This is my last blog before the election. The media is portraying the race as being essentially tied and certainly the national vote seems that way. However betting sites point to a comfortable Obama victory. Why is this?
There are 4 forces working in different directions that are having different measures of success on the vote.
- Spending on advertising (Campaign and Super Pac money)
- Voter suppression (making it difficult to show proof of citizenship)
- Voter enthusiasm (people who are most determined to register their view)
- The ground game (getting out the vote + early voting)
The first 3 favor the Republicans. The last one seems to be the Democrats trump card and has a powerful message to all those in business who will send an email rather than call or call rather than meet.
Both campaigns have thousands of people in each state who are on the phone and knocking on doors. These people are actually making real contact with voters. It seems that this is the key to real success as the Obama campaign has an overwhelming advantage in field offices (i.e. people on the ground) in each of the swing states. This means that they have more people on the phone and crucially more people going door to door.
It is this last fact that has the most power and any manager who thinks that anything could substitute for face to face contact with their clients and colleagues could learn something from what is happening in this campaign.
Drilling down a bit further there are 2 other factors that seem to be making a difference. The data overwhelmingly supports the fact that face to face contact is the most successful way to get others to change their mind, also that volunteers are more effective than paid operatives. Again the Obama campaign has an advantage in these two areas.
This makes sense because any communication that is authentic and personal is bound to be more successful than moving voters through 30 second ads and robo calls. There is no doubt that building relationships over time through volunteers who are working because they believe in what they are doing is the most powerful way to move an electorate.
This may be the difference that makes a difference. We will see…