and that was a change in party. I had a youthful indiscretion.

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:53:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  bbb - small but often the margin of victory (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 09:28:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Entering new voter registration info (5+ / 0-)

    in the votebuilder program for OA_FL, just last week there was one drop-down window for FL with, numbered areas and people assigned; now there are drop-downs for 5 regions of FL with their own area content. OFA_FL and OFA are ossum.

    rMoney: Just another jerk, lookin' for work.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:09:30 PM PDT

  •  get on board the freedom train (15+ / 0-)
    Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters. They have spent almost $50 million subsidizing Democratic state parties to hire workers, pay for cellphones and update voter lists. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s volunteers corps into a grass-roots army.

    New York Times

    A former Bain Capital man and Romney supporter says income inequality shows our economy is working. Edward Conard, former managing director and partner at Bain Capital from 1993-2007, worked side-by-side with Mitt Romney.

    by anyname on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:12:15 PM PDT

  •  Well Simply Energizing the Base Is Part of the (9+ / 0-)

    advertising spending, so that our people who don't vote all the time will vote.

    We did a terrible job of that in 2010. A number of the ads I'm seeing in Ohio would seem to me to work very well for that purpose, possibly more than pulling in a few swing voters.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:15:49 PM PDT

    •  It's not that "we" did a terrible job (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, conniptionfit

      of energizing our "base" in 2010--it's that the combination of Republicans and Blue Dogs in Congress successfully stifled any chance for a serious progressive response to the Panic of 2008 (which think is a more accurate term than "Great Recession"), leading to a situation where economic growth was too anemic to inspire anyone. Also, the Democratic caucus did itself no favors by failing to act on tax reform before the election.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:11:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First part of the thesis doesn't hold water (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dinotrac, MichaelNY, DCCyclone, MBishop1, askew

    9% of McCain and 7% of Obama voters is over 10 million voters.  That isn't a "small" target market in any sense.  To the contrary, when combined with Begala's assertion, it is an enormous market.

    There's lots of untapped votes in different places, but the amount of persuadable likely voters is an enormous amount... even if their eventual impact doesn't seem to be huge, because while 10 million were persuaded, they mostly canceled each other out.  The amount that doesn't cancel out though amounts to about double the amount of people Begala asserts will decide the election.

    You have to pursue the persuadable swing voters because the other side does, and then it mostly comes out in the wash.  However, this is part of why Romney can't win.  Obama's electoral college base is so large that middling changes in swing voters won't do it for him.  

    (On the other hand, using Mccain/Obama swing percentages is misguided as both Obama and Romney are far more defined for the electorate in 2012 than the candidates were in 2008.)

    Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

    by tommypaine on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:18:52 PM PDT

    •  Yes indeed. Subtract about 3.5% of Obama's voters (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, MichaelNY, Nada Lemming

      and give them to the Republican candidate, and the election turns the other way.

      The voters who don't matter are the ones who'll vote for you no matter what you do.  They are in the pocket and safely ignored.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are no persuadables, it's just a coin toss (6+ / 0-)

    How are you going to persuade someone who is so uninformed, they haven't been able to make up their minds between 2 extremely opposite candidates?

    In 2008, exit polls showed about 7% of the electorate made up their minds in the last weekend, and they split about evenly.  To these people, it's just a coin toss.

    But I think the Obama campaign already realizes this and is doing a lot of work on other things to get supporters to the polls.

    Record Spending by Obama

    •  If it was a pure coin toss (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, kingfishstew, kyril, MBishop1

      That just makes it clear that both sides have to spend about equally to get the attention of these people.  If one side is blown out 10-1 in terms of adverts aimed at swing voters, they lose the coin toss people.

      It's kinda like the equivalent of Mutally Assured Destruction... both sides have to spend on the coin toss people because the other side does.

      Mr. Gorbachev, establish an Electoral College!

      by tommypaine on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:37:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Easier, I suppose, than persuading people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder

      who've made up their minds before the campaign's even swung into gear.

      I guess your point is that debates, conventions, and campaigns are a big waste of time.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:50:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know why campaigns waste their time (13+ / 0-)

    on swing voters. I wrote a fp piece last year pointing out the so called "independents" are just a bunch of closet a bunch of closed partisans. Not just that, but the overwhelming majority of "moderates" already vote Democrat. The Democratic Party IS the moderate party.

