The Stats: Why The Ground Game is Key to Winning
One of the most effective ways of getting your name out there and turning out voters is through face-to-face neighborhood canvassing. While it is much more tedious than phone banking, putting in the extra work of canvassing can make all the difference in your campaign.
As we have seen so far in the 2016 election, ground game is a key factor in a campaign’s success. Ted Cruz’s ground game in Iowa gave him that decisive victory. According to a study done by Gerber and Green in Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout, statistics show that for every 14 voters reached by knocking on the doors, a campaign will gain a vote.
Identifying and targeting voters based on party affiliation has played a large role in turning out the vote. Knowing which doors to knock on is more effective than knocking on all doors in a precinct.
So who should you talk to? A lot of campaigns take independent voters at their word. Independents claim not to be associated with a political party, however, these “independents” will lean one way or another based upon the issues. So, don’t count out your independent voters just because they say they don’t associate with a particular party.
One of the most important things to remember about getting out the vote is that while you could have the best message, the way in which you deliver your message matters. Taking the time to go door-to-door as the candidate not only enables you to know what your voters think and consequently, helps you tailor your message, but speaking to your voters face-to-face might just be more important than your message. Take the time to run surveys door-to-door to find out what your voters care about.
For more in-depth information on this topic, check out “In the Trenches:What Republican Operatives Need to Know About Voter Canvassing” written by Dr. George Hawley, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama.
- The cost-per-vote of door-to-door canvassing
- Why you shouldn’t take Independents at their word
- How demographics can tell you a lot about how someone will vote
- The strength of wedge issues to peel away voters
- Which is more important: the message or the method?