    What Democratic Campaigns need to focus on more than anything else is finding and getting Democrats to the voting booth. That's it. Spending so much time focused on a handfull of swing voters is pointless and counter productive.

    •  Truly, I wish someone would motivate and (5+ / 0-)

      activate me over here in left field. As it is, I do not live in a swing state and will quite cheerfully and in good conscience vote to the left of Obama this year.

      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

      by Wolf10 on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stein qualified Federal Funds. She is out there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wolf10

        actively working on issues we care about on the left.
        If she gets on the ballot in my state I might just vote for her swing state or no.

        Unless of course  I see a 180 from the Admin -- on the use of extra-judicial killing, lack of prosecution  of banksters, lack of advocacy for preserving SS and Medicare....

        How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

        by divineorder on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:15:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This was an issue for Ohio Dems in 2012 (5+ / 0-)

      They admitted after the campaign that they focused so much on undecideds and swing voters that they failed to energize the base.

      They also made a few moves that alienated the — like slating an anti-choice radical for statewide office. A lot of activist women decided to sit out the cycle and not volunteer. They also admitted after the election that their volunteer number was way off. I could have told them in January it would be.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:06:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  obsession with swing votes part of centrist mythos (12+ / 0-)

    Blah blah Americans don't have a partisan bone in their body and so taking a bold ideological stand is the surest way to piss them off blah blah so spending all your money in fairly small and right-leaning states is more important than motivating base turnout in big left-leaning states blah blah blah.

    Only the Democrats buy it, of course; Republicans know better.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:34:50 PM PDT

  •  Law of diminishing returns (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Chi, Eric Nelson

    Maybe this election the candidates and parties will begin to understand the law of diminishing returns.  After a certain point, no amount of money is going to change a thing.  The billionaires can contribute and contribute.  We don't have to keep up.  I suspect that the voters have already made up their minds.  The number of votes left that could be persuaded by any amount of ads are too few to make a difference.  Just as when one is hungry a hamburger is worth a large amount, when one is full it is worth a whole lot less, and when one is stuffed even a steak is of negative value.  I think this election we have found that point.

    OTOH, I do hope the billionaires keep spending on this election.  It is the only way I can think of to make them part with their money.  Perhaps elections like this are our way of taxing the wealthy.

  •  Politics is not about argument or policy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKS, Zack from the SFV, Chi

    It's about identity. But, given the low undecided percentage, the obvious - indeed almost the only - strategy is to get your voters out and to do everything you can to dissuade the opposition voters to stay home. So GOTV is a given. But the Republicans are doing so much more in trying to suppress turnout of Dem voters. I hate to say this, because I am generally in favor of everyone voting, but why is there no effort from our side to point out to Tea Party types that Romney is deceiving them, playing them for fools? Why is there no effort to demoralize the opposition by attacking Romney from the right? Why cannot there be ads in lean-R States that just play memorable moments from the primaries when the likes of Santorum and Gingrich castigated Romney at length for being an inconsistent, liberal Governor from MA?

    The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:37:58 PM PDT

    •  I'm sure footage from the primaries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Chi

      will be used, but I doubt it will be used to attack Romney from the right. I predict that the Obama campaign or/and pro-Obama organizations will use footage of Newt Gingrich attacking Romney over outsourcing. I also predict that there will be ads using footage from various different Republican candidates; they'll find something to quote Santorum on.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:52:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Organized communities (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    They already know this, but organized communities like evangelical churches, Hispanic voters in unions, women who are aware of new laws in the red states are important.  Somehow the unions in WI should have been able to convince the 38% who voted for Walker their vote was a bad idea.  Those who hate unions should leave them and be honest about it. Same for those government workers who hate government and vote to abolish it.  Voter suppression may work this election making it another Gore vs Bush illegal election.

  •  Luring a swing voter to flip is a net +2 (5+ / 0-)

    One in your column and one less in our opponents column.  However that convincing is much more expensive than finding and registering and getting the new voter to actually vote.  

    I recall a stat where Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin were 50-50 on voters who had voted at least once before, but Obama/Biden won first time voters 70-30.  The key will be to get those 2008 first time voters out again - Obama08 was about hope and energy and a lot of those non-newly eligible(ie turned 18yo) who caught caught up in the magic might have been turned off again by the raw politics of the last four years (by Republican design).  However a simple phone call or canvassing visit contacting them again and asking them to be a voter could be enough to get them to vote again - which is why phone banking/canvassing is so important.  

  •  Perverted definition of a swing voter. (0+ / 0-)

    By excising anybody with a position or a preference, you pervert the definition of a swing voter.  A swing voter, presumably, is somebody who could swing either way -- sombody whose vote can be won.

    Adding a requirement that such people have no opinions and no principles is ludicrous.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:42:40 PM PDT

  •  No, Duh. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, chuckvw, Chi, conniptionfit

    The hunt for swing voters is the DLC way -- which is to say, it is the Loser's way, especially if one is interested, not just in winning the white house, but in executing a particular policy program driven by sincerely-held political beliefs.

    I've been screeching this for years, and I'm slightly nauseated that anybody gets to be a newly-minted media darling (e.g, Ruy Teixeira) by stating what was obvious 20 years ago, at least to anybody who wasn't a complete prisoner of conventional thinking.

    Pursuit of the swing voter is cynical, contemptuous of the electorate (the appeals, from Dem and Pub alike, are invariable insipid, inane, and deceptive), and although it seems on the surface to deliver more bang-for-the-buck (after all, one swing voter for me is one less swing voter for you), that analysis doesn't recognize that the average swing voter is probably going to vote for incumbents down ticket. (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to find that they tend to vote for the opposite party downticket, just to satisfy their self-image as an independent thinker unbeholden to partisan foolishness).

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:48:04 PM PDT

  •  Only three types of voters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, wishingwell, Chi

    the contention that Democrats should focus less on those few swing voters and more on voter registration and mobilization.

    I have no doubt that that is exactly what Democrats and Republicans are doing.  Identifying supporters and making sure that they vote has been the focus, the obsession really, of every campaign I have worked on, since 1978.

    Only the corporate press/media are concerned with myths like 'independents' or 'swing voters' or some other new construct developed to serve a narrative that bears only a small relation to reality.

    The candidates and campaigns carry on a pretense of appealing to these mythical voters, but they know who they are really talking to with the ads, speeches, etc.

    There are only three types of voters (excluding those who will not vote).  Those who will not vote for your candidate, those who might, and those who will.  All you have to do is find the members of the third group and spend all your efforts making sure that they vote.

  •  Great diary, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    "The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country-and we haven't seen them since." - Gore Vidal

    by blueoregon on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:52:05 PM PDT

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)

    Good information that really delves into the nitty-gritty.

  •  I suggest that the reason campaigns are (11+ / 0-)

    "loath to do it" is not simply that it takes a lot of work -- it is because the work must specifically be done by foot-soldiers, and foot-soldiers need to be paid.

    Now understand: There is more than enough money to pay the foot-soldiers. But the odious consultants in charge of telling the campaigns how to spend money don't get any vig on soldiers' wages.

    The problem isn't a shortage of cash, it's that register-and-GOTV simultaneously diverts money away from the accounts receivables of the consultants (who rake it in by doing things like taking a cut of advertising spending, running focus groups, and blah blah blah), and render the consultants themselves conspicuously less significant, since their cunning tactical/promotional/electoral-collegial calculations contribute almost nothing to the eventual result if 10% more voters turn out on "our side". To the contrary, the people who get paid are both the rank-and-file recruits AND the organizers who recruit, train, and supervise the rank-and-file. Which is to say: People with real skills doing real work with real results.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 01:58:12 PM PDT

    •  Follow the money! Diary this? (0+ / 0-)

      How did Supreme Court decision ACA help the 23 million still uncovered? Ask the 18,000 Doctors of PNHP -- they're not waiting, FORWARD now to pass H.R. 676, the “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act .

      by divineorder on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:18:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Media "professionals" dominate campaign HQs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Chi

      And media buys are the "hammer" they reach for first and last,  and overuse for each and every "nail" that exists.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:36:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How bad do you think Obama's campaign is? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, Chi

        They did pretty well in 2008, don't you think?

        Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

        by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:38:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Working hand in glove with Dean's (6+ / 0-)

          50-state program, they did a great job -- it was the only thing that really inspired me in 2008: The notion that finally, there was a team at the top who understood how to win, while Clinton's primary effort imploded via the efforts of her tried-and-true team of DLC strategerists.

          Then they booted Dean and gutted the DNC's efforts, and sat back on their heels in 2010.

          We'll see how things go this year.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:13:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  exactly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Egalitare

            We have nowhere else to go... this is all we have. (Margaret Mead)

            by bruised toes on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:22:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  2010 wasn't the Obama campaign (0+ / 0-)

            Conflating midterm Congressional elections with a presidential campaign shows a lack of knowledge about the way campaigns and elections work. Democrats will never turn out nearly as much in off years as they do for presidential elections. Same with Republicans, but more of them are older voters, a demographic that turns out more than younger voters. If you don't understand or aren't willing to accept that, then you can continue to make irrelevant comments, comparing Congressional midterm campaigns with the Obama campaign.

            Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

            by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:35:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  AND THEY GET PAID!!!! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Panbanisha, Egalitare, conniptionfit

        You must understand: They get paid for producing the ads and buying the media, and they get paid at preemo rates.

        That's the point. It isn't that they're too dumb to see any of the other tools in the box. It's that they've chosen the tool that makes them them most money.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:03:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ad spending is buying pundit access to channel (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UntimelyRippd, wishingwell, Chi

      I mean if a campaign said "No ads, all GOTV" the MSM would be out a lot of money and give the other guy all the free ccoverage because he's paying tens of millions to the MSM coffers.  

      Ad spending is payola for equal coverage.  

      •  Good point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, conniptionfit

        But let's face it, there's a lot of room between "No ads, all GOTV" and spending a billion dollars in a handful of markets on stupid ads that appeal to the lowest cognitive processes of the least insightful voters.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:04:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here in my heavily Republican county , we were (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Eric Nelson, KenBee

      thirlled we got a lot of foot soldiers to go door to door on a very, very hot and humid, sweltering Saturday and we are going to do this every Saturday until the election along with phone banking. And only the chief coordinators who work about 3 counties are paid.  Most of our volunteers who gladly do this are professors and teachers and nurses and firefighters.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:08:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  July fundraising numbers will be important... (0+ / 0-)

    in that Romney has a $25M COH advantage now into the final three months. And in reality October is free coverage month for the most part in the four debates, the debate deconstruction and spinning and breathless punditry - so there is basically rest of August and all of September to have to worry about the air wars.  

  •  There's a whole LOT of them (5+ / 0-)

    and most of them are in groups that traditionally support Democrats, and many of those are in swing states.

    I have data on voting by state and ethnic group.

    I will write a diary

  •  Near-Total BS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    No, the $2B+ spent on the 2012 election isn't being spent on only 4% of voters in 6 states. The simple proof is that if either Obama or Rmoney didn't spend their $billion+ to get voters to vote for them, far more than that 4% in 6 states would vote differently.

    That 4% in 6 states is just where more money per voter will be spent, with less certainty about what it will ultimately buy at the voting booth.

    The election will be won with all of the nearly 50% of all voters who will vote for one or the other. You might as well say that the election will be won by only the few percent more on whichever side wins, not the 40%+ who also voted with them to win.

    That part is total BS. It's Democratic politicians thinking that some tiny group is actually the voters worth courting, which is why Democrats always lose elections despite more or less representing in their governance at least double the Americans that Republicans represent with theirs.

    The only part of this article that isn't total BS is where it disagrees with Begala and recognizes that counter-partisan voters might be worth investing more money into courting than partisans.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:17:01 PM PDT

    •  Democrats always lose elections? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      So how are President McCain's prospects for reelection this year?

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:32:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How many state leges and governors' mansions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi

        were lost in 2008 and 2010? We should ask Speaker Pelosi.

        "I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it." - Ray Bradbury

        by chuckvw on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:41:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't be ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

          Do you understand the meaning of "always," or do you need that spelled out to you?

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:47:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you suppose that docgonzo was saying (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            conniptionfit

            No Democrat ever won an election?

            "Always" is often used colloquially to mean "too often", as in "This train is always late."  The train isn't "always late", but is late with exasperating frequency.

            I will take note that you are more of a literalist on the matter.

            "I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it." - Ray Bradbury

            by chuckvw on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:07:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think it's not one of Doc's most insightful (0+ / 0-)

              statements.

              I disagree with the premise, at least as it relates to the Obama campaign, which is what I think is relevant to this discussion, and therefore, I also disagree with the conclusion. If we want to look into previous history and criticize the Kerry and Gore campaigns, we can do that, and then, maybe some of Doc's remarks would be more relevant. But accuracy in expression counts, too, and "always" doesn't cut it for me.

              Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

              by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:15:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Are You Always This Literal? (0+ / 0-)

        Or are you always this hyperbolic?

        More to the point, are you saying that Democrats win enough elections? Most of the elections where the Democrat's policies actually represent the people in the electorate? Because that's a disagreement worth having.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:53:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Let's try this again (0+ / 0-)

      Did I misunderstand your argument here?

      It's Democratic politicians thinking that some tiny group is actually the voters worth courting, which is why Democrats always lose elections despite more or less representing in their governance at least double the Americans that Republicans represent with theirs.
      Are you talking about President Obama here, or are you talking about candidates Kerry and Gore, or perhaps Democratic candidates for lower office?

      What is your bottom line? I think the issue may simply be that I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that Obama actually has not been concentrating on only 4% of the voters, whereas Kerry and Gore more nearly did, and that's one of the reasons they didn't win (or didn't win a sufficient number of votes to prevent election-stealing)?

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 10:36:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a dem consultant, Begala might court undecideds (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Stuart Heady

    but the large amount of money spent by the GOP up through 2004 seems to me to have had one intent: To convince a portion of voters who would normally be sympathetic to Dem candidates to not vote at all. To throw up our hands that Kerry wsn't one of us, that Gore was a winy wonk, that our senate candidates missed the gravity of 9/11 or sided with job-stealing negroes. It is a strategy that counts on the possibility of rain in early November, or anything deterring someone from voting when the doubt is sewn that it won't make a difference anyway.

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:20:29 PM PDT

  •  Last time around (9+ / 0-)

    ... the Obama Campaign put a lot of emphasis into registering voters.  They started early, too, for the primary season.  I recall Dave Matthews playing a free concert in Indiana -  the price of admission being filling in a voter registration form.  That and contact info like email.  (Or, presumably, showing proof of being registered.)

    I'm not sure there's quite so much of that going on this time around.  Florida, for one, made registering voters much harder.  So much so that even the League of Women Voters quit doing it.  There was that high school civics teacher ran afoul of the law, and she had always signed up all her students as part of class activities.  So, of course, Rock the Vote's out of business there, too.

    Republicans studied the things that worked in 2008 for Obama, and have systematically set about putting obstacles in the way.  Voting, registering, early voting.  Not all their efforts have succeeded, but some significant ones have.  So that this time around, there's a whole lot of extra work in key states like PA.  Last time, the emphasis was on intermittent voters.  This time, all the regular voters need to be contacted to make sure their documentation is in order.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:27:15 PM PDT

  •  This post is a breath of fresh air (6+ / 0-)

    I have argued this same point here and elsewhere for several years.

    77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

    by ShadowSD on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:34:33 PM PDT

  •  Hope, struggle and change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, Eric Nelson, KenBee

    A musician named Roy Zimmerman was the guest music at my church this morning, and he sang a song about how we can't expect voting to be the only thing necessary to achieve change. Very inspiring, and you can catch his song on YouTube.

    That said, it is essential that we get out there and help the non-voters become engaged. I volunteer with a program for homeless women, and there is one woman who is motivated to stay compliant and complete her parole because she wants to vote for Obama in November. We need to get every person staying in a shelter, every Head Start parent, and every Kaiser member to vote. It isn't easy or pretty, but apathy and alienation are powerful forces for Romney.

    by the way, could you please remove that anti-labor ad from the front page of your site? It is unnerving!

    "When you give back all your ill-gotten gains, you're a reformed crook. When you keep most of the loot and only give back a small part of it, you're a philanthropist." - Alfred E. Newman

    by Abstract668 on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 02:36:10 PM PDT

  •  These days, it's not so much who they vote for, (4+ / 0-)

    but who votes.  From my exalted position as foremost authority on everything, this seems to be close to an absolute truth of American 21st century politics.  Apply it.

  •  Registering voters is hard work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    The people who don't vote need a lot of encouragement and role modeling from people that they trust. I did community outreach in the poor neighborhoods in other election cycles. First, you have to find them. You have to go where they are, and engage them in their own language and accent (English has many subcultures and accents even with the native speakers).

    You have to convince them that they are eligible to vote, and then teach them how to vote, where to vote, and give them confidence that they will not be shamed just because they can barely read and write.

    Some of these folks often move frequently and suddenly. One barrier that comes up a lot is not having a document with their new address, or not even knowing the correct address. We lose a lot of people that register in May, but have moved before November. They may have no idea where the polling place is.  

    Even after all the grooming, they probably will not vote, because no one they know is planning to vote either. No wonder the campaigns don't do this kind of outreach.

    We have nowhere else to go... this is all we have. (Margaret Mead)

    by bruised toes on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:06:16 PM PDT

  •  Brilliant take down of the indie voter trope (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tietack, chuckvw, Chi, conniptionfit

    that dominates beltway cocktail parties.  It's all bullshit.  Rove proved that long ago by getting his pet asshole elected twice, but dem strategists are still too stupid to realize that independents deciding elections is up there with the Saskwatch.

    If Obama hadn't wasted so much time on bipartisanship, and had instead focused on good legislation, and on exposing the GOP as obstructing a popular agenda, this election would be so close.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:14:28 PM PDT

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

      Because he could have forced GOP senators not to filibuster, I guess you think.

      What some of the people participating in this thread don't understand or aren't willing to accept is that polling has clearly shown that voters like bipartisanship or at least the appearance of such, and if Obama hadn't shown he was going the extra mile to compromise, more voters would blame him instead of the Congressional Republicans, and I strongly believe he would be behind instead of ahead in polling for the 2012 election.

      President Obama has made some mistakes, but he is no fool, and the fact that he's ahead in such a weak economy (due largely to Republican sabotage) shows how smart he is.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:40:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, that is not what I think (0+ / 0-)

        The point is, he would have forced the GOP senators to filibuster popular legislation.  The GOP would have been seen as obstructionist troglodytes by a good portion of the electorate.  

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 09:08:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  New citizens vote in lesser numbers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, wishingwell, Eric Nelson

    http://www.demos.org/...

    It's something we can focus on

    Despite controversy in the United States about immigration, most agree that when someone from another country goes through the difficult process of becoming a naturalized American citizen, he or she should be entitled to full participation in our nation's democracy.
     
    snip
     
    Yet in the U.S., there is a significant gap in the voter participation rates of native-born and naturalized American citizens, with naturalized citizens participating at a significantly lower rate than the native-born.
    If we can close this gap among new Americans (which I suggest is mostly Hispanic and Asian), we're enhancing our share of the overall vote.

    "I hope; therefore, I can live."
    For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

    by tietack on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:35:21 PM PDT

  •  The real swing voters (0+ / 0-)

    are all the millions of voters who will not get to vote at all because their right to do so has been denied by the Republican Party in their campaign to win at any cost.

    How much money is being spent on them?

    In Washington, whenever anyone does something wrong, everyone else gets punished.

    by Noziglia on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 03:51:28 PM PDT

  •  Universe of untapped dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    In Florida there are over 600,000 Democrats who are registered but have not voted with over 500,000 of these Democrats still being listed as active voters.
    Of these voters about 300,000 have phone numbers available for the Party, Campaigh and other Democratic Interest groups to dial up and contact them about voting in 2012.
    In 2008 our President won Florida by about 236,000 votes and not one of these Democrats voted.
    Democrats and campaigns must contemplate the value of these Democrats and do their best to activate them to vote in 2012.
    These voters need to be approached on a Democrat to Democrat basis that stresses the goals of our Party.
    The only persuasion these Democrats need is what it take to motivate their vote.
    Voting by mail is a great solution for these Democrats and getting an absentee/Vote by Mail application obtained,  filled out and into the county SOE.
    Motivating the "silent Dems" to use their vote as their voice is far less expensive than courting the Undecided.
    The large counties, especially in southeast Florida,Palm Beach, Braward and Miami-Dade are particularly rich in non voting Democrats as well as voting Democrats. Dems in these three counties outnumber Republicans by over 610,000 of us and we can be a most powerful weapon against the Republicans this year.
    If you live in a Red State and you want your Democratic donor dollar to go to a very needed cause, consider how to get your donations to the critical areas of Florida earmarked for a GOTV ground game.
    With a Democratic win for Barack Obama in Florida, there is basically no mathmatical formula for a Republican Presidential victory.

    "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

    by wmc418 on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 04:13:36 PM PDT

  •  The role of volunteers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    The three biggest activities of political campaigns are:

    1. Persuasion
    2. Voter Registration
    3. Get Out The Vote (GOTV)

    The big Democratic Party political entities do Persuasion. They also co-ordinate Voter Registration and GOTV to some extent.

    Where we can make a difference as volunteers is in Voter Registration and GOTV. The local (city, county, etc.) Democratic Party organization nearest you is a good place to start. They are looking for people to help out. If enough of us turn out as local Democratic Party volunteers, we will win in November because we will have enlarged the numbers of correctly registered Democratic voters and we will have facilitated (or nagged) them into actually voting.

    It's about that simple. Now we just have to go do it.

    Eradicate magical thinking

    by Zinman on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 06:47:32 PM PDT

  •  I would hope so (0+ / 0-)

    I would hope that as the parties have drifted further apart ideologically that the number of swing voters (who I shall henceforth call "swingers") would shrink, that would speak really poorly for the political awareness of said swingers if they continue to not identify with one party over the other.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 08:33:57 PM PDT

  •  I really like this piece (0+ / 0-)

    but in the future if you're reporting polling results like this and saying something like "unregistered voters are more likely to support Obama than registered voters," something, ANYTHING to indicate whether that difference is statistically significant would be nice.  Just going off the top of my head, if the MoE for roughly 250 unregistered voters is about +-5% that would make it a dubious claim that unregistered voters are more likely to support Obama than registered voters.  Even just an asterisk to indicate whether the difference significant would be fine, there should just be SOMETHING there to give a sense of that.

    "You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free."-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 08:47:38 PM PDT

  •  I registered a (0+ / 0-)

    of voters for the Democrat's in 2007-2008. They all fit the demographics sited in your dairy. I was most effective with women and minorities but registered a lot of skateboarding young men and many older people that were freaked out about the Bushies and the RW. Could be because I live in a liberal district in Portland OR but it could be that people actually believed that bottom up change was possible. I convinced many young people that they were the 'change' they had been waiting for'. I often wonder these days if they will bother to vote this election or any other one for that matter.

    It's a political fiction that non voters are apathetic most I met were anything but. They did however all think that voting was an exercise in futility. When campaigning for Kerry in 04 I heard a lot about Coke or Pepsi, or machine pols and rigged corrupt elections where either way it was a waste of time.

    Registering new voters after 8 years of Bush's regime was easier. Too bad the Dems. pols and strategists including Paul Begala are unable to comprehend that the reason people don't vote let alone get  enthusiastic about it is because there really isn't much choice and the lesser of two evils and obvious kabuki isn't enough incentive to get them 'off their asses'. The Dems will not get unregistered voters to the polls unless they fight for the people and actually represent them.

    One young'un who refused to register in a household full of enthusiastic Obama supporters said 'I vote for pizza'. He might be the only one still enthusiastic about his choice this time around. Offering a real choice and then implementing and fighting for Democratic principles and policy that represents ordinary people might be a way to get new voters and 'swing' voters. Too late this time bait and switch only works once and young people are not that uninformed, stupid or fearful.  The best thing the Dems. can do is scare the crap out of non voters about how scarry Romney is.

    Good luck with that and thanks Dems for convincing my 18 year old granddaughter who helped campaign for Obama before she could vote, that no thanks I'm not registering or voting as it's rigged no matter who wins.              

         

    •  People who really think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zinman

      a Republican president who signs everything the Republican House passes is the same as President Obama deserve what happens to them if due to their not voting, that's what we get - but the rest of us don't deserve that. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who refuse to get their hands dirty by voting for the much better of a binary choice because they wish they could vote for someone further left.

      Fortunately, it so far looks doubtful that we'll see a repeat of 2000, when fools who voted for Nader or declined to vote, combined with lousy ballot design, vote-suppression, and usurpation of power by the US Supreme Court, led to the selection of an exceedingly destructive president.

      There must be a word for people who don't learn from history, even when it repeats itself. Some of them are Republicans and supply-siders. And some are disaffected left-wingers who shirk their responsibility to use the rights we still have to make the choices we can make and still believe it makes no difference.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sun Aug 05, 2012 at 10:25:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My experience is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    that activating my base and making sure they actually come out and vote is the best use of my time and effort.

    Without calling them "swing voters" as Teixeira does at the end there, I have always considered my primary targets as those voters that only occasionally vote but when they vote they vote for my side.

    It is the "occasional voters" that make the difference. When we get them out we win. When we don't we don't.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Aug 06, 2012 at 12:35:29 PM PDT

